THE PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEMS OF MODERN MAN

 

                                            TURGAY EVREN

 

                Today modern man has most of the luxury and technological facilities to make his life comfortable and convenient. He has got luxury cars, skyscrapers equipped with the latest technological prodigies to protect him from any negative impact of Nature, lots of various insurances to secure his future, home devices like TV, washing machine, cooker, dish-washer etc., and  other innumerable things at his disposal whenever he needs. The victories of man are not restricted to only these counted, he has also made an extensive progress in scientific issues. Nowadays, many diseases which before made human helpless have been started to be treated and cured successfuly due to the innovative technics and findings in medical field. Man has not been satisfied with all these accomplishments and set out to explore first the unknown territories of the world, colonizing the indegenous people of these lands and then concentrated on the other planets in the universe, even making some short- term journeys and installing special satellites in those planets for observation.

                   Yes, man has deserved to enjoy all the blessings of the earth which came out of his great efforts. He can admire his achievements with pride and happiness. The problem just starts here, despite his great works, he feels there is something missing. The worse, when he ponders over this issue, he cannot recall what he has lost. The question is easy, even if it is a little bitter; Is man happy today despite all these material gainings or not? The answer is not so easy.

                   Modern science has built a beautiful house for mankind but unfortunately as Alexis Carrel stressed, it did not take the needs of human into consideration while doing that. And the man is not happy in this house because it doesn’t suit his soul. That is why the file of modern man abounds in so many crime cases. Every minute in the big cities of the world countless violence cases happen and leave the best security organizations of the world wreched. Statistics of these cases are enough to scare the most brave and optimistic. Besides, our technology and science cause lots of problems for modern man like pollution of air and destruction of Nature. Alcohol remains as the biggest reason of many traffic accidents but the modern man is not capable of overcoming this problem, either. Betrand Russel and Sayyid Qutub agree that mankind is on the edge of a big precipice. Some postmodern philosophers carry on giving the glad-tidings of the end of the world.

                   To avoid any distraction, we focus on the spiritual dimension of man but we see that this side is the most neglected side of man. A famous psychologist, John Devey claims that modern man is much weaker than the men in history in respect of psychology. Albert Camus and Sartre say modern man is alienated from himself. Alienation is another ailment of modern man. In Belgium an anthropology conference was held and all the participants agreed on calling this century as the age of stress. Stress is not a simple phenemonen, it is the main reason of lots of deadly illnesses.

                   When you read newspapers or watch news on TV, you encounter so many bad events including theft, murder, robbery, heroine smuggling, rape cases and of course traffic accidents. Futhermore, you witness the American occupation in Iraq and many terrorist attacks of different political groups. These are just some indications or sympthoms of modern man’s spiritual problems. You must delve into deep behind these problems to see the source of problem, otherwise you won’t be able to diagnose the sickness properly. Now let’s try to diagnose some of the well-known diseases of modern man.

                   Alienation and aimlessness: Modern man does not know himself as much as he knows the universe. Man cannot be reduced to an animal in biological terms. Man is different from an animal but science has failed to recognize human with all his dimensions. Alexis Carrel, a scientist with Nobel prize in his field has written a book about human and put the title as “Man the unknown”. What does that mean? It means we don’t know human despite all our scientific knowledge concerning Nature and the universe. So, first of all we sould increase our knowledge regarding man not only with the help of science but also Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology and the holy texts.

                   Another problem is modern man is aimless and he does not have a sublime goal in life. With the expression of Andre Gide, modern man has boarded a train but this train does not go anywhere. So, why should I choose a seat to sit in a train which does not move anywhere. Why is modern man aimless? Because he does not believe in the existence of the supernatural. And science does not give him a sublime goal. Why does Carl Jung, the famed psychologist who is Freud’s student, name his book as “The modern man in search of a soul.”

                   Lack of meaning; Modern man is deprived of meaning and for him the world does not mean anything. How did modern man lose the meaning? “In a world without God, everything is non-sense. If God does not exist, then there is no difference between good and evil,” says Dostoyevski. Modern man doesn’t believe in values since they cannot be proven scientificly. However, man cannot live without meaning. Sometimes we get this meaning from our families, a friend or something very important for us. Sartre claims that man can create value without the help of religions but it looks unlikely to me for values won’t be universal when they are created by man.

                   Greediness and jealousy; Modern man is very greedy and he never gets satisfied with what he has. That is why even today there are many wars in the world. What is American troops’ business in Iraq, a far away country from America? To grant the Iraqis freedom and democracy? Don’t make me laugh, please. American soldiers are in Iraq because some greedy and jealous politicians are ruling the country. As Eric From said, today freedom is only a big lie. How can we overcome this dangerous and epidemic virus? Our job is really very tough. As Betrand Russel remarks, human soul never finds satisfaction in materialist things. Therefore we should give man something spiritual and teach him contentment. It is pity that, unlike marxist Albert Bayet thought, science is not capable of creating a moral system to control man’s greediness and jealousy.

                   Egoism; Modern man is inflicted with several diseases and one of these is egoism. Modern man is sellfish and thinks only of himself. Why are there so many cases of deceit and cheating? In Turkey how many bosses have robbed the banks and disappeared? Why has Enron, one of the leading gigantic companies of the world in America declared bankruptcy unexpectedly? When you look at the issue carefully, you can notice that all the evil arises from egoism. How can we take away egoism from man and instill in him self-sacrifice and altruism? Why do you expect all the answers from me? Just I can tell you that egoism is the cause of class contradictions and a big threat to the future of mankind. As Sartre said, hunger is something more than hunger.

                   Stress ; We have tackled the issue of stress above a little. Modern man lives in a small flat and has no connection with Nature nor has he time to spare for social activities. Everyday he or she gets up early and starts flowing through the noise and chaos of the traffic. He or she has no time for reflection about some different subjects. He or she lives in the dungeon of the soceity and stress has almost become a part of his or her life. 

 

                   Despair and hopelessness; This is the most serious illneess because it destroys the last crumb of hope. When we lose hope, we have nothing to lose. Hope is the final castle for the devil to conquer. Albert Camus says, “Let’s listen to the people talking about the end of the world but not believe in them.” Sometimes we can witness a lot of corruption in the world and be afraid of the future of mankind. However, the most vital thing for the modern man is not to fall into the bottomless well of pessimistic outlooks or approaches putting his last crumbs of hope in jeapordy.

         We have summarised some of the well-known diseases of modern man above. Now we have to address an other issue; what are the reasons of all these diseases and how can we overcome them? The reason is not far away from us, as the cure is within us. First of all we have sought God in the wrong addresses and we have lost ourselves when we lost Him. We couln’t have noticed that we had executed human soul disguised in the clothes of God at the gallows of freedom instead of God whose death Nietzsche had announced to mankind. “For years I have sought God I find myself, now that I seek myself I find God,” Bayazid Bestami says. We made a mistake trying to reach human through God, whereas we were supposed to reach God through human as stated in the words of a great Saint, “One who knows himself also knows God.”

         We have forgotten the fact that the universe was a created book sent by God so that human could read and interpret it in the light of science, so we have attempted to exploit it to fill in the gaps opened in our spirits, yet alas we have failed despite all our efforts. We have ignored that Nature was a mirror reflecting the beautiful attributes and names of God, and the reflection of our own face disappeared since then in the broken fragments of this same mirror. We thought that when we conquered the distant lands, we would conquer our fears as well, but it turned out to be the reverse. We had forgotten ourselves undergoing the infliction of alienation, in the afternoon of the very same day when we decided to put God to the lap of history.

         Have we managed to live without God after we separated our ways with Him? Never, each time when we left God, we found ourselves in the lap of numerous Gods, like a singer, a valuable property, a pin-up woman, even Comte’s science and Hegel’s history or Durkheim’s

Soceity. As Abdulkerim Suruş claimed, human could not breathe one second let alone survive without believing in God. Thus, God would replace with many false modern and scientific idols in the current century. However, all these idols were a simple reflection of the God of carnal self as stated in the Quran; “Have you seen him who makes his desire his god,” (Jathiyah, 45:23) 

         We tried to enlighten the darkness of universe with the torch of human lit by Sartre but the dim flames of human were abandoned to a sheer darkness with the first breezes of existence. Human who was supposed to illuminate the universe had lost its source of light in the kingdom of disbelief, so everything he touched would be doomed to getting rotten. Allah is regarded as the light of the heavens and the earth in the Qur’an. What does that mean? It means anything which doesn’t refer to Allah in the universe is futile and devoid of meaning. Is meaning so important for man? Without meaning man cannot bear the difficulties he encounters and survive in the world as V. E. Frankl, the famed psychologist  remarked in his ground-breaking book called Man’s Search for Meaning. Man loses all his meaning and turns into a piece of Stone hurled into Heideger’s desert-world deprived of God. You can expect all the evils from such a person stripped of meaning and values since meaning owes its existence to the gentle touches of God.                                           

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2 Responses

  1. “Bleeding souls and broken hearts,
    we venture to walk the path of life alone,
    Friends and foes all mingle into one, hopes and desires elude us,
    Yet we go on walking alone towards the unknown,
    This despair , we feel only death will end, but wii it
    We are still not sure of ,
    Yet we walk on .. treading thorns
    Thinking our blood will cleanse our sins
    That we will be born anew with happiness,
    Yet, What is happiness I never learnt.
    Its all wrapped in the word “perhaps”,
    So perhaps there will be a light at the end of the tunnel,
    Perhaps there will be peace and love where there is light,
    Perhaps there will be a better life with peace and love….
    The chain builds on as we walk along the path of miserable existance…”

    Thank you for this wonderful write up. Its just by chance that I came across your page . Now I realize that it was a treasure hunt and I am lucky to carry home a big booty.
    Thank you once again.

    Regards.

  2. thanx a lot for this information. I’m lucky to carry this big booty.

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