IS ANYONE THERE?

      

 

                   Today we live in a world which is as big as a street. Technology has removed the borders between the countries. You turn on the television and become aware of all the developments which happen in the world instantly. Thanks to the wonder of the internet, you don’t have to wait for the news time to take the pulse of the world. Nearly every minute the planes deafening your ears do not distract you anymore from your genuine work even for a second. You appear to be indulging in the numerous blessings of technology though a few utterances of complaint sometimes find their echo on your lips to commemorate the nostalgia of the past. All in all, your situation seems to be far more than satisfactory, if we do not take into account the heart-rending picture of some forsaken children consigned to the lap of  the streets, a few human shadows left stranded in the war-torn countries, and tens of thousands of people either perished or left homeless, devastated by the losses of their beloved ones in disaster-stricken lands, which can disturb the great tranquility and calm achieved by your soul.

                   As the world gets smaller, our responsibilities grow bigger. Now we must feel the great burden of being human which the mountains avoided assuming, on our shoulders heavier than all the epochs of history. We have aircrafts faster than sound, skyscrapers challenging the mightiest mountains and cameras and satellites to record anything significant for different purposes anywhere in the world. Yet our power does not turn into a handkerchief to wipe the tears of an orphan in the shades of a demolished wall, our miraculous technology does not treat the broken heart of a mother who lost her dear children to the wrath of an arrogant war, and our scientific knowledge does not mobilize our hearts towards helping oppressed, down-trodden people battered by cold, hunger, bullets and  natural calamities. As the modern witnesses of this age, we have regained our consciousness but alas lost our conscience.

                   We transgressed the borders long ago, turning a deaf ear to what Ancient Greek Philosophers had told us regarding the punishment of passing the limits. As Camus remarked, “Ancient Greek Philosophers never told us that the borders cannot be passed, what they said was the one exceeding the limits finds his/her trouble sooner or later.” Our courageous human intellect has conquered all the castles of knowledge one by one, illuminating the darkest corners of the universe. This time we were determined not to be chastised like Prometheus by Zeus for we had stolen the holy light from the Gods. Yet the torch we bore in our mind would not shed light on the enigma of our existence though we thought that we have managed to enslave Nature at our disposal by our knowledge. The time we supposed that we unveiled the mysteries of the cosmos, we had lost ourselves in the bottomless well of the dark existence. Nature which we achieved to tame would reject to whisper its miracles in our ears and demand its former magic back that we alleged as the biggest obstacle to a complete enlightenment. Nietzsche’s brave breath was a lot beyond soothing the fear we felt while walking in the cemetery where human soul had been sacrificed to the Almighty God of science and technology. Was the desert which Heideger mentioned the world or human since we have destructed both greedily?

                   Indeed, I had been planning to pen an article to urge the hearts to help the victims of natural disasters, wars, poverty and hunger at the beginning. What stole my primordial objective, stripping me of the coherence I need for any cause of writing? Maybe I wanted to check if we had any crumbs of humanity to run for any humanitarian purpose or just I had been overtaken by the lust of literature and succumbed to the desire of adorning my article with the eloquence of writing. You see the traps of evil-commanding self trying to distract you on the path of helping any time, so you need to be vigilant not to give any concession to the satisfaction of your ego. Unless I devote myself to this sublime goal, how can I expect the other people to break their slumber? I am sorry to confess the right of the people who acknowledge the difficulty of writing here but what else could I do to save myself from this predicament? Yet I agree with Sartre, believing that writing can contribute to the creation of some better conditions in our world despite the fact that I can’t figure out the size of the difference which can be brought about by any pen exhausting its talent and inspiration on this way.

                   It is beyond any doubt that there is a liason between the current plight of mankind and the corruption which infused the souls with apathy towards any human suffering. When we watch the Iraqi cities being bombed and people being tortured and abused in the jail of Abu Guraib, do we feel ashamed of our humanity? Are we unpeturbed about the Pakistani children sleeping outside, deprived of a blanket, let alone a shelter, in the aftermath of a big earthquake? Do we have a window to the austere house of black-skinned African woman who is inflicted with a deadly virus? Do we know what American people lost in New Orleans when hit by a destructive hurricane and flood? Did we pour any tears for the homeless children maltreated by the nurses in Malatya nursing house? Have we felt the anguish of the father whose child was killed in his lap by the bullets of Israeli soldiers? Were we exiled from the land of mercy and compassion? Why have we closed our hearts on the poor, hungry, orphan and destitute though we heard their earnest and persistant pleas several times? Can we absolve ourselves of the responsibility to soothe the pain and grief of our fellow humans who encountered various catastraphies while we have some facilities to extend a helping hand?

                   To make matters worse, today modern man is engaged in a constant destruction process, whereas he was supposed to be in pursuit of construction and rectification. In a world man has become the root of all diseases, how can we expect any remedy from him for the viruses trying to dominate the body of the society? Look at the philosophies produced by modern man in the last a few centuries and try to get the reflection of his psychology: pragmatism, individualism, socialism, psychoanalisis, existentialism, romantism, naturalism, scientism, positivism, capitalism, liberalism. What do you see in this picture? Yes, all these philosophies have worked for the betterment and progress of humankind, but denying the spiritual dimension of human they have also laid the groundwork of alienation and estrangement resulting in our carelessness towards human pain. All these philosophical schools have developed as a reaction to Christianity and idealism which focused on solely man’s spiritual evolution, and invested merely in man’s flesh and bone, neglecting his spiritual needs. As Marcuse remarked, we have a one-dimensional man today, all his other sides have been trimmed by egoism which is the father of all materialistic -isms. We have managed to regress the Buddha who emerged out of a deep concern for human suffering into Siddhartha confined to his cage which is surrounded by pleasures.

                   This article started to be written with the good intention of highlighting the importance of helping but in the third paragraph it was hijacked by some other feelings and was forced to change its course. On the other hand, the message wouldn’t make any sense if we are not open to recieve it. If there isn’t anyone outside, the victim who is stuck under a a mass of rubble would scream in vain. It is indeed our humanity which is left under the debris of materialism, ascetism and self-indulgence. The earthquakes, hurricanes, floods must have first destroyed the hearts before it razed the weak buildings into the ground. We have poverty, hunger, violence, ignorance and wars because we have arrogance, expediency, greed, hatred and animosity in the same world. Our afflictions are within us as well as their remedy is actually inside us, as Hadrat Ali remarked. I am sure that the day when we remember that we are the vicegerents of God on the earth, the things will be a lot different for the better. Let’s finish our writing with the  wise saying whose source I don’t know to annihilate the sentiment of helplessness and despair which prevails over many souls: “The darkest moment of the night is the nearest moment to daylight.”                                          

 

                                                                             

                         Turgay Evren

                                         

 

 

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