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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 – cakilgunalp@gmail.com

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