Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Philosophy, location and confusion

There is a deep problem about philosophizing in a time in which globalization of the world is a common belief. It is not really an error because of the mobility of everything, first and foremost money of course. Besides, messages from all over the world are a click away. All these create an illusion that we, as human beings, have more or less the same problems no matter where we are. Well, one could not be more in error than this.

What I observed on philosophy students in Turkey is that they take philosophy as something ultimately abstract, so much so that it cannot have anything to do with life itself as we experience it. Of course we can say that most of them just don't get it just like the philosophy students all over the world. Philosophy requires a different way of thinking and most of the people find it useless. In Turkey we even have a saying which implies the uselessness of philosophy: we say "don't philosophize to me" whenever somebody is talking just to talk without any meaning whatsoever. It is just ignored. Yes, I will admit that this is not a local but a global approach to philosophy. And there is the opposite approach which is very common too. I don't know about the world but in Turkey if philosophizing is not ignored, that means you are in a setting where everyone thinks that they can philosophize too. Oh this is the worst, because they make philosophy an aggregate of cliches and by repeating cliches, the phrases such as "the meaning of life is to be happy" or "we cannot know what tomorrow will bring" they really think that they are thinking. But what I had in mind was to make a different point from inside, the strange position of the professionals.

Basicly, I think that we have different problems in this part of the world and the main problems of philosophy in the 20th century such as subject-object issues do not fit anywhere in our world. We never experienced what is to be cogito. The loneliness and the instrumentalization of the world within that loneliness never happened here. Our existence (from a cultural perspective) never suffered of being separated from the world. These are the first points that comes to my mind right now. But I don't mean that we are not there yet or that we are behind of western history in some way and that we are going to experience the same problems when we are developed enough(!). No, not at all! What I mean is things go differently in this specific location with its specific ways of dealing with the world. A little shamanism, a little nomadism, a pinch of "loving every creature because of its creator", understanding rules and regulations by their gaps and what could be done with them without getting into trouble, not being serious about anything, etc. These are a few constituents of our existence that I can think of right now. So telling someone that she is not really a subject does not have an effect other than confusion. There goes philosophy into the deep waters of abstraction. I even had a professor who said philosophy is confusion. Of course it is and remains confusion if it is not connected to its grounds. These grounds are the problems. So philosophizing in different environments require to be aware of the environment and formulate the unspoken problems of that specific location encompassing people, location, climate, language, social attitudes, food, entertainment, etc. And here the academics are talking about the death of subject or the unveiling of truth in poetry!

I don't intend to say that these subjects shouldn't be a part of philosophy in this specific location. But since I believe that philosophy should be something that feeds itself from life and life should be enrichened by philosophy, the main issues of western philosophy not only stay at a distance to life here, but also contribute to confusion about concepts which constitutes my main point.

For philosophy to be an invention of new possibilities, it is crucial to make all the concepts as clear as possible. Only after understanding the concept within the concept will we be able to invent ours. So there it goes: our problems are different than that of any people living in a different geography. Our main problem is confusion about concepts and not specific concepts, but concept of concept itself. Only after we made concept clear and invent our own concepts for various aspects of our experience, we can start to philosophize. At the moment, there is a disgusting manipulation of the confusion arising from this vagueness. And I just hate to see how beautiful concepts are used in every ugly way possible. Here it becomes a very important political issue. Philosophy could open a way out of this political and social problem. If only the academics themselves were not blind to people's confusion... sometimes it is even as if they feed on this confusion, like leeches. So where to find their genuine concern for philosophy? I don't think they have a genuine concern for anything other than surviving. So why philosophy? They could have been involved in real estate as well and as a matter of fact, they would be doing a favor to all by not worsening the already deep confusion.

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