I would very much like to thank to Psychiatrist Professor Kemal Sayar for this eloquent article. For Turkish users here is the link for his web page: http://www.kemalsayar.com/

The wise biologist Humberto Maturana from Chile says : 'If a person tells what reality is to the ‘other’, actually demands obedience. In other words he claims that he has a privileged idea about reality’. From these we are able to see the illnesses of our ‘hearing impaired’ country. One sided thought which ignores whole views expect itself and never hears them, gives no value to other thoughts, claims that it is the only representative of reality, only and only it asks for obedience. Just to spite the ones who say ‘Shut up and listen to me, reality spring to life in my existence’, revitalizing conversation and dialogue is very important these days.

The need for Dialogue

David Bohm is a famous quantum physicist and a philosopher. He cudgels his brain on how people can understand each other and the universe they live in with his book ‘On Dialogue’ that has been recently translated in our language. For dialogue first a system for sharing has to be formed for people to know each other. People who would experience dialogue don’t need to have an aim, and it is not expected from the group to get a result to be put in practice in advance. For this Bohm gives an example:Some time ago there was an anthropologist who lived for a long while with a North American tribe. It was a small group of about fifty people … Now, from time to time that tribe met like this in a circle. They just talked and talked and talked, apparently to no purpose. They made no decisions. There was no leader. And everybody could participate. There may have been wise men or wise women who were listened to a bit more – the older ones – but everybody could talk. The meeting went on, until it finally seemed to stop for no reason at all and the group dispersed. Yet after that, everybody seemed to know what to do, because they understood each other so well. Then they could get together in smaller groups and do something or decide things.
Concepts such as discussion or debate cannot take the place of dialogue. People first need to suspend their presuppositions for a healthy dialogue. In the circle of dialogue; I’m not expressing my thoughts heatedly to the ‘other’ whom I don’t like his thoughts and find him threatening for my existence and furthermore I stop swearing to him. I imagine that I’m at the same boat with him. If there is a fight for existence and non-existence, we will together live or die. We are mirrors for each other, nobody demands each other to change his mind. We only are in need of expressing ourselves and understand the ‘other’ better.

Conviction Rooms

Sometimes the values which are counted unconditional constitute obstacles for dialogue. How can you get in dialogue with the one who says ‘I am the one to define the priorities and constants of this country’? We need to keep up talking. But it’s the effort of understanding and listening that create the feeling of necessities are not so unconditioned. If we listen each other with patience we can grow away from destructive and accurate beliefs and we can notice that our aim is not to suppress the ‘other’ but to survive with the ‘other’.
Dialogue is not about creating ‘conviction rooms’. By approaching others for a deeper understanding, we understand their thoughts and make their thoughts ours.
In the country we live communication circles must be revitalized. We need to start a long term communication with the guiding spirit of remorse and leave prejudices at the checkroom. But unfortunately we are at cross purposes in our country. Bureaucracy ignores altering demands of community and behaves as it is the only shade of ‘unique reality’. Period of obedience is over. It is the period of dialogue. You have to present the ‘other’s voice as precious as yours. Dear peremptory’s voice, maybe you are wrong…What about to have a talk?

Radical empathy

I understand your pain as if I experienced your situation. This is the key sentence of empathy. Martin Buber, the wise Jewish intellectual of the last era, said ‘The inner improvement of human ego, as many presumed, does not emerge with the inner relation we built. It happens by approval of our existence and knowing that we are approved’. We are validated by the acceptance of the ‘other’s. The other side of the relation must be totally enjoyed for the validation of the ‘other’ in order that I imagine what he feels, knows and thinks. I don’t wipe out the distance between me and the ‘other’ by welcoming. I accept that he is unique, different from me and sui generis. I take the risk to encounter his life in his uniqueness and totality. Dialogue is something like this, I open my heart to the difference of the person that I encounter. If the ‘other’ exists by a piece of mine, the relation between people would be a game and dialogue would be an empty fiction. If we need to form a real relation we have to keep a distance and we have to see each other as independent individuals. The soul and the meaning of ego is mutual relationship. You are the one inviting me to presence and I am the one inviting you. When you accept me as the unique person who I am and you encounter me in your uniqueness, we both validate each other. No, we are not role model for each other, we are unique people. We build bridges at the distance between us and get into relation and we strengthen ‘us’.

Recovering by talking

When we encounter the ‘other’, we will not lose our centre and soul. When we see from the ‘other’s perception we don’t lose the possibility to live the relation from our side. We can’t guess the level of anger of the ‘other’ because it can be totally different from our anger. If we take a look at Levinas he says ‘The alteration of the ‘other’ cannot be totally solved’. But we can do this : Now and here we can suffer with the ‘other’. We can share the pain sacrament  as if it is our pain. His face invites me to talk the truth. His face touches my heart. I am the first to receive this message. I have to account for my existence. ‘It is me as far as I’m only answer for’. I get cured when I try to cure you. I take your pain on as if I wipe out my ego, I put your soul on me and I want to understand you.
Turkey can only cure its wounds through relationship. With a responsible morality. Repeating that the reality is relationships and dialogue. With the difficult morality of facing pain together. With the morality of creating a deep sustainable psychological contact. The souls and hearts which have been wounded by the authority don’t want to feel the breeze of another. Only a wounded can heal the ‘other’ in real terms.
There is always hope. No need to shout or be angry. When the deep currents of community start to communicate and realise that the whole story of human being is just related to encounter, something will change in spite of the authority asking for monologue.  We can find the power we need at the noble creation of human being.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would like to meet Professor Kemal Sayar during my next visit in Turkey for I am deeply interested in exchange due to my medical and counselling background. I worked in workshops with Humberto Maturana and appreciate very much his reference to him. Dr. Heidemarie Wünsche-Piétzka / Dialogue Faciílitator and Trainer of Trainers / Germany / hwp@dialog-transnationa.de

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