Regarding Regretting

When running today, a chain of thoughts brought me to the concept of regret. I thought for a while if I had made any decisions that I regret today. I couldn't come up with any. This only confirmed a conviction I had developed about myself a while ago: You see - regret as a feeling never found much of a space in me. Neither envy.

I relate these two feelings to each other because to me, they are all consequences of some sort of discontentedness about one's self. I think I enjoy the luxury to be a contented person in general and I'm so grateful for that. Grateful - mostly to my parents I guess. For pushing me enough to realize at least some of my potential but never making me a puppet of their personal ambitions.

I have, however, allowed life to drift me along to places where I had to take few decisions which have caused a lot of sorrow - on my self and on others. I'm deeply sorry for these. And each of these decisions have left a scar in my soul. Some deeper than others, some even still bleeding sometimes. I love each of my scars. Because in their own cruel ways, they taught me means to appreciate life more. 

Sadly, there is little didactic value in happiness. Mostly because we don't take the effort to listen to that really quite music of life playing under the pile of daily struggles when things are in harmony. Only when discorded, we reach out for understanding more. 

New challenge in life; to develop there. I want to be in touch with life's music - even, no, especially when things are in harmony. 



Next time you hug someone; think about this: Are you only hugging your not-loneliness or are you hugging another eternity? Physically it looks and feels the same - but to me there is a fundamental difference between the two where the latter is difficult to achieve and requires hard work.


Praying Poisoning Us?

I was never a religious person. What I was already finding awkward and suspicious as a child about religions, I could actually verify by reading about them and their history later on. Religions - especially the ones rooting from middle east - are to me clearly man made - or if I perhaps rephrase it more adequately it's basically a variety of human designed sets of rituals taking stage at different geographies to answer common substantial needs of human kind. 

On the other hand, I don't consider myself an atheist. I like the idea that I'm in connection with universe. I feel and want to believe that I'm the center of my own universe - just like anybody or anything else. To me, the biggest challenge in life is not lose this connection between me and the "anti-me" which together make up the universe. Because if I do, it means I imprison myself into a dull, shallow, entirely and only biochemical equation. 

In this wonderful blog entry, it is being mentioned about apparently renown astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Dyson's book and thoughts. In response to a question about the most astounding fact that he observed about universe, he gave this answer:

"...When I look up at the night sky and I know that, yes, we are part of this Universe, we are in this Universe, but perhaps more important than most of those facts is that the Universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact, I look up — many people feel small, because they’re small, the Universe is big — but I feel big, because my atoms came from those stars. There’s a level of connectivity — that’s really what you want in life. You want to feel connected, you want to feel relevant. You want to feel like you’re a participant in the goings on and activities and events around you. That’s precisely what we are, just by being alive.”

Now, let's keep these thoughts in mind - because what I'm going to say from here on can rather be provoking.

I'm thinking - if it is possible by sending our prayers to a god that we place not in us but "somewhere high in the heavens", in other words somewhere else in a single universe we all share, we take the first steps towards violence? Is it possible by wanting something for us or for our beloved ones from something that is not us (something that is not  naturally part of us - quite in opposite, something we are subject of), we sow the seeds of destruction? 

If you think, "classical" praying as we know, I mean, asking god "to do this", or "to spare that", "in return of being good kids", is a quite childish state of mind. In real life, only when we are spoilt children (or maybe when really old), we would be able to ask for things so relentlessly.

To me, as soon as spiritualism touches the foreign, that is anything that is not us, it brings discrimination with itself. The middle eastern tradition of monoteist religions, by placing a single god in the heavens and us his subjects in his universe, brings substential estrangement from our "anti-me"'s into our lives. Moreover, the fact that we place the god into the center of a single universe, we naturally have to define how distant or close each and every of us are to the center. Therefore it brings discrimination. 

In a way, living in a single universe with a single god, things or beings that are not ourselves, are strangers. But if we came to believe that we all live in our own private universes, then things or beings that are not ourselves would be still part of our private universe, of our "anti-me".

That's why - I believe - this tradition's only solution to this problem is to unify people, to bring them together under one common god in order to stop this estrangement and discrimination. 

Unifying and bringing people together sounds fine - eh? Well let's have a quick look at our wonderful history to find out what's been done to reach this aim: Crusades, Jihad, Inquisition Courts, Countless Pogroms, Genocide, Discrimination, Racism. Not to mention, the desire to suppress which is different. 

But this desire, despite these countless flaws, functioned quite well so far; but with the rapid individualization of our societies, it is doomed to become weaker and weaker.

But if we could feel that we are living in union with universe, that we all are centers of our own personal universes, which is just one universe of billions of other universes, we could feel, rather than send to somewhere, our prayers in our hearts. We could then make praying a meditative state of mind and relate it with the peace of mind in ourselves. 

In short - in my understanding - as soon as we place "the god" anywhere else but in ourselves, we lose contact with ourselves. I think, the vicious cycle that will cause the end or substantial change of "monoteist" religions is starting right there. And when this happens, we will need to find new ways to build our social structures on.


Bonsai Tree Climbing

At first, the screen is dark.

Then slowly, out from the distances we start hearing sound of the quite murmuring and the occasional sniffing of people. Apparently it's crowded.

The screen is light now. You see me - standing in a courtyard of a worn out village house. With people all around me. Most of them are old - with extremely wrinkled faces and hands. They are farmers.

Why are they there? Why am I here?

A coffin near the coop. Its cover is open and there is a body of which we can only see an old woman's white, cold, little face. She is my grandmother who died the night before.

My grandfather is standing near me. As monumental as always. How can such a small man be of such charisma? His whole existence there radiates a sincere sadness to the courtyard; elegantly. Near him my father. With his red eyes. You can tell, he had cried. A childish expression on his face just like the other time I had seen him cry. Maybe no matter at what age, every man losing his mother is supposed to look childish.

When not handshaking with people to accept the condolences, I look at the house. At its poor walls. At its courtyard shadowed with grapevine leaves. At its simple and ugly wooden door. At my grandfather's tractor. At the sofa on its veranda. I'm amazed by their sizes, they are so small. They were all so mighty and big at the days where I would spend my summers in this village house as a city boy. As if my childhood shrank or as if I've walked away from it and now looking back.

Wind the clock back - only maybe 7 hours. Now stop.

It's me coming from some bar late in the night. I'm half smashed. Enter the apartment stumbling to find my phone blinking. Mom has called me maybe 10 times and then she left one of her famous short bad news messages. "your grandmother dead, call me." I call her to hear her protests that I'm not at easy reach when needed. We make an appointment to meet in the morning and drive to the village together then we hang up.

After the short hassle, I look at the walls. It's quite. I can hear the buzzing of the street light near my window. I feel guilty for a moment to have fun at the minutes when my grandmother was dying. But it quickly passes. I put myself onto the bed, set the alarm clock and close my eyes. With all the alcohol in my blood, the world is turning.

Only then I come to realize the feeling that captivated me as soon as I heard the news from my mother. And two tears find their way out of my closed eye lids and roll down to my ears. Before falling asleep I murmur: "It's so difficult to say goodbye to your childhood."

Now wind the clock further back - 5 years maybe. We are looking for a scene where we are eating with my father - without my mother being present drinking Raki - there aren't many such moments. So it should be easy to find. Now - stop.

I took you here because this is the day where I first saw my father cry. Over a woman - of course. Over my mother. It feels to me, the moment you see your father cry for the first time, is a turning point in your life. It's one of the clear indications that you are saying goodbye to your childhood. It is the moment where you realize you are about to enter a world without superheros, saviors and miracles. That is of course if you are not a religious person. There's always something childish about being religious.

Now at this courtyard, near my grandmother's dead body, feeling utterly lonesome in between people, my gaze sneaks away to the mulberry tree standing on its own in the backyard of the house. I let my eyes dance with the tree to share its remote peace.

I remember that some of my childhood's biggest adventures involved climbing on it, finding my way through its branches which seemed to be endless then. I would day-dream that I was an explorer trying to find his way through some jungle. Of course every once in a while, usually seconds before dropping dead because of starvation, the explorer would find a delicious fruit to find the energy to carry on.

Also the mulberry tree shrank. Strange - it looks almost like a bonsai tree to me now. From a distance, every tree looks like a bonsai tree if you walk away far enough from it in - be it distance, feeling or time.

I find myself secretly smiling thinking about the bonsai trees I'm climbing at the current stage of my life.

Little bit of humor, dead body of my grandmother, memories about my childhood. When they come together, you momentarily realize that there are very few things to take seriously in this life. And this blog entry isn't one.


YOU Killing YOUR Half

Self Reflection in a Cup of Tea, Charcoal, 19x19", © Terra Fine

You set out for a walk in the forest with your dwarfs. You find a little lake in between the trees. You lean to water surface with a narcissistic desire to see your image in the middle of leafs' vivid green reflecting.

Your reflection is looking at you with a childishly curious expression. You look back at it with a cold expression in your long face. Your eyes are bubbling with indifference - an indifference which could
quieten any sound.

You want it to be dead. Your reflection - you want it to be dead. Your other part - you want it to be dead. You are taken by the illusion that if you do so, you'll feel a wild pleasure which should be exclusive to sophisticated vandals; barbars of great taste. You feel like if you kill it, you'll become a piece of puzzle that will fit in perfectly.

You wait leaning to water. You look at your reflection. You wonder how long more it will take until your image in water finally drowns. You feel that a masochistic pleasure is starting to grow in you - almost something sexual. You keep looking at it. You keep looking until you once again realize you'll never be free of it. You say "fuck it" and turn away. So does it.


Haydarpaşa In Colors

Haydarpaşa, with all its all magnificence, is one of the most dominant buildings in Istanbul's soul. If Istanbul is a meeting point between east and west, then Haydarpaşa, being the main train station on the Asian side, is the very point where  these two symbolic poles touch each other perhaps in the most elegant manner. It's like an eagle head proudly standing at the edge of the Asian continent looking at the European shores of Istanbul with a confidence that it seems to take from the vast continent behind.

It was always depicted in the old Turkish movies as the first and rather shocking contact point between peasant Anatolian families and the "challenging" Istanbul with all its - to any foreign eye - intimidating skyline that can be observed right when stepping out the main hall. Perhaps it's this effect or surprise that it makes it "so Istanbul". 

In those movies, you would mostly observe these families observing this skyline - which seemingly is so much more different to what they have in their villages - with thoughtful eyes and maybe also hear the hero utter a word or two showing that he accepts the challenge he is being offered. That that challenge is still the major one going on in Turkey's politics today.

This show I came across by accident. Like many of the Cultural Capital - 2010 things, I didn't hear about this when it happened. Anyway, better than nothing, I'm putting it here.Nice one, indeed, done by these guys.

‘YEKPARE’ (monolithic) from nerdworking on Vimeo.