Flourishing of the Individual

Your suggestion for the individual to flourish indicates your vision, but changing people's habits is not so easy.

This is because we are grandchildren of a militarist nation. It has been passed on by our ancestors. In fact, I have asked some friends who understand genetics about this. Are national characteristics inherited from one generation to the next? I didn't get a fully satisfactory answer. Such an inheritance always can be a matter for discussion. It is reflected in Parliament in one way, and in the presidency in another way. Its manifestation in the military is very different, for its members represent power and, due to their profession's nature, from time to time their attitude can be rougher. In other social segments, they can remain under this same influence to the degree that it's permissible.

Can human rights and freedom be narrowed in the name of democracy?

A top authority once said: "This constitution is too broad for us." However, narrowing human rights and freedom cannot be recommended. For a long time we have taken things from outside without asking "does this suit us," trying to force ourselves into a particular mold. But this nation, this state, this society has some special characteristics. This nation should be viewed within its own characteristics, for ignoring them only causes alienation and new social crises, such as those we're living through now. There are some things this nation will not relinquish. Our historical and religious dynamics, as well as our essence, must be considered. Take this however you want, but there are some things you just can't throw away. Ignoring these in favor of things developed in a different world and according to that world's criteria, like a ready-to-wear dress, creates problems.

In the end, a religious community (like yours) is a closed system. Is it possible to open up and expand within this closed state? I wonder, is the community's spirit a common thing, or does it permit the individual to develop?

Today the community is perceived a little differently. First of all, we are not a religious community. If we're going to call it a community I feel uncomfortable with this word it is like this: For example, Islam strongly recommends its followers to perform the prescribed prayers as a congregation. This recommendation caused the building of mosques in almost every city or town district. Islam orders that the Friday noon prayer should be performed as a congregation. This caused the building of at least a large mosque in every town. This also causes Muslims to come together five times a day in mosques. Again, Islam commands pilgrimage for those Muslims who can afford it. These are occasions that naturally bring the Muslim people together. Like this, those who have the same thoughts and adopt the same way of serving people and the country come together without any compulsion or ultrerior motive. They may have different creeds, worldviews, and political inclinations. This is what you see in what you mention as "your community."

You believe in certain things and put them into words. For example, you say love; you say hatred should be buried so that it can't be revived; and you believe in the importance of education. People who share these feelings and thoughts undertake certain activities related to them. If this is called a community, there's no reason to be worried.

The second aspect is that certain thoughts of such communities can become static, which might prevent members from developing their natural talents. What you say is true from this respect. Coming together in a manner that raises doubts, with the view of doing certain things from the outset, can hinder individual development. Those in the forefront of such communities put a high price tag on their experience. When people serve humanity, seeking titles is disrespect to service, the nation, and to those who trust them.

Can some people in political parties, religious communities, and other groups overcome these?

It's possible, but different thoughts should be allowed to flourish. Otherwise there can be retrogression in contemporary change and transformation. There can be no radical change, for the innovative spirit will be lost or not come forth. But in addition to protecting the basic line, there's a need for innovative spirits, especially when time flows very fast and developments take place very rapidly.

Some aspects of existentialism are correct

The idea that we cannot escape easily from this inherited influence should be destroyed. It's very important to think more freely and to gain an individual identity. I guess this is the point of departure in the foundation of existentialist philosophy during periods of universal crisis following world wars, where people were swept into mass death. The individual lost everything and was annihilated. The existentialists were definitely right to rebel against the loss of the individual. But, they went too far on some points and nurtured other mistakes. As in every other issue, balance is necessary. July 20-29, 1997

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