Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Words are more

One: words are never just words. They are more than their meaning in their material beings. They embody some kind of rhythm and this is more worthy of attention than the meaning they supposedly transmit.

The experience of talking with the people of different cultures made me realize a very important fact about how I communicate and in general, what I like in communicating with others. Actually, it is no more communicating (if what we think of communicating is transmitting messages across) than it is, well, having fun. This fun consists of chance, experiment, coincidence and repetition as I see it. How?

First of all, you never start your sentence knowing what you are going to say next. It is not planned. To start talking, it is enough to just point out something around. This may be a thing, a person, a view, but most of the time it is a situation that covers a number of these elements and others. A complex situation that stands out just by pointing at it. This could be the beginning and the end of conversation. This is the chance factor. Some pointed situations just cannot bear to hold a whole conversation on them. Of course what I am describing here is a conversation between ideal, in other words understanding partners. Well, I happen to have a friend with whom I communicate in this way, so I am lucky. But the structure is more or less the same for a whole cultural assemblage and this assemblage is very different from that of European ones as far as I have seen.

So there is a situation and it's been pointed out. There is no message intended in this pointing out. It is just like a gesture which says "look!" And this, having no message at all, will be a recurring theme in the whole process of communication. You are there, not as "you" but as a part of the situation. If the situation is complex enough, it generates other different branches of itself that you can comfortably be placed in, without knowing. This is important. There is absolutely no knowledge, nothing is consciously grasped. Actually if someone brings conscious activities in the conversation (a German friend of mine used to do this constantly), the whole process dies. It stops to carry you on. "'s gone."

You have the situation, then situation holds you in. You don't have any mood killers around and you start regenerating the situation from within. Now, this is the experimential part and it should also be coincidential so that it holds the communication together. One experiment breaks down while the other proves itself solid. The solid one is solid as much as it has elasticity. It having elasticity means that it has a lot of virtual lines that could be taken up. You go ahead from these virtual lines, both of you simultaneously. This is where co-incidence occur.

After the success of all this previous process, repetition of what is experimented in the situation and what coincidentally occured comes to play. And it is the best part. This gives you joy as well as an eagerness to continue on experimenting. Every repetition is new and there is always more than words in what is repeated. The rhythm of life.

What I realized is that other cultures (most of European cultures) do not communicate as we do. They really have something to say beforehand and they want their message to get across. I even felt bad for a while thinking that I never knew what communication is to that day. But then I met Italians and their "eternal dadaism" felt so good, so freakishly full of life, I promised myself never to suspect if I am doing this right or wrong again. Afterall, there is nothing to suspect if you feel good right?

I won't ever have any message to give except "let's play!"

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.

Monday, July 11, 2011

In praise of being noble and dancing

What does being noble mean? It seems to me that being noble is a non-calculative attitude. It doesn't mean acting without consideration of the consequences, nevertheless very similar to that. It is acting while being aware of the consequences but refusing to change the action because what results of it. It is a conscious resistance to be determined by the consequences.

Well, most of the time this kind of attitude is a result of defending identity. But I think being a result of defending a fixed definition of "me" makes it a vulgar act rather than noble. It says "I am afraid of what is going to happen to me". It says "I have to resist in order to survive". It is too self-conscious to be noble.

To be noble, you have to consciously forget about everything that falls out of the action itself. The consequences are among those that fall out. The cause on the other hand is a little tricky. The cause of the action should be such a cause that would not involve any calculation whatsoever other than something that could not be called calculation: that is aesthetic evaluation. This is an evaluation of the action itself, in itself and by itself. In other and simpler words, it is going with the world without resisting but like a talented dancer, figuring out every move you make together with the world at every moment. There are no predetermined rules when it comes to life. So, being noble is the awareness of this indeterminedness and enjoying it. It is being light in the face of heaviness of consequential thinking or what might be called "the soul of gravity". It is dancing just to dance. Because it is the right thing to do, it feels good.

But what are the chances of such an attitude in a world in which everything is considered to be calculated even though it is not at all so? How could a good dancer enjoy dancing with the people who are so far removed of the concept of dance? Of course she could still dance with the world, the events by herself. But while everyone around repeat their memorized, one-way electro moves (so depressively dull), is it possible to dance alone freely? Does not a dancer need a few other dancers and a good music to dance?

To be noble necessitates a few other things it seems. First of all, it is impossible to be noble for a long time in an environment in which not considering the consequences is thought to be a dumb thing to do. This is where action itself loses all its power when it is tied to a simple lack of consideration. So the event cannot regenerate and multiply itself. This is a dead end. Just like the repetitive moves of (bad) electronic music.

Secondly, thinking of being noble as a way to resist and defend identity is in cross purposes with being noble itself while the aim is lightness as opposed to heaviness. All that calculation is a heavy burden to carry around just to survive a little bit more. Could crawling be called a life while there is a possibility of flying?