O reason, where art thou?
SERDAR DİNLEROur world right now is quite different than the world in the classical era. The advancements in technology and the subsequent scientific developments thoroughly affect the humankind. Individuals can easily access information through the world they hold in their hands and easily control their reality.
At a time where any person can acquire information about any given subject and manage to engage in discussions, it upsets me that political discourse is still at the level of mythos. I ask myself this question: within the ever-developing world, to what extent do political powers provide us with reality?
We can also word the question in this way: At a time when humankind needs logos rather than mythos, do political moves and rhetoric based on myths have a future?
Following the terrorist attacks on 9/11, we can easily observe the impacts of political moves implemented through myth-based rhetoric on humankind. This observation was not as clear before 9/11. The orientalist Western approach on Eastern cultures brought in the antithesis of the occidentalist Eastern approach to Western cultures. The point I want to make here is the facts that the “other” discourses developed by Eastern and Western civilizations are far from reality and include mythic elements.
Following 9/11 and the Charlie Hedbo attack last month, the aforementioned stance – one that is distant from logos and close to mythos – started to spread around Europe. The strategy followed by George W. Bush to manipulate perceptions in the U.S., and all around the world, caused – and succeeded in – the portrayal of Eastern civilizations, specifically those adhering to Islam, as the enemies of the West. As we all know, Western societies are more advanced than the East in terms of science and technology. However, the political rhetoric crafted in the rational Western societies is distant from reason and close to myths. Western societies are not the only ones with political powers that attempt to create “others” and distance themselves from logos. We observe similar mythos-based political moves and rhetoric patterns in Eastern societies.
Humankind has desired wisdom, strength and beauty for centuries and we still seek the harmony created by the trio. Given the fact that political power holders are always in public, they are one of the most important institutions to serve the reason. Unfortunately, this statement is not reflected in reality.
As I mentioned above, the governing of both Eastern and Western societies is shaped by perception management. Beauty, wisdom and strength are seen as a difficult-to-reach utopia, and cannot find a place in our lives. As a citizen governed by political powers, I can say that nobody consents to be governed by irrational techniques that are far from the reality, yet everybody embraces this type of governance as they believe there is no other alternative. When we analyze the topic from the other perspective – from the point of view of political powers – we see an attempt to legitimize mythos-based implementations. As we all know very well, mass media is one of the most important tools to gain legitimacy.
It is possible to see the fact that mythos has survived until today and is used by political powers as an indicator of the lack of human development since the ancient ages. From another point of view, we can also argue that rational and relevant policy options might not be crafted by political powers, given the fact that they are “not easy methods.” In a similar manner, the policies created at the level of mythos are adopted more easily by the individuals and are more efficient for political powers to mobilize masses.
Even though it is virtually impossible to replace the irrational world politics with a reason-based approach in the short term, it is encouraging to see that the will of the individuals lies with reason. It is reassuring to envision that peace will prevail, fraternal feelings will spread and most importantly empathy will develop in a political world based on the harmony of beauty, strength and wisdom. I sincerely believe that logos will be empowered each time I ask “O Reason, where art thou?”