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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DEATH NEVER KILLS


“ Death is the believer’s gift.”

                              Hz. Muhammad (P.B.U.H)

 

Kübra Özgür is not at our school this year. We lost her to a deadly disease which dominated all her body a short time ago.When I heard the sad news, I really got very shocked. To tell the truth, I knew that she had a frail body and weak health and she had missed many lessons because of her health problems, but I hadn’t heard that she was inflicted with such a catastrophic illness. One day, seeing her face very pale, I had asked her what was wrong with her. “I don’t know what is happening to me, teacher,” she had answered with utmost innocence unaware of her destiny ordained by Allah.

My ex-student, Kübra Özgür’s death had shaken me to the core of my existence, bringing her vivid memories to my mind. What kind of student was Kübra Özgür? She was just an earthly angel. She had a good sense of responsibility and always she was  clever and hard-working as a student. Her black eyes used to shine with a strange magic of love and compassion. In addition to her success at the school, she had a perfect character adorned with kindness  and good manners. She was the embodiment of love and respect. These are not the words full of exaggeration to have been said upon someone who has passed away. Kübra Özgür was a creature of rarity which Allah has bestowed on us as a precious present  for a short time.

Here, I cannot do without touching the fact of death which will knock on the door of every mortal being. Death is something inevitable for everyone. However, death is not an end or worse, non-existence. Death is a door opening to an other world which is going to last forever. Death is not an eternal separation. On the contrary, it is the real unity. That is why Mawlana calls it as the day of wedding. We came from Almighty Allah and we are going to go back to Him passing over the bridge of death.

Life is not merely restricted to this world. We are going to meet our loved ones in the Hereafter. Therefore, it is not proper to remain stuck in a permanent grief and mourning over the people who left this temporary world.

Before the funeral prayer, the imam addressed the congregation gathering in the yard of the mosque, emphasizing the fact that Kübra Özgür was a girl who migrated from this world so early even before  she knew what  sin was, as pure as an angel. Thus, Allah–willing, Kübra flew away directly to paradise like a bird yearning for its real motherland. We should find joy  in this fact rather than sheer consolation and we should reflect on our situation. In a hadith it is narrated that Allah the Almigthy  takes his servants whom He likes most, early to His presence.

“If you want an advice, death is enough ,” says a renowned scholar. Death is just moving from one house to another house. However, we will be taken into an account for our deeds and rewarded or punished accordingly. So, we must prepare ourselves for death through enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, instead of fearing it.

 

 

                                   “Die, before death comes”

                                     Hz. Muhammad (P.B.U.H)

                                                                          

Turgay EVREN

English Teacher

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

                                         

 

 

A HELPING HEART


          Our world is not a paradise. We always have to struggle with many problems in the world. Poverty, hunger, wars and natural disasters are some of these problems. However, we have an advantage today; technology has changed the world into a village. Therefore, we can reach the remotest parts of the world and help the people when they need us. Our responsibilities are bigger towards humanity in a smaller world.

                  

         When you watch the news on TV, you see and hear many bad things every day. You learn that there are a lot of people in many countries in Africa; they are poor and hungry because there is drought and famine in their countries. There are babies dying of hunger and the mothers are always crying. The skinny girls do not know the school and the fathers are angry but helpless. You keep on watching the TV and you see that pain does not stay in a continent. Pain and tear are two travellers. They are in Iraq, Afganistan and Palestine now. There is a big war in those lands. The houses are in ruins and the streets are the traps of death. The children play with bullets as toys. Their country is occupied with foreign troops and their hearts are occupied with fear, anxiety and sadness. The questions are not tough maths questions here. Will Dady come back to the house tonight? Will Mumy find something to cook for the dinner???

                  

         Grief jumps from one country to another like a kangaroo? It takes us to another continent. We are in the most developed and strongest country now; USA. New Orleans is floating on the water like a boat. The houses are flooded. The corpses haven’t come to the surface yet. The strongest country of the world, the superman is wreched. There aren’t any troops in the streets. Some burglars are looting the house and killing the people. The mayor is complaning on CNN. He asks, ‘Why don’t troops help us?’ He knows the answer; American soldiers are busy in Iraq, they are shooting at the children!!!

                  

         Pain makes its way to Kashmir, Pakistan this time. The earthquake struck this region last month, killing tens of thousands of people and leaving millions homeless. You see the desperate mothers on the screen. They are trying to dig through the rubbles with their hands. Many people are stuck under the debris of the collapsed houses. They are screaming for help but the aid workers are not nearby. There isn’t enough food yet. The weather is cold, suddenly it starts raining. The people including old and children are cold, hungry and wet. The young boys and girls cannot dream about the future. The moments turn into dark, cold dungeons. Here is worse than a dungeon. In the dungeon, you don’t get wet. The roof is the sky and the clouds are the gallows on the horizon.

                  

         Pain finally returns to its country. We are watching Deniz Feneri on TV. Deniz Feneri is an organization in Turkey. Charitable people support this organization. It helps the poor and hugry families. We are following Deniz Feneri in an eastern, forgotten village. A widow is looking after her two sons and one daughter. The house has no toilet and kitchen. There isn’t a carpet on the floor. The cold air blows into the house through one broken window. The woman is ill and she cannot work and do the housechores. The girl is eleven years old and she does all the work. She looks very clever but she cannot go to school. Deniz Feneri gives this family some food and money. There are still millions of poverty and hunger-stricken people in Turkey and they need help. Every person must become a lighthouse, then we can enlighten the dark in the eyes of the children and light a candle in their hearts. Are you ready to give a room in your heart for the poor and homeless, helping the efforts of aid foundations with your possessions, wealth, labour and prayers?                                                                                                                                                                 

                                     Turgay Evren

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