Perdition, salvation and ‘silence’


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“The wish to talk to God is absurd. We cannot talk to one we cannot comprehend — and we cannot comprehend God; we can only believe in Him. The uses of prayer are thus only subjective” – Kant

Çağıl Gü

Martin Scorsese’s movies are mostly known for their “commercial success” and popularity. Shutter Island, Departed, Taxi Driver are some of the best examples of Scorsese’s categorically “famous” and commercially “successful” movies. Particularly, cinema audiences mostly believe that popularity, philosophic and intellectual aspects can rarely exist in movies. In the general sense; this argument could have validity due to the consumption habits of today… Mobility, shallowness, clarity, transparency which are dominating principles of the 21’st century can be stated as reasons of validity as claimed above.

We are living in an era where contemporary developments in media, impact of globalisation are giving birth to unprecedented forms of mediated social relations and leading people to show attention to easily consumed, quickly digested, instantly achieved phenomenon. Superficiality of the 21’st century is leading people to sink into divided identities and ‘suppressed personalities’. Not to mention, it gives rise to endless desires, and pushes people to be enslaved to artificial needs that characterizes ‘modern society’. While this understanding, inevitably shapes the philosophy of today’s art and commercial goals, fame and reaching vast number of people (popularity) has become the major target for artists… In a nutshell, ‘quantity’ is becoming superior to ‘quality’. Whereas, since the era of Renaissance, the objective of art has been to shape customs and beliefs of communities, to enlighten people, cracking traditional doctrines, eradicating dogmas and to shed light to black holes and challenging taboos… Instead of being ‘commercial goods’, for centuries art masterpieces sought to grab the essence of life. Moreover, art is concerned with shaping the fate of humanity… What is more to the point, during decades, masterpieces main target had been providing multiple narratives and viewpoints through their illustrations…  In a nutshell, for centuries art was like a discovering rugged and uncharted terrain. And those who pursued salutary perceiving, proper observing and judging were able to conquer lyrical taste of art…

Despite the fact that commercial concerns and shallowness dominates today’s movie industry, rarely we come across exceptional cases… Some exceptional movies which are interpreted by majority as commercial or popular underline and touch upon philosophically and intellectually outstanding issues… Martin Scorses’s religious movie ‘Silence’ can be considered to fall under this category… The remarkable movie, which was inspired from historical events, can be regarded as such a masterpiece due to its narration, soundtracks, cinematography and performance of the film’s leading actors; Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano, Iseei Ogata…

At first glance, ‘Silence’ can be considered as an “ordinary story” about the ordeal of missionaries … But the philosophy of the story goes beyond that. It can be regarded as tale of ‘faith imperialism’… Moreover, Scorsese’s Silence, could also be considered as a sociological source reflects the quotidian life of Japan in the 17’th century… Social values, customs, impact of feudalism, resistance against cultural imperialism, invincible bond between trade and assimilation; directly or subliminally can be easily seen in scenes and dialogues… In general sense, ‘silence’ corresponds to void, ‘quiescence’ and listening oneself. But in the movie it might be asserted that ‘silence’ addresses the quietness of the god.  In order to evaluate my claim more broadly, it might be beneficial to mention the ethical dilemma that Father Sebastião Rodrigues encountered… After being captured by Japanese Holy Office Members, Father Sebastião Rodrigues is forced to apostasy by stepping on an image of Jesus Christ. Moreover he is forced to witness torture of other Japanese Christians… From my standpoint, within these sceneries, Scorsese sought to dramatize contradictions among faith, conscience, mercy and rationality:  Does one sacrifice his humanity to save humanity? Does one has right to ‘export’ faith to other communities? What is the salvation? If god had been concerned the peace of all soul, why people are shedding blood behalf of their faith and ‘Lord’?  In order to grasp it more profoundly it is worth to quote an American film critic Roger Ebert: “When ‘Silence’ is not quiet, you wish that it were, because the soundtrack is filled with moans of pain and screams of agony and the sounds of bones being broken and flame searing flesh. And, of course, during such moments you fear silence, too, because the grave is silent… How much suffering can a man take before breaking and renouncing that which is most important to him? If he does break, does it mean he has failed God? Does God want him to resist blasphemy no matter what the cost? Or does he want the priest to give up and renounce his faith, secure in the knowledge that God’s love is great enough to forgive him for not being able to endure unendurable pain? Is God indifferent to the suffering? Does He even notice it? What would Jesus do? A lot of people in Father Rodrigues’ position would interpret that as a physical challenge: if Christ withstood the agonies of the cross, I can get through this. But Christ wasn’t mortal, so it’s an unfair test. But what if the unfairness of the test is the test? And what of the other prisoners in the facility with the priest? All it would take to end their suffering—or so the priest is told—is one footprint on the image of the savior. Is it moral to allow others to suffer when their suffering can be ended with a single symbolic gesture? Would God want that? Maybe the priest is destined to realize that it’s all right to apostatize if it ends the pain of others…”

As I have stated above; Scorsese’s Silence is the tale of faith and ethical dilemmas… It might be stated that, Silence of Scorsese, is subliminally addressing the differentiation of being religious and ethical… Is it sufficient enough to be devoted of becoming ethical? What is the role of religion to achieve appetite of honesty, virtue, wisdom and empathy? In order to highlight this, it might be beneficial to quote Andrew Garfield plays the Father Sebastião Rodrigues: “I pray but I am lost. Am I just praying to silence? I worry, they value these poor signs of faith more than faith itself. But how can we deny them?  I feel so tempted. I feel so tempted to despair. I’m afraid. The weight of your silence is terrible. I pray, but I’m lost. Or am I just praying to nothing? Nothing. Because you are not there…”

As it was written in the  Guardian “Crafted with painstaking grace and performed with occasional, surprising barbs of wit, Silence isn’t a paean to a single religion, but a stark and stirring study of the very nature of belief and the variable conditions of its expression – a film in which no believer or nonbeliever quite emerges with the upper hand”.

As I have mentioned above, rather than clearly illustrating conflict, masterpieces are obligated to revive and reshape customs and values of communities… In this respect, as it was highlighted at Cinemaretro, ‘great’ art often requires an audience to meet it halfway, to capitulate and embrace the pain that is at the heart of what the artist has intended to convey. According to article, Scorses ‘Silence’ is one of those films… It is indicated in the article that Silence is decades-long passion project for Scorsese and it is about the ‘silence’ of God that is the biggest obstacle faced by people of faith. As it is underlined at the article “The subject matter would have been at home in hands of someone like Ingmar Bergman, who tackled this topic several times in his career. Nevertheless, Scorsese’s oeuvre has often been informed by his Catholic upbringing and his struggles with it. While his 1988 film, The Last Temptation of Christ, was a deeply personal and, yes, a religious picture, it was met with controversy and even banning in some territories. Silence is an even more religious statement from the master filmmaker, and it, too, has received mixed responses. Some hailed it as a masterpiece. Others said it was an overlong, colossal bore. The relentless suffering of the characters—in silence—takes its toll. Perhaps that’s what Scorsese wanted to do. To test the audience, just as the priests are tested.”

It is crystal clear to point that the path of mercy can not only be walked by devoted people… This illusion is the source of glittering miseries… Because what is defined as “good” should be based on a morally good disposition… As Tadanobu Asano plays the Interpreter quotes: “Everyone knows a tree which flourishes in one kind of earth may decay and die in another. It is the same with the tree of Christianity. The leaves decay here. The buds die… The path of mercy. That means only that you abandon self. No one should interfere with another man’s spirit. To help others is the way of the Buddha and your way, too. The two religions are the same in this. It is not necessary to win anyone over to one side or another when there is so much to share”



Poignant dignity


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“Nothing in this world is harder than speaking the truth, nothing easier than flattery”

Çağıl Gü

Italian director Vittorio de Sica’s masterpiece, Umberto D, is being regarded as one of the most outstanding examples of Italian Neorealism movement… It is fairly known that “Neorealism, as a term, can mean several things; it often refers to films of working class life and of the struggles and social conditions of people set in the culture of poverty. Italian Neorealism was a revolutionary breakthrough, not just for its technical style and raw film-making, but for the gritty realism of its story and poignant naturalism of its characters”. Umberto D can also be accepted as a moralistic journey which reveals how a person’s character can be altered in community… Umberto D is a sociological evident of difficult economic and moral conditions of post-World War II Italy as well. In the movie, the leading actor Carlo Battisti plays the role of Umberto Domenico Ferrari who is an old man living in Rome… The story of Umberto Domenico Ferrari, who lost his family at war, can be considered a thorny ‘odyssey’: journey to a sorrowful dignity… Furthermore, an old man seeking a virtuous life, demonstrates why people should keep honour superior to vice despite extraordinary adversities they encounter…

At first glance, it can be indicated that, at movie, director sought to dramatize invincible relationship between Umberto Domenico Ferrari and his dog, Flike… But philosophy of the movie goes beyond that: Despite the corruption, poverty and ambiguity that dominate post-war Italy, movie displays how hope makes people free. Moreover, at movie, subliminally it is being underlined that fear can chain people… Due to its elegant narration, cinematography and performance of headliners; Umberto D can be admitted as such a document revealing the political climate, role of religion and social pattern of the period concerned. Sincerity, quotidian life of oppressed class in post-war countries, dilemma of petit bourgeois class were hitherto ignored by post-war cinematic movement but Vittorio de Sica ruined this understanding. Not to mention, Italian director Vittorio de Sica’s remarkable movie, unveils duality among people caused by corruption…

Questioning the role of modernism on society, role of material possession on happiness are disguised as dialogue, and sequence… Situation of those, who can sacrifice honour and every ethical code to earn more money, to build a career is assessed elaborately in the movie and those moral assessments are what make Umberto D such a masterpiece. The leading character Umberto Domenico Ferrari’s story can be regarded as a rebellion against the corrupted human relations and Machiavellianism that justify every nastiness… It is also a tale about disappearance of solidarity and modernist principles that paved the way of selfishness and eradication of common good… As it was mentioned by Michael Walfordin in his blog, “Rather than being a society welded together around notions of social solidarity Umberto D can be read as being about a society at war with itself.”

It is crystal clear to claim that, in Cyprus we are facing almost the same ethical dilemmas that Umberto Domenico Ferrari encountered… Day by day we are sinking into the ethical corruption and we are transforming into dissatisfied creatures… Due to our endless desires, we are being enslaved to the artificial needs that characterize ‘modern society’. It can be tremendously asserted that in Cyprus, for decades we have been facing destructive dimensions of moral corruption almost at every aspect of life… This ethical corruption resembles the ethical corruption that dominates the post-war Italy…

After 1974, separation of the Island gave rise to physical, sociological and psychological destruction for both communities… After 1974, Turkish Cypriot community set-up their ‘new order’ by occupying Greek Cypriot’s property, money, territory, home… Such an “invasion” paved the way of ethical dilemmas and led Turkish Cypriot community to sink into an undeserved prosperity… It could be underlined that, due to undeserved wealth, they have been indifferent to empathy, virtue and wise thoughts… Instead of being diligent and fair; we have expected to have everything handed to us on a silver platter. Corruption and ethical ‘downfall’ had paralyzed the mind-set of community and given rise to hysterical and selfish desires and protracted social problems…

To rephrase all mentioned above, due to paralyzed mind set of people after post-separation condition in Northern Cyprus, phenomenon that strengthen bonds of community such as common good and common benefit were ruined and selfishness, money, vanity, arrogance became superior to honour, virtue, solidarity, ethical guidance and just… This pursuit led us to be sunk into amnesia and for years Turkish Cypriot community have been deaf, senseless and blind to reality because of illusion of exorbitant and undeserved wealth… Whereas, exorbitant and undeserved wealth were root of our heartaches and endless hysteria… As Immanuel Kant, one of the most eminent names of enlightenment period of Europe, indicated; “Everything good that is not based on a morally good disposition, however, is nothing but pretence and glittering misery…”

Corruption, which has dominated northern Cyprus, paved the way of fetishism of consumption… What is more to the point, role of intellectual thinking, education, and qualification have been avoided… Not to mention, ignoring the role of vital issues strengthening bonds of community, led people to be conservative and devoid of critical thinking… During decades we have been fetish of the phenomenon named so called “Cypriot Culture” and under every colonial attack we have endeavoured to use this phenomenon as a shelter for being survived. What we have done was misinterpreting the meaning of culture… But in fact, education and seeking virtue were our only ways to be free… In order to figure it out more comprehensively, it might be beneficial to quote: “Although some behaviour is unique to individual, the vast majority of activities are generated by cultural knowledge shared by members of the society. Cultural knowledge is like a recipe for producing behaviour and artifacts. Culture consists of instructions for generating the whole range of appropriate behaviour. Every culture is used by people to interpret experience and to generate behaviour. And every culture is a complex system of meaning. Every system of cultural knowledge is made up of categories. A category is any group of objects, persons or events that people treat as if they were equivalent.  All of us make use of what we know to make sense out of what happens (to interpret experience) and to act appropriately (to generate behaviour) – we make continual use of our culture for these purposes. Both uses of culture-to interpret experience and generate behaviour-occur together in actual situations. We are constantly making interpretations and using them to guide our actions. Although they occur simultaneously, we want to consider them separately for purposes only…” Because of corruption and conservatism most of us became dogmatic… We have been engaged in dogmatic truths and absolute obedience… Despite our immigration in 1963 and 1974, we have become xenophobic… We were trapped in “inconsistency” and became slave of micro-identities. For decades we have been chained due to unspoken and unwritten agreements and norms of society. In this system our identities have been divided, our priorities have been determined by others… At the end of the day, most of us turned into “modern slaves”… In social media we act as if we were environmental activist, a day later we upload selfie in front of fire place and make judgments about traffic without any hesitation… The following day we can be proud of our expensive car and soon we can dare to talk about equality, social justice and labour rights… Amnesia of being privileged made us senseless and rendered us to ignore its negative effect on community…

In a nutshell, in Northern Cyprus every single day we are being trapped into the vicious circle and we are desperate to find a remedy to our sickness. If majority of community seeks to satisfy their own individual selfish interests, corruption becomes inevitable… Of course there are still some few people who are resisting degeneration but despite that, corruption can be seen almost in every aspect of life: politics, education, media… Moreover, neo liberal policies are safeguarding corruption and promoting selfishness/individualism and paralyzing the minds of younger generations… Instead of taking responsibility, for decades we have accused others for degeneration. Because taking responsibility had required courage and we were not brave enough to walk in that thorny path… Now we have only two options: Either we will run after appetite of honesty, virtue, wisdom and empathy… Or we will be manipulated by instant pleasures of selfishness… As John Locke underlined centuries ago, it should not be forgotten that “virtue is harder to be got than knowledge of the world; and, if lost in a young man, is seldom recovered” Hence we should love truth for truth’s sake and we should act according to guidance of ethics… Despite Neoliberalism’s promotion of selfishness, to be just and ethical are the principal parts of human perfection and happiness resides where one can harmonize his wise thoughts with virtue and justice!


Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment, 1866

John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education

The Cultural Perspective by James P.Spradley & David. W.McCurdy

Our defeats!


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“You think you have to want more than you need. Until you have it all you won’t be free. Society, you’re a crazy breed. I hope you’re not lonely without me…”

 Çağıl Günalp –

Into the Wild is being considered as one of the famous movies of eminent American actor and director, Sean Penn. The remarkable movie, which was adopted from Jon Krakauer’s book, can be admitted as such a masterpiece due to its narration, soundtracks of Eddie Vedder, cinematography and performance of headliners; Emile Hirsch, Vince Vaughn and Catherine Keener… At first glance, Into the Wild could be considered as an “ordinary story” of adventurous young man named Christopher McCandless… But the philosophy of the story goes beyond that. Questioning the role of family, civilization, society, education on happiness is disguised as dialogue, soundtracks and sequences… Not to mention, capitalism and today’s liberal education system are also criticized in the movie. The masterpiece of Sean Penn, Into the Wild, can also be evaluated in the framework of existential philosophy…

In the movie, the leading actor Emile Hirsch plays the role of Christopher McCandless, who is a young man just graduated from Emory University. After his graduation, McCandless grants all of his money to charities and starts out a journey. This journey resembles the Odysseia of Homeros which is a journey back to home… If we explain McCandless’s Odysseia in the light of existentialism, it is a journey of defining and creating one’s own essence… In this sense, McCandless’s voyage corresponds to exploring home and home is corresponding to Mother Nature… What Mc Candless sought was nomadic life style and during his Odysseia he had dared to know, explore and create an “endlessly changing horizon”. He cuts all his bonds with civilization, an became ascetic young man and pursued solitude to discover his own self.

As I have stated above, Christopher McCandless abandoned conformity, “sacrificed” his material possession and pursued an isolated new life. What McCandless attempted could only be grasped in the light of an undeniable bond between freedom and solitude. In order to figure it out more comprehensively, it might be beneficial to contemplate on Henry David Thoreou’s passage, from his masterpiece, Walden:  “I went into the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life… to put to rout all that was not life: and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

As it has been underlined often by existentialist philosophers, what people control entirely is his/her own mind. Under all circumstances a person is always able and free to question, to judge, to accept, to refuse to think. As Jean-Paul Sartre highlighted before, “Existence precedes essence… Man first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world – and defines himself afterwards”. In that respect, it can be tremendously asserted that in the middle of wild life, McCandless was freed from chains of civilization… He was free to choose and he endeavoured to embrace nature instead of being poisoned by the norms of modern life… As McCandless underlined, “So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.”

To rephrase all mentioned above, McCandless was fairly convinced that real meaning of happiness cannot be achieved through material possessions… He does believe that being so conformist and materialistic is the inevitable result of the civilized world. In this context, Into the Wild’s argument is crystal clear: According to the movie, in order to achieve freedom, people should be segregated from both society and their own material possessions. Otherwise people are chained by selfish interests and materialistic world…

Just like Into the Wild, Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa’s Dersu Uzala (The Hunter), a Soviet-Japanese co-production film, also seeks to criticize negativities of civilization. In a general sense, Kurosawa’s epic movie Dersu Uzala is the story of a nomadic hunter Dersu and a Russian explorer Vladimir Arsenyev. Movie sets in untouched wilderness of Sikhote-Alin region of the Russian Far East. In order to question the philosophy of the movie, it may be beneficial to mention the priorities, principles, tendencies and perception of a person in “state of nature”. Dersu Uzala as a person in the “state of nature” is isolated from other people, money, consumption culture, civilization and puissance. Survival can be accepted as the only objective of a person in the “state of nature”… A person isolated from the civilization does not seek to dominate nature. On contrary this kind of person always considers himself as a part of nature. A person, who is far away from civilization, is not sunk into hierarchy. In the middle of the untouched nature, such a person is in the same condition with all other species and he is obligated to respect the natural cycle and the others’ rights. One of the most important philosophers of the history, Jean Jacques Rousseau, in his book Emile, emphasized the tendencies of a person in the “state of nature”. According to Rousseau, person in the “state of nature” is self-sufficient and tends to good.

Moreover, as it was indicated in the article, entitled ‘The Necessity of Freedom’, “Rousseau addresses freedom more than any other problem of political philosophy and aims to explain how man in the state of nature is blessed with an enviable total freedom. This freedom is total for two reasons. First, natural man is physically free because he is not constrained by a repressive state apparatus or dominated by his fellow men. Second, he is psychologically and spiritually free because he is not enslaved to any of the artificial needs that characterize modern society. This second sense of freedom, the freedom from need, makes up a particularly insightful and revolutionary component of Rousseau’s philosophy. Rousseau believed modern man’s enslavement to his own needs was responsible for all sorts of societal ills, from exploitation and domination of others to poor self-esteem and depression”

In order to grasp tendencies and priorities of today’s ‘modern’ people in the New World Order it might be beneficial to state: Civilized people consider competence as an obligation for being eminent. Today’s modern person tends to compete with everyone at everywhere. Most of those can sacrifice honour and every ethical code to earn more money, to build a career. Those, who are obsessed to compete under all circumstances are not concerned with consequences of their competition. They act in pursuance of their selfish interests and every vice can be justified… They act according to the motto of Italian political philosopher, Niccolo Machiavelli:  “the end justifies the means”

In order to grasp my claim more profoundly it is worth to quote an American film critic, historian and theorist Stephen Princ’s evaluation regarding the priorities and character of Dersu as a person in “state of nature”: “Dersu’s magnanimity is nourished by his perception of the essential spirituality of nature. He talks to the fire and to wind and water as if they were people. A soldier laughs and asks him why, and Dersu replies because they are alive. Angry fire, water, and wind are frightening, he says. They are powerful men. A strong breeze suddenly appears, whipping leaves across the frame, as if in answer to his words. Earlier, in a magnificent image, Dersu and Arseniev stood on a vast plain, framed between the moon on their left and a fiery setting sun on their right, humans and celestial bodies alike flattened by the long lens into a single plane of space. It is an image of great mystery and serenity. As they contemplate the heavens, Dersu explains that the sun is the most important man because if he dies everything else dies, too. He initiates Arseniev into the secrets of the universe. The other Kurosawa heroes were in touch with important social and moral imperatives, but Dersu is connected to cosmic truths, and it is Arseniev’s blessing to have known him briefly.”

Both Christopher McCandless’s and Dersu Uzala’s main objective is same. Their passion was designed to survive, to hunt, to get warm and to take shelter. Like billions of people in the world, most of the people in Northern Cyprus are being melted and altered in the ‘system’. They are being chained due to unspoken and unwritten agreements and norms of society. In this system our identities are being divided, our priorities are being determined by others and inevitably most of us turning into modern slaves. It is fair to claim that most of us are sunk into “amnesia” and our hearts and minds are being paralyzed due to obeying rules of a corrupted community. This slavery pushes people constantly to running after something but never achieving it. Our days in this arid Island are becoming like a theatre stage and we are turning into Truman Burbank. Every single day we are being pushed to getting a bigger car, flashy dresses and newer phones… To survive in this corruption is getting painful for those who were segregated from this ‘culture’. And this illusion leads us to be trapped in the quotation of Dostoyevsky: “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.”


Society, Eddie Vedder

Walden, Henry David Thoreou

Intellectuals and puissance…


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104404738.jpg“Once more into the fray. Into the last good fight I’ll ever know. Live and die on this day. Live and die on this day.”

Çağıl GÜNALP –

We are consuming… Every single day, we are seeking to get a bigger, flashy and newer one… This is an endless desire… Are we only consuming goods or we are consuming something beyond that? Aren’t we exhausting our self-esteem, virtues and empathy while being that much consumption addicted? For a long time, individually and communally we have been sinking into ‘amnesia’ due to paralyzed ethical values… Our motivations are being slave of shallow thoughts, artificial and imposed agenda is blurring our mind and we are getting deaf and senseless day by day. This type of pursuit leads our will to be victim of every momentary impulse. What is more, it extinguishes spirit of honour and pushes us to be dissatisfied creatures… Initially our thoughts, then our emotions, attitudes and manners are being shaped by this imposed agenda… Not to mention, because of this ethical corruption, at the end of the day our judgement criteria are being correlated with consumption and vanity… In order to indicate my claim more comprehensively, it might be a great help of mention role of capitalism and liberal education on ethical corruption. It can be fairly claimed that capitalism is a form of ‘dominance’ which exists through consumption… It renders people to be engaged with forms rather than essence. Furthermore, capitalism destructs essential principles which strengthen bonds of community members… In that respect, it may be beneficial to state dimensions of liberal pedagogy…

As a guard of capitalist system, liberal pedagogy have been used for decades… In order to promote capitalism it is being used as an ideological tool… What is more, new generation’s perceptions are being managed and youth is being considered as potential modern slaves. It is crystal clear to assert that, today’s liberal education is considering occupational skills much more vital then moral integration. Liberal education renders people to identify their achievements through their prosperity. To rephrase all mentioned above, this kind of education leads people to consider prosperity and big amount salaries as an indication of their qualification… This mentality, have never concerned to set-up social order according to goodness, justice and virtue… Not to mention, according to liberal education, good person is not correspond to just person and justice is not correspond to virtue… Unfortunately, depending on this perspective, without being judged ethically, every single “successful” person can be admitted as “good” person… Whereas, as English philosopher John Locke underlined centuries ago, “Virtue is harder to be got than knowledge of the world; and, if lost in a young man, is seldom recovered”.

So, what is the situation of this mentality in Cyprus? What is the relation among inactivity, indifference and senselessness of so called qualified intellectuals and mentality I have mentioned above? Obviously, today’s inaction and indifference of some apolitical Cypriot intellectuals are closely linked to lack of criticism. They have never been criticized properly and constantly by others. They have never dared to act towards common good of society. They have never been brave enough to struggle against social justice… They have always acted as if they are settled on the top of Ivory Tower.

It is well known that intellectuals are eager to be sunk into loneliness. They are always running after isolated life… Moreover they always want to keep distance between majority of society and themselves… But, this can’t change the fact that they are also members of their societies… Other’s deprivation, freedom, poverty should be directly concerned by intellectuals as well…

One of the most important philosophers of the whole history, founder of existentialism Jean-Paul Sarte,  at his book named ‘Plaidoyer pour les intellectuels’, underlined that, enlightened (intellectual) people as a member of “petit bourgeois”, will never be internalized by his own class… Additionally, Sartre emphasized that, in order to grasp overall dimensions of his own society, enlightened people should evaluate condition of society from the aspect of oppressed class… In terms of figuring out reasons of labour exploitation, in order to explore how bureaucracy-capital class eradicate social justice and equality, intellectual people should be more critical and sceptic. To be fair and ethical, require that as well!

Mentally, emotionally abused social classes can barely have  ‘organic’ intellectual members. Due to this reality, intellectual and enlightened people once more obligated to internalize concerns of oppressed and disadvantaged social classes… It is not arrogant, elitist stereotype intellectual I have been mentioning about… I have been talking about intellectual people who can be representative of objectivity, who can lead oppressed social classes to figure out their potential, who can be practically and theoretically integrated…

Undeniably, if intellectuals, as a member of the middle class, pursue solidarity with oppressed social classes, it might trigger other layers of community to make self-criticism… Furthermore, this might set oppressed social class into  a motion to create radical, unexpected, sufficient struggle forms… And, this struggle should be a mile stone in terms of solving Cypriot’s protracted problems… Today, an autocratic regime in our neighbourhood, who is considering himself as “neo-sultan” is seeking to ruin dissidents among the intellectuals, academicians, journalists. Every single day, those intellectuals/journalists/academicians are being arrested, fired and assassinated due to their beliefs…

So, what is the conditon of Cypriot intellectuals/academicians? How they act? How brave are they ?!.. Those, who declared themselves academician or intellectuals in Cyprus, are mostly acting according to guidance of their own selfish interests… In order to secure their academic positions and economical interests, most of those are being neutral or indifferent to moral corruptions, injustice and oprressions… What is more, in order to justify their inactions, cowardice and indifferencies, they have reason: they are “equal” to every-one and “every-thing…”. In a nutshell, they believe that their academic titles are indication of their eminence and no other thing can judge them… But that is not enough to justify their senseless and indifferent situation because they are free in every way. As Sartre stated “we all are free to behave like a fool or a machine, free to accept, free to refuse, free to equivocate; to marry, to give up the game”. And as he highlighted once “Our responsibility is much greater than we might have supposed, because it involves all mankind. We will freedom for freedom’s sake, in and through particular circumstances. And in thus willing freedom, we discover that it depends entirely upon the freedom of others and that the freedom of others depends upon our own…”

If poverty is still persisting, if every single day people are being oppressed and abused physically and emotionally… If, ecological destruction is getting wilder, if refugees are being deported back to their country, if racism and xenophobia is being more distincitve; academicians or intellectuals dont have any right to be silent! If they act such as rest of the majority, we should contemplate on quote of Michel Foucault: “There are more ideas on earth than intellectuals imagine. And these ideas are more active, stronger, more resistant, more passionate than “politicians” think. We have to be there at the birth of ideas, the bursting outward of their force: not in books expressing them, but in events manifesting this force, in struggles carried on around ideas, for or against them. Ideas do not rule the world. But it is because the world has ideas (and because it constantly produces them) that it is not passively ruled by those who are its leaders or those who would like to teach it, once and for all, what it must think.”


‘Plaidoyer pour les intellectuels’ – Jean-Paul Sartre

This is the final cut!


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Çağıl Günalp –

reconciliation-statueFrank Darabont’s remarkable movies are also known with their quotations… At one of his quotations, it is being underlined that a person can be free as much as he hopes. Moreover, it is being indicated that the fear can chain people… Not to mention, one of the biggest authors of the literature history, Shakespeare, had asserted that “expectations could be regarded as a root of all heartaches”… During Cyprus Summit at Mont Pelerin, endlessly I was sunk into these quotations… Throughout the talks I walked on the bridge which was over the troubled waters of hope and expectation… The hope inside me was warmed by the snows of the The Alps and during “Cyprus talks” my inner voice told me that hope of unification of the Island will not be frozen by the cold weather of The Alps… Coexistence of hope and fear pushed me into such an ambivalent situation…

Since Cyprus has been divided into pieces, our dreams, our traditions, our childhood memories, our future, our identities were divided into pieces as well. In political terminology our separation was named “Cyprus Problem”. But in fact, it was beyond that… It was the problem of the Cypriots… During decades we have been victim of our cowardice and prejudices. We have not been brave enough to face our brutalities. We have not accepted our crimes committed due to our pointless interests… However, since our island had been torn like a paper, reconciliation was in our hands and it had always been possible to shape today from yesterday and tomorrow from today… Unfortunately we have always ignored it…

During decades, this separation has given rise to destructions, ethical corruptions among the Cypriots. Division of our island altered us… We have acted as if we hadn’t lived together for centuries. We have ignored our solidarities… We have forgotten our loves and our cultural values… The only thing we had been concerned with was our selfish interests that caused our separation…

Now, there is a big chance to solve this problem. We have never been so close to solve the Cyprus Problem as we are now! It can be fairly seen that nowadays Cypriot Communities are challenging taboos, confronting the past and daring to forgive each other…

It can be asserted that, this problem should be solved for the sake of next generations. This segregation should be ended to feel safe and not to be colonized by others… In order not to act as puppets of “big bosses”, peace should be achieved…

As my journalist friend Giorgos Kaskanis had underlined before, we have once more remembered that Cyprus is our common history. We have to accept and we have to dare to face with our mistakes, pains and concerns. If we want to change this catastrophic situation, initially we have to change our mind-sets which have given rise to the “Cyprus Problem” and paralyzed our rationality for decades. At this point, both Cypriot leaders should demonstrate their leadership skills… Both pro-solution parties and NGOs should lead masses to be engaged… That is our historical duty…

It is fairly known that protracted problems could only be solved with creativity, imagination, commitment, empathy and courage. It is crystal clear to claim that every single conjuncture and political movement has its own dynamics and realities… If we consider today’s xenophobia all around Europe, changing presidency at the USA, endless destruction of the Middle East, chaotic climate at Turkey; it might be pointed that, this is the last chance for a federal solution in Cyprus. If this chance is ruined, future for all Cypriots would be full of ambiguity, tension and concern…

Now we have only two options; either there would be more graves at diplomatic graveyard of Cyprus, or our souls will be revived from our ashes as the phoenix. Either we will be surrounded by destructive dimensions of ethnic and religious tensions, or our destiny will be like Berlin and we will be able to make our small island, a centre of multiculturalism, mutual trust, reconciliation and tolerance again…

Media, perception and reality

img_2013Çağıl Günalp

‘The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled. Each evening we see the sun set. We know that the earth is turning away from it. Yet the knowledge, the explanation, never quite fits the sight’. As it was indicated by John Berger, decades ago in the book named Ways of Seeing, there existed an irresistible gap between real world and another world which we perceive… Since media had been that much powerful in social life, scholars have been claiming that, mass media generates boundaries within real life and fictional life which is reflected to media… Do media concern about prospect of good life for all? Are media tools inevitably partial to any particular belief and ideology? Is it too naive to claim that media determines the boundaries of our perceptions? Can media reflect reality? Can media embrace every aspect of community? Can media be purified from its ethical dilemmas? Media theorists have been seeking answers for those questions to render audience much more responsible and critical. At this paper, my aim would be to build awareness of the common ground regarding the role of the mass media on social, cultural and political lives of societies. Firstly, it can be underlined that, media is a tool or source which is transmitting or exchanging information. ‘It can involve asserting, arguing, debating, deliberating, contacting, pressuring, appealing to, cajoling, and addressing’. Whole human history is shaped within the phenomenon named communication. As it was indicated by scholars, ‘from the first story told in prehistoric times through the mass media of today, verbal communication has shaped the foundation of an existence. Throughout time, many orators, philosophers, and educators have tried to capture the essence of human communication. Although a true understanding of the complexity of communication takes years of examination’. In the light of these realities, in this essay I would try to examine media in terms of perception, stances and manipulations emerging within the media. I am fairly sure that questioning and evaluating contemporary communication tools and their ethical problems, might create awareness and enlighten people to realize what causes today’s dilemma of media: what we see and what is real?

Initially, it can be stated that, mainstream media should emphasize the significance of identical diversity. They should embrace every single aspect of community. It is crystal clear to assert that, media channels have to concern social and psychological formation of diverse range of identities. In a more broader sense, mainstream media should be closely linked to representation of every single dynamics of social life. To grasp heterogeneity of cultures and ethnicities, to figure out cultures and ethnic diversities’ potentials, should be the basic responsibility of mainstream media…
As a new language for the 21st century, its words’ the meaning of which, can be differentiated among people. To put in a different way; media can be accepted as a new formation of language which is targeting not only our ears but also our eyes, our minds and our manners as well. Moreover, mass media can generate a vision of the community. It can be either used as an education-information medium or manipulation tool. In order to highlight this aspect, it might be of great help to state: If we consider mass media and consumption habits of today’s capitalism, it can be tremendously underlined that, nowadays mass media is being used as a guard of capitalist world. It is triggering and promoting capitalist tendencies… It promotes consumption and draws an illusion picture of the world in its audiences’ and potential customers’ eyes… Due to that reason, the gap between the imaginary world, which is drawn by media and social experiences of audience, is getting wider. Thereby, subjectivity, reliability of knowledge and legitimacy of media channel’s judgments are still on the agenda of media theorists.

As I have pointed at the beginning, since media can barely define real experience of social life due to their bond with political and capital sources, media have been endeavoring to manage perception of audiences rather than reflecting reality… They are explicitly concerned with serving their particular (special) interest groups. Put it differently, media can reflect events not as real but their interpretations… Therefore some ethical dilemmas, new moral questions have been emerging every single day in different forms… On the contrary, in order to maintain social justice and equality among people, media should be impartial and need to communicate and concern all cultural groups.

People initially socialize with his family… Then socialization process maintains with our friends, relatives and school… Last stage of socialization emerges with mass media. In this stage, there will be some ethical dilemmas within the relationship between the media and societies. As the former one easily directs society’s attitudes. In fact media did not indicate what occurs in reality but it creates a world which includes their realities. To comprehend that aspect of media, it could be beneficial to be skeptical and seek the answers of those questions: Could it be stated that ‘contemporary developments in media, for instance globalization, the internet, proliferation of the media platforms can be accepted as marking our entry into a new period characterized by unprecedented forms of mediated social relations?’ Is it too naive to claim that media determines the boundaries of our perceptions? From my standpoint, it could be stated that it is the major determinant of our perceptions. In order to highlight this, it might be beneficial to quote: ‘In present era of globalization, majority of people in the society depends on information and communication to remain connected with the world and do daily activities like work, entertainment, health care, education, socialization, travelling and anything else that we have to do’. We travel where suggested by travel programs. Our political views are shaped according to political debates on the media… We have an idea on events which we have not experienced so far… We buy what we are told to buy by the media. We consume what they promote us. Briefly, we perceive what media reflects. Conversely, until media has been that much dominant and distinctive in our lives, we had perceived world and defined things by using our senses. Needless to say, due to mass media, people are encompassed with subjectivity, mobility, excessive amount of disinformation but the reality…


Mass Media and Its influence on society (M.A Mughal)

The Media and Social Theory (David Hesmondhalgh & Jason Toynbee)