Returning to Your Cave

We are all survivors of our own islands, with out an exception. In the rush of the day, running from one crisis to another, we carry weights heavier than we imagine on our shoulders. We deal with an unbearable work load, working for school or the office, managing our relationships with others and taking care of our loved ones. In short, we do our utmost best to satisfy others. We only miss one point through this process: ourselves.

Even though we occasionally forget, it is certain that we are living for ourselves, not others. Our minds and souls need their own space. Solitude isn’t something to be afraid of if you are ready to listen to your inner self; it is something every human being needs in order to live a healthy life.

All of us need time. To think about the past, future, and most importantly the present… To analyze our behaviours and delve into our thoughts… To understand what we want, what we wish and what we need…

Even if it sounds unnecessary, one day you will feel that you lack meaning in your life; you will notice that you can’t satisfy others before satisfying yourself if you don’t take care of yourself. Because the confrontation of one with his or her self, is what gives meaning to life.

So create time for yourself. It is way easier than you think. Just close your eyes, and return to your cave before you sleep every night. Let your soul enlighten your mind and body. Listen to a soothing song, light a candle that you like, and feel the moment. You may either feel good – and that’s great – or you may feel bad – and that’s also okay.  What matters is being aware of yourself and your feelings. There will be good days, and bad days, but as long as you are listening to your inner self, everything will be okay at the end of the day.

Just believe in yourself, because you are stronger than you imagine.  You have the power to change your life in your hands. What else can you ask for?

How does the society expect us to be “moral” while Kant’s Categorical Imperative conflicts with itself?

Ethics and morality. The number one quality we look for in the people we take in to our lives, ranging from our children to spouses, from our classmates to workmates. While we all have a mutual understanding of the concept of morality, the path each person follows to reach moral values differs from one another.

Immanuel Kant, the father of moral philosophy, summarized the ethical values one should bear in mind in his Categorical Imperative, in two distinct principles.

1- “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.”

2- “Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end and never simply as a means.”

While the two principles doesn’t seem like they contradict with each other in the first place, it is seen that they have fundamental differences when they are thoroughly analyzed.

Imagine that you are a chief officer in the air forces. You have heard that a plane full of passengers kidnapped by a group of skyjackers. They have announced that they will kill all passengers on the plane, if their friend who have been arrested aren’t released from the prison. To make you believe, they have killed a 2-moth baby in front of the cameras of the news channels. What would you do in this case? Sacrifice the lives of the passengers in order to pursue your ideals, or let the skyjackers go away with their crime?

Lets analyze the case using Kant’s Categorical Imperative.

If you use the first principle, it is clear that you should sacrifice the passengers because no matter what, you can’t let go of your ideals. If you want your behavior to be a “universal law” you have to do what you should do, regardless of your emotions.

However, on the other side there is a principle, which states that you should never use a person as a means but always as an end. Isn’t sacrificing the innocent lives of these human using people as a means? How can you let them die, while they didn’t do any single thing that has contributed to this catastrophe?

It isn’t as simple as it seems right? Now I’m coming to my initial question. How does the society expect us to be “moral” while Kant’s Categorical Imperative conflicts with itself? Is it possible to be moral at all?

Ironic I know, but still. Moral of the day: Don’t classify anyone as “moral”  or “immoral” according to the one action they took. Your understanding of moralities may be contradicting with the values of the other person. No matter what you do, you never know what they are going through or what are they thinking about. Try to be understanding, but yourself into the shoes of others and always keep the two principles of Kant’s Categorical Imperative in mind while making decisions.

 

 

Can One Really Change the Paradigm of the World?

I came to the point where I started to analyse the answer to the question which I used to answer “Yes!” without even a doubt. I guess this is how the realization of growing up first occurs on people.

The question is “Can one really change the paradigm of the world?”

I used to say “Yes, yes, yes and yes!” from the deepest corner of my heart, without giving the right of questioning to anyone around me. Poor me. I was inexperienced, maybe even stupid. But to tell the truth, I was happier than.

Because I did’t know what “inferior” or “superior” meant. I didn’t know what “majority” or “minority” meant. I didn’t know what “communism” or “capitalism” meant. The world was black and white for me. People were either good or bad. And there was only one rule. And that golden rule was that good people always win.

Unfortunately, that little innocent girl was right. As soon as I stepped out of my glass fan, I noticed the fundamental paradigm of the world, existing since the beginning of mankind.

World have always been harsh and mean. Not because of unfortunate coincidences or misunderstandings. Not because of randomly occurring events or catastrophes. The world have always been like this because of the humankind living on it.

Even if we insist on ignoring this fact, unfortunately it is true. Humans are selfish creatures, capable of doing every single thing when it concerns their “sake”. And these selfish people have planned this system so well that no one can ever change it. As Marx and Engels indicated in “The Communist Manifesto”, from the Medieval Europe, to French Revolution, from the Industrial Revolution to the 21st century world, the world have always been  ruled under the same paradigm, only under different covers. The bourgeois always ruled the proletariat.

Therefore, my new answer to the question is “No.” I’m not being pessimistic, but this time I’m sure about my answer. Because even if it was painful, at the end I have understood. No man, no group, no ideology can change the paradigm of the world, as long as  homo-sapiens are the dominant species on the planet.

Reading One’s Mind

Socrates once said “Knowledge is virtue”. From a similar perspective, I say knowledge is power. There isn’t a better feeling than being asked a question which you already know the answer, no matter how hard it is. Even though you don’t have to know the exact answer of the question, you need the core cues that will enable you to proceed through a logical journey.

However, instead of what many think, knowledge isn’t something that is easy to achieve. Knowledge is much more than what you see on Wikipedia definitions. Reading and searching helps you until a point. But after a certain point, you have to be able to see what no one sees, perceive what no one understands. Basically you have to expect the unexpected, ready to tackle  any issue that arises at any moment. On top of meeting the expectations, you have to  push your limits, think outside the box to  create a difference.

Reading books isn’t enough after a point; you have to use the books you read to read the minds of people.

For me, a person you has succeeded in life is a person who was able to read the minds of people. No matter how talented we are, we are living with people as a part of a community. We live in a world where the knowledge that the society doesn’t want to know, doesn’t want to use or doesn’t want to buy has no worth at all, no matter how precious it is.

I can’t give you instructions to read the mind’s of people. For some it passes through psychology, for some philosophy, while for some the art of rhetoric. But regardless of which path you chose, your end goal should be to perceive the perspective of others and get into the world’s of them.

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Humanity of the Human Kind

Mankind. They’re the most complicated creatures on earth, created with an excellence that no one has been able to explain until now. They come together and live as a part of a society according to their common interests.

But is the main focus of these individuals forming the society is only their own benefits regardless of the others? Are instinctual passions really stronger than reasonable interests as Sigmund Freud said?

Even though I don’t want to believe, after all these I have seen, I guess humans are really savages that are capable of doing everything to obtain their desires in life. If today people are changing their ideologies for profit, backstabbing their loved ones for their own good, lie and deceive other’s for their interests but most importantly wish something bad for an innocent person, I am very sorry to say the the “humanity” of the humankind has come to an end.

Ithaca

As it was the one and only piece of poetry my father read over and over again Ithaca didn’t mean anything to me from the early ages of my childhood to my teenage years. But right now I understand what my father tried to emphasize while reading out loud “Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey/ Without her you would not have set out/ She has nothing left to give you now”. Therefore I wanted to make the first post of my blog referring to Ithaca, which has opened my perspective to understand “what these Ithakas mean”.

Ithaca 

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

Konstantinos Kavafis