Prof. Dr. Ahmet İNAM
The remedy blind
We are in a world where technologies, knowledge, theories, suggestions of solutions for the problems we meet are constantly growing. The problems don't come to an end. They can not be totally solved and be done with. They just change the way they look.
I am aware of the vagueness my generalisations. And I want them to remain this way. It is obvious that it will be the cure blinds that open up to a street of thought that has lost its "independence". I am not going to try to show the way to the avanue by the formulas I will be giving here. I think that we should be changing our conception of the avenue and of the blind alleys. If we do, will the blinds be "open"? what will be our gain from this longing of transformation, of change?
What if we change the organisations? The social, economic, political costructions? Can we find the remedy? Can we find the cure, we, "victims of melancholy"? The cure for what?
The fact that we can't succeed in living together, for example. Not knowing how to think, look, hear. Why can't we be together one by one? Why can't we stay one by one when we are together? In our contemporary condition, the production of cure turns out to be a production of trouble. We don't know how to seek out the remedy. May be there is a problem on our concept of remedy. In the way we see remedy. In our expectations of remedy.
There are problems in the way we live together. We can see it with the wars, the conflicts, the pain, the poverty. Somehow I can't succeed in regarding this situation as "natural". Was that the way humanity lived for thousands of years? Hopeless. Helpless. Without cure. Of course not. They had found the cure. And they lived with it for some time. And then they lost it again.
They couldn't live together. Or by themselves. Neither together, nor one by one. That is why we have complaints abut the world, about the order in this world. We do not stand next to each other. We complain. They are not empty complaints. They are not temporary, trivial mental disturbances. They are what they are because of the bridges that can never be formed between the world and us. The complaint originates from not knowing how to approach reality. It initiates our rebellion. We complain and complain and can't sleep when we go to our beds. Sleeping is forbidden to us. We are the searchers. The excitement of search originates from the restlessness we have when we pace the bridges, the open end streets, the blind end streets before us. We are the searchers. We search. We are not after the cure. We try to see the impossibilities of the cures. We aren't afraid of trouble, danger, loneliness, being underrated, excluded. In the name of the independence of thought. No cure can cheat, regulate us. Even the cure of incurability can make us believe. We are affected. We are curious, we learn. We don't cheat. The thought paths we can't manage to walk can make one think we cheated. We don't cheat since we are not fond of taking the easy way. We can repeat the class. We can be expelled from the school: the cheap remedies are our dead ends.
Then, doesn't this search put the cure into a dead end, aren't we a part of the world we are complaininig of? While playing the"searcher" game, aren't we in the middle of the game we criticise.
The unknown of "the other"
We are living with the others. With the ones standing in the time and space we call "the beyond". We, as being "here" and"now" are looking at far, beyond. Those who are outside "us".
There are theoretical problems with our relationship with the world, the people, with the links we try to form with "the beyond" with the respected other. While we are searching the meaning of our attitude to the world, the place of our being, trying to overcome the problems of living together we always have the concept of the respected other right next to us. We confront it not only as a concept but as individual persons, objects, things.
The fact that "the respected other" is conceived as "any other" may be one of the factors endangering the "togetherness" that people couldn't succeed in living for centuries. In the received view "the other" is "any other" and is outside. It isn't "me", it isn't "us", it is someone else, the other one."Any other" is perceived with an attitude that says the main point is "my" point, "our" point; the world seen from our point is at the center."The other", "the one beyond", "there" point to a seperation, a difference.
Can there be a world without the other? Won't there be an other that will be looked at as long as we have an eye to see. (My other at the mirror, my other at the photograph!) Isn't it inevitable to differentiate ourselves from other beings? (As a result of the child's psychological evolution!) Or someone might wonder, is "the one who looks" the same with "the one who is looked at", are they identical?
Here I take it that I am in the position of an"other" for me. So the question is: if we can't escape being another to us, what kind of an"other" should "we" be? What kind of another can take us to the world we are trying to reach? The respected other means more than any other. The respected other is impossible to be destroyed. For centuries the respected other has been perceived as "the other", even as "my any other", "our any other". In fact our language (Turkish!) has the power, the potential of turning it into"the respected other" that I will be trying to emphasise in this speech.
The other is "beyond", it is both at my side and at the same time far away, it is ahead. It is going to take me ahead. Because in this journey I, the inexhaustable examiner, am looking ahead, be
yond what can be seen. The other is not just "any other". It is ahead of me, beyond what can be seen. It is beyond the other. It is more than the other. It points "ahead" in time. To the future. To the past. In our language (Turkish!) you can find beyond both in the past ( the expression "since beyond") and in the future ("beyond years from now"). It is both ahead and in front; it encircles the time and the space: it goes over them. It goes over but doesn't break, it is a continuation. We ask "is there beyond?" It is an idiom that shows courage in Turkish language.
That is why it is wrong to confuse the other with any other, the other is not any other. It is the other, it is what is beyond. The problem is not simplifying what is different to any other. Not simplifying it to us. Not making it as our any other. Beyond is an unlimited area; in time and space. In society. It is necessary to walk there, in the space Levinas highlighted years ago with the possibilities of our culture and language. To be able to see the Cure Blinds opening up to Freedom Avenues. My respected other is beyond; who is beyond. Always beyond me. That I can't completely own. Destroy. Consume at "this moment". She is the one who is in the past and the future. The one always ahead. The one left behind. Does "everything" have an other side? An unseen face. The other is both ahead, in front of me and at the back of what is before me.
Now when we turn back to look at history; we can see how we made the respected other who is beyond, our "any other", our "slave" our "vehicle". How to live with the other? By considering that it is standing"beyond".
The Internal Other, The External Me
What is the meaning of the differences between "me and the other" "internal and external"? Are they necessary? When do they appear? What do they mean "politically"?
I am not going to discuss these problems here. I just have to say I accept the differences and think in these terms.
My outside I live with the others. I think that any other, the respected other has an inside. Like my inside.
The me inside is the one that can experience my inside while perceiving my outside and sharing it with the others. The life of my inside has no partners. The life of my outside has.
The other outside is something that I can caress, can be caressed (if she is alive!), who can be my partner, and in my public realm.
The other inside me is something that only I live, effect, communicate (I can talk to the others inside me? Does it happen to be a soliloquy?) and interact. (How does the respected other affect me? As long as I don't extinguish but succeed in attuning myself to her voice, she can affect me!) I can also share my inside with the respected others inside me. My friends, my loved ones, even my enemies live in me! They share my land inside!
I usually forget the others inside me. I act as though there is nobody inside me, as though no one lives there. (I wonder why?) I don't know how to interact with my internal others. Because I can't realise their existence. Even if I do realise I can be the tyrant of my inside, easily! I can oppress, abuse, destroy them! That is why I can't talk to them! I can't share my inside!
The external me is the me that can be commonly seen, lived together with the others. The external me is what the others can perceive. What influence can I have on the others' perception? The internal me can be seperated from the external me! Maybe there is such an abyss in all of us!
I also have a body. There are parts of my body that are not physical: the regions of internal body and external body. The internal body is my internal part that is affected by my physical body. There are my emotions, for example, my physical pains, the more deeper parts of my internal body goes all the way to my internal world. In our age many peole are captivated in the point of internal body! They can not reach their internal worlds. There are walls, abysses in between. She who has an internal world is she who can go beyond her body, deeper than her internal body. The rest can't go beyond the door of the internal body. Their emotions, thoughts, others are all stuck at the point of the internal body. There, there are emotions, pleasures, pains, vague images and dreams.
The external body is the region attached to our body which is between our physical bodies and the outside. The meaning of squashed world can be understood at this point: the world perceived as pleasures, interests, pains, selfishnesses and ideologies. We can't go beyond, reach outside as long as we can't get rid of the external body. We are condemned to think of the other as the one beyond.
The seriousness of the situation is that: most of us live in our very small worlds limited by our internal and external bodies. We can neither enter our inner worlds or can open them up to our beyond, to the ones beyond! We keep on bouncing between those two boundaries: the boundary of the internal and external body. The region of the external body is like the pocket of a kangroo: ın our times all of us are kangroos. We can't pass the boundary of the external body and reach out to the one beyond.
We can't get to know the others inside and we can't reach the respected others beyond us. We are selfish and evil because we can't get out of the prison of the body. I know these are heavy judgements. So far, I have just tried to explore the origin of the evilness I see. Of course these tentative, rudimentary remarks can easily be criticised.
The Abysses and Bridges
Humans are beings of dead ends. And they also have the power to search for their dead ends. The first rule of succeeding in living together is to look for bridges that will bind the abysses between me and the other. I believe that those bridges are bound to be broken down in time. For hundreds or thousands of years we thought that the other was right next to us. We thought it was outside us. Our self was a self contained cogito. But the other was both far away, beyond us and inside us. But neither our internal nor our external was close to us. We couldn't see that a walk taken out to the outside was full of abysses. The trip to the other was a trip taken to both outside and inside. In history the voyagers devaluated the external me. The ones who devaluated the inside couldn't understand the burden the others inside placed on us.
The bridge is between the external me and the internal others. The way to transcend the barrier of the body is to learn living with the body and giving it its due.
Because humans are the seekers of possibilities: they tear down and put up bridges. They can see that a trip that has been calculated very precisely beforehand can't get outside the internal and external bodies. They try to get over the dead ends, if they can't, they turn back, try out other ways. They can see the weaknesses of the bridges already built.
I am always attached to the other with my inside and out. With my body. My body affects and is affected. Internal and external body interact, my inside and outside share. Communication, interaction and sharing are the three factors of my trip of seeking possibilities. My body interact, my psyche communicates and my heart shares.
I think the reason that the cure is blind has to do with the fact that those three powers are not being used. There is no communication where there is interaction (for example when there is only the body involved in what we call love, there is interaction and no comunication) there can be no sharing (living together) when one or even both of them are present.
I am attached to the other. Hegel was saying that the slave is attached to its master and the master to the slave. The acceptance of the other depends on the voyage we take to the beyond, to the others beyond. It needs courage. Than lets say "is there beyond?" that is a challange made from our culture and will always stay as one, there will always be the beyond. The power that will win over the fear that will stop us from the journey is in the love that we have in reaching out and meeting with ourselves that we see beyond and others that we find inside. Let's find out love. Let's create it. Let's ask "is there anything beyond" as we walk? Is there" anything more beyond"?