Imagine such a life: Almost all of your decisions are made by somebody else; there is no free area in your life. Your education, job, marriage, free time, books and newspapers to be read… All of these are decided for you, and you need only obey.
The Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) structured itself inside the military in such a fashion, according to an indictment. Members are “handed over” from one older “brother” to another starting from school up to the top positions in their professions. They are constantly under control, and their personalities are oppressed. How else would it ever be possible for a major or a colonel to be under the command of a lower-ranking “brother?”
The culture of obedience and the inability to become individuals are a widespread cultural issue in our society.
It is wrong to underestimate and associate the problem with religion only. Materialist and racist totalitarian ideologies similarly destroy the independent individual and demand absolute obedience. Totalitarian organizations regard the “stray” as a traitor and execute them.
Lenin’s “iron discipline” theory wanted automatized militants. From such a structure, Stalinism was naturally born. The Führer’s and the Duce’s slogans were “believe, obey and fight,” right? Totalitarian ideologies are psychological tools of creating dependent personalities.
Their doses and fields are very different but “thick-textured” structures that control the entire life of individuals and make them dependent personalities are a very important problem for humanity.
No matter whether they are mystical or secular, other people can only be orderlies for the chiefs of these kinds of structures. In order to sustain the dependence, they dole out benefits.
It is not so easy to become a “free and independent individual,” moreover; it becomes a problem if this is overstated.
In his book “Escape from Freedom,” Erich Fromm explains that people especially tend to seek trust and satisfaction in a thick-woven structure instead of being independent and alone during times of difficulty.
A person needs friends, loves and values that they would be willingly to make sacrifices for. Not every solidarity and idealism is “thickly woven.”
Today, voluntary organizations are encouraged around the world in fields such as education and social aid. However, voluntary organizations do not meddle in the lives of persons to whom they give scholarships, shelter, food or medicine.
Those who do these charitable works do not seek “followers” for themselves; they do it for the good deed.
In FETÖ and in totalitarian organizations, free individuals and transparency do not exist; there is absolute obedience. It is easy to enter them but very difficult to exit.
The solidarity groups of independent individuals are very different. The solidarity organizations of free people focusing on certain religious or secular values and social causes are open and transparent; it is easy to enter and exit them. Obedience is not sought, as voluntary solidarity is important.
The proposal that religious communities be accredited by the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) would mean the government granting accreditation to communities, which would have very negative outcomes.
Would the next step be the accreditation of nongovernmental organizations?
It is apparent what should be done: Develop a culture of free thought and the resources to become independent individuals.