Me, Not Me, and Others!

10 mins read
Me, Not Me, and Others!

Here is the concept of Otherness, which is often turned into a tool of domination. So, where does this bifurcation, this division, meet, and how can it or should it be restored to its original state?

‘I’ and ‘not-self’ occupy an important place in the human mind from ancient philosophy to the present day. In medieval philosophy, the connection between the self and the non-self is dealt with in terms of its relationship with God and is generally connected to the non-self through God. St. Augustine expresses this connection as follows: “He who knows God knows everything.” With Galileo, the not-self is separated from the I, and the I becomes a necessary part of the not-self. This necessity is the necessity for the non-self to be known and comprehended by the self.

Starting in the 17th century with Descartes’ Cartesian world design, this duality later turned into a great struggle between the spiritualist philosophical currents based on res cogitans (the thinking being) and the materialist philosophical currents based on res extensa (the thinking being).

For primitive/Archaic man, each element in the cosmos is a different manifestation of divinity. In contrast to the modern paradigm, beginning with Galileo, which transforms nature into a mass of inanimate objects, primitive or religious people see nature as alive as a revelation of divine power: The cosmos is a living whole whose parts move consciously. We have said that the modern paradigm’s de-sacralization of nature, turning it into a mass of inanimate objects and positioning it only as a means of generating yield/profit, has led to catastrophic destruction. However, the religious person who sees nature as different aspects of the divine will approach nature with respect and try to maintain the divine cosmic balance. This cosmic consciousness in the components of nature is expressed in the Qur’an in a way that amazes and amazes:

“We offered the trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, but they did not wish to bear it, but feared it, and man took it upon himself. Surely man is very unjust, very ignorant.” (Surah Al-Ahzab, verse 72)

In many verses of the Qur’an, God swears an oath on the things He has created, as if to declare the mountain, the sun, the moon, the night and the day as witnesses of His creative power.

Again in the Qur’an, we encounter a creative power that is within nature and at the same time transcends it, that seeks to inspire awe and admiration in human beings for supernatural workings, and moreover, that wants us to draw from these cosmic processes signs of the sacred, the divine, and to take a lesson from them. He has placed the ciphers for the self-seeker in these parts of the earth. The religious person is the one who devotes himself to deciphering these codes. As Homo Religios deciphers these codes, he will get closer to the divine, and moreover, by joining this divinity, he will transform his own existence into a transcendent existence and gradually become like his creator.

Until the medieval Christian world, there was no opposition of man to nature. When we look at the classical Greek world, man’s home is the cosmos in which he lives. It is not for the sake of coping with nature or taking it under sovereignty. It shows that man, who only wants to live in harmony with nature, does not think of an existence separate from the cosmos. This is because human beings see the parts of the cosmos as the powers of the gods, as mythological narratives show, or as a manifestation of the creator in periods when concretization is increasingly predominant.

According to Plato, the cosmos was full of daimons! For Plato, the cosmos was a manifestation of the idea of the absolute good. The reason in man was also the reason of the cosmos (Heraclitus / logos). Conflict and chaos could only arise when pleasures and desires did not conform to the measure (reason) in the logos. Logos was a universal measure that even the gods had to follow.

Logos comes from Legein. Legein, whose root ‘leg’ means to grasp, to choose, is used in its first meaning as gathering, collecting. The first person singular form is ‘lego’. Legein means ‘to read’ in Greek over time. What we read is ‘the word’. The word is a value that contains meaning, carries meaning. For this reason, the human being to whom the word is entrusted is both a meaningful and meaning attributing being.

Throughout the history of philosophy, logos (universal reason, law) has been used as a general, universal concept of law in the form of natural law, divine law, the word of God, or the laws of thinking, sometimes in nature itself, sometimes as a divine law that governs nature but is above it, sometimes as God himself (even God himself in Christianity), and sometimes as a general, universal concept of law, transformed into the common laws of thinking of the human mind.

In Islamic philosophy, on the other hand, the word, the word, the kalam is God’s act of creation. The command “KUN!” in everything means that ‘He’ is both the bestower of existence and the owner of the idea, the angelic, the divine models (archetypes), the roots of existence, from which the existent comes into existence. In verse 82 of Surah Yasin, this act of creation is expressed as follows:

“When He wills a thing, His command is only to say, ‘Be! And it immediately comes into being.” (Surah Yasin, verse 82)

At the same time, speech as a value that conveys meaning is God’s gift to man.

The understanding that man must live in the cosmos and in harmony with it continued in Aristotelian and Stoic philosophy. In the Christian world of the Middle Ages, on the other hand, it was emphasized that this was not the true homeland of man, that the earthly stage to which he had fallen due to his sinful nature was the stage of the conflict between good and evil, and that there was another world where punishment and reward would be given as a result of this conflict. Man is now in exile in this world, waiting to return to his homeland.

In a sense, this is also a valid understanding in the Islamic world, but the content is different. The fact that man fell to the earth from paradise with the first sin is seen as a gift offered to him in order for him to attain the attributes of Allah, the Merciful and the Rahim. By eating the forbidden fruit in paradise, Adam has the will to know himself. This fall is necessary for him to move from an unconscious state to a conscious state. Self-knowledge is called consciousness. The self-consciousness of the self-conscious self is called self-consciousness as the consciousness of consciousness. Adam’s realization that he was naked meant that he turned his gaze towards himself. With the feeling of shame, an ‘ethical’ dimension is added to his existence unlike animals. His self-knowledge and self-consciousness is now billed to him as sin. This is essentially the point where his freedom begins. Man is now obliged to carry himself. With alienation, Adam is taken out of the old world he was used to and matured in a new world. Adam’s exile from paradise to the earth is the stage of maturation.

Modern philosophy, on the other hand, restricts the potential of human beings and transforms the world and human thinking into a space where opposites, different from each other, opposites dominate each other and are in conflict with each other, with the view that the only source of all truths, absolute and unchangeable measures is the human mind.

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Ahmet Turan Esin

-He is interested in theology, mysticism and philosophy. He publishes his writings on fikrikadim.com. He gives seminars and lectures.

-İlahiyat, tasavvuf ve felsefeyle ilgilenir. Yazılarını fikrikadim.com'da yayınlar. Seminer ve dersler verir.-

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