SIX – The Emergence of the Social Problem
6.1 Defining the Problem of Historical-Society
6.1.a The First Major Problematic Stage of the Monopoly of Civilization
6.1.b From Rome to Amsterdam
6.1.c Eurocentric Civilization’s Hegemonic Rule
6.2 Social Problems
6.2.a The Problem of Power and the State
6.2.b Society’s Moral and Political Problem
6.2.c Society’s Mentality Problem
6.2.d Society’s Economic Problem
6.2.e Society’s Industrialism Problem
6.2.f Society’s Ecological Problem
6.2.g Social Sexism, the Family, Women, and the Population Problem
6.2.h Society’s Urbanization Problem
6.2.i Society’s Class and Bureaucracy Problem
6.2.j Society’s Education and Health Problems
6.2.k Society’s Militarism Problem
6.2.l Society’s Peace and Democracy Problem
7.1 Definition of Democratic Civilization
7.2 The Methodological Approach to Democratic Civilization
7.3 A Draft of the History of Democratic Civilization
7.4 Elements of Democratic Civilization
7.4.b The Family
7.4.c Tribes and Aşirets
7.4.d Peoples and Nations
7.4.e Village and City
7.4.f Mentality and Economy
7.4.g Democratic Politics and Self-Defense
EIGHT – Democratic Modernity versus Capitalist Modernity
8.1 Deconstructing Capitalism and Modernity
8.2 The Industrialism Dimension of Modernity and Democratic Modernity
8.3 The Nation-State, Modernity, and Democratic Confederalism
8.4 Jewish Ideology, Capitalism, and Modernity
8.5 The Dimensions of Democratic Modernity
8.5.a The Dimension of Moral and Political Society (Democratic Society)
8.5.b The Dimension of Eco-Industrial Society
8.5.c The Dimension of Democratic Confederalist Society
NINE – The Reconstruction Problems of Democratic Modernity
9.1 Civilization, Modernity, and the Problem of Crisis
9.2 The State of Anti-System Forces
9.2.a The Legacy of Real Socialism
9.2.b Reevaluating Anarchism
9.2.c Feminism: Rebellion of the Oldest Colony
9.2.d Ecology: The Rebellion of the Environment
9.2.e Cultural Movements: Tradition’s Revenge on the Nation-State
9.2.f Ethnicity and Movements of the Democratic Nation
9.2.g Religious Cultural Movements: Revival of Religious Tradition
9.2.h Urban, Local, and Regional Movements for Autonomy
Let me say in advance that I will not be casting intellectual tasks as the constitution of unitary consciousness and its transmission to the units. First, we must evaluate what intellectualism is. It is often said that the Age of Enlightenment (eighteenth-century Europe) determined how modernity was shaped. Numerous systematic physical and cultural genocides by the nation-state, in particular the Holocaust, dealt a fatal blow to modernity’s idea of enlightenment. It was at that point that the intellectual Theodor Adorno demanded that all divinities fall silent.1 This, at the same time, is the ultimate stage of civilization to date. This is an important moment; without an analysis of it you cannot hope to move forward. We are talking about a moment of historical failure, lies, and genocide. As an act of enlightenment, awareness, and the growth of knowledge, intellectualism cannot isolate itself from this moment. It must be judged to be one of the main culprits. Placing responsibility for the crime on a few dictators like Hitler is among liberalism’s most disgusting acts of propaganda. The truth cannot be discovered if the system that nurtured Hitler from cradle to the grave is not elucidated; this would be nothing but a betrayal of truth. When the main task of intellectualism, “the pursuit of truth,” has been betrayed and this betrayal is largely the work of intellectual capitalists and load donkeys, there are issues that need to be carefully scrutinized. Without evaluating and resolving these issues nothing but the creation of new intellectual capitalists and load donkeys can be expected from the newly assumed position.
If the system, which is in a global crisis, can only be sustained through an extraordinary crisis regime, then the fact that we are not talking about the intellectual crisis can only be because we are totally blind or are the system’s incorrigible intellectual capitalists and load donkeys. An ordinary intellectual with a sense of dignity should have no difficulty understanding that the crisis is effectively the result of an occlusion in the field of mentality. Furthermore, there is a link between system structures and their mentalities like that between the body and the soul. The crisis of the body—the structurality—not only necessitates the crisis of the soul—the mentality—it makes it the precursor of that crisis. The priority is not the crisis of the body—but of the soul. Just as brain death is conclusive evidence of bodily death, the mentality crisis is certainly evidence of a structural crisis. It is quite clear that we are currently faced with a profound intellectual crisis. Because in certain areas the crisis cannot be addressed by innovations; a profound response to the crisis is required, and it must be related to the transformation of the system. The solution to the system’s intellectual crisis inevitably lies with an “intellectual revolution.” Before discussing intellectual revolution in our current context, it might be useful to look at some historical examples.
As far as can be determined, the first great intellectual revolution took place in Mesopotamia c. 6000–4000 BCE. This was a period when the power of society and the natural forces was observed extensively for the first time with enormous practical results, which Gordon Childe found comparable to the developments in post-sixteenth-century Europe. Most of the social achievements made to date, both in terms of tools and intellect, have their roots in that period. The second great revolution occurred with the foundation of the Sumerian and Egyptian civilizations. In the first period, the ability to transform the achievements of the Neolithic Revolution to the civilization system was demonstrated, both in terms of tools and intellectual achievements. Many of the inventions and discoveries in different areas, including writing, mathematics, literature, medicine, astronomy, theology, and biology in particular, are the result of the revolutionary intellectual developments of this period. Until the Greek-Ionian revolution, history continued to learn from and duplicate these developments.
The Greek-Ionian intellectual revolution constituted the third major step. The period 600–300 BCE was another period that was very rich in terms of both philosophical mindset and scientific development. No doubt the transition from mythology blended religions to philosophy was a major intellectual revolution. There were also revolutionary developments in areas such as writing, literature, physics, biology, logic, mathematics, history, the arts, and politics. Until the sixteenth century, the products of these revolutions were transmitted and duplicated. While there were certainly many other intellectual developments at other times and in other places, they cannot be regarded as having constituted major revolutions. It is possible to interpret the emergence of monotheistic religions as important revolutions in mindset. Furthermore, the Zoroastrian moral revolution was a major intellectual revolution. Confucius in China and the Buddha in India developed important intellectual values. The intellectual sparks seen in Islam from the eighth to twelfth century were also important. It is a great loss that they did not lead to a revolution.
The European intellectual revolution is undoubtedly deep-rooted and extensive. However, it is indisputable that its source is the revolutions and intellectual sparks that we have been discussing. I must clearly point out that none of these intellectual revolutions had any link to the exploitation and power monopolies. On the contrary, it was these monopolies that distorted these revolutions and prevented them from adequately developing, causing them to atrophy and be tied to the monopolies and turned into capital. This reality is even more strikingly clear in the great intellectual revolution of Europe. Absolutism and the nation-state systems, as capitalist monopolies and state monopolies, have gone to great lengths to prevent and distort the intellectual revolution and to bind it to their own rule, considering this their foremost duty. Many great struggles have been waged in this regard. Giordano Bruno, Erasmus, Galileo Galilei, Thomas More, and other thinkers and scientists resisted the relentless tyranny of the rulers to protect their intellectual independence and retain their dignity, whether at the hands of the Inquisition or the French revolutionary courts, where some even ran the risk of being burned at the stake.
During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as in all areas and units of society, the hegemony of monopolist capital and the nation-state was strongly reflected in the intellectual area and the intellectual units. Science, philosophy, the arts, and even religion were all heavily integrated into the structures of power, particularly the nation-state. Monopolism in both these areas dealt a major blow to intellectual independence. In this situation of dependence, the intellectual either became an intellectual capitalist or, more often, a knowledge load donkey within the universities and other school systems. The schools, particularly the universities, became the new temples of the nation-state, where each successive generation’s mind and soul are washed to render them servant-citizens who worship the nation-state god in an unparalleled way. Naturally, the community of teachers at every level have become the new priestly class. No doubt there are a handful of intellectuals who preserve their intellectual dignity, but they are the exceptions that prove the rule.
Of greater importance are the contextual developments of the intellectual revolution in Europe. We should point out that the pioneers of this revolution thoroughly absorbed the religion, science, philosophy, and arts of the previous eras, and it is clear that this was the basis of their contributions. It must be acknowledged that European intellectuals made huge progress toward the truth. They were certainly successful in terms of method and application. While this is particularly true in the area of first nature (physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy), it is not so much the case with their scientific, philosophical, artistic, and moral approach to society as second nature. European intellectuals wrote meaningful manifestos and developed scientific disciplines, philosophical schools, artistic tendencies, and ethical teachings. However, they were not successful enough to preserve the moral and political character of society. On the contrary, the more their dependency on the capital and power monopolies grew, the more they became complicit, targeting moral and political society to the point of destruction, which cannot be explained away with talk of inadequacies, failures, and errors. This is precisely how the intellectual crisis began.
Undoubtedly, the responsibility for not only society becoming the target of destruction but also the environment is on the intellectuals. The fact that they are held jointly responsible for the global crisis is because they are part of the crisis. The most important issue to be elucidated is the way the intellectual defeat, corruption, and distortion developed, both strategically and tactically. Who should we hold responsible for the development of the great turmoil, defeat, and betrayal in the field of social sciences in particular? (Here, I must first express my belief that sciences that address first nature have or, at least, should have a social quality.) Are we only talking about a disease of the scientific paradigm? Should we primarily look for the problem in particular disciplines? Is the disease structural or incidental? Is treatment possible? How can we develop the means and method of treatment? What would be the main indicators of a new scientific revolution or a new scientific paradigm? Strategically, what is our starting point? Only if we have clear and concise answers to these and similar questions can we overcome the intellectual crisis and determine what our new paradigmatic and scientific tasks are.
The crisis of the European civilization–centered science is structural, and this is related to developments experienced at the beginning of civilization. The centralization of science in the temple means its integration with power. There are many examples indicating that in the Egyptian and Sumerian civilizations science became an integral part of power. The institution of priesthood that pieced together science was already the most important partner of power. The structure of science in the Neolithic period was, however, different. Women’s knowledge of plants likely laid the foundation of both biology and medicine. In addition, observing seasonal cycles and monitoring the moon gave rise to the need for calculations. It can easily be construed that the life practices of the agrarian-village communities that existed for thousands of years provided a wealth of knowledge. This knowledge was pieced together and turned into a component of power during the period of civilization. What we have here is a negative qualitative transformation.
In pre-civilization societies and later in societies that opposed civilization, knowledge and science were a component of moral and political society. Unless the vital interests of the society necessitated it, it was not possible to use science in any other way. The sole purpose of knowledge and science was to ensure society’s continued existence and provide it with protection and nourishment. Anything else was unthinkable. Civilization radically changed this situation. It established its monopoly over knowledge and science and severed their ties to society. With society deprived of knowledge and science, the rulers and the state forces used knowledge and science to maximize their power. They consolidated their monopolies by binding those who produced and carried knowledge to their dynasties and palaces. The profound severing of science from society, and from women in particular, also meant its detachment from life and the environment. This developed alongside a profound severing of analytical intelligence from emotional intelligence and the continuous growth of the distance between the two.
In social nature science was understood as divine. Society deified the level of knowledge and consciousness related to its own nature as an expression of its own identity and equated it with divinity. Civilization changed this too. When science fell under the control of the dynasties and their partners, this divine status was also modified. While the society was assigned the rank of servitude and the non-divine, the dynasty and its immediate surroundings were reassigned in mythology and religion as god’s nobility. God-kings and god’s nobility were the product of this process. The severing of the producers and carriers of science and knowledge from society in this way continued throughout the ages of civilization. There were of course those who resisted this, but they were easily liquidated. Those who dealt with knowledge and science became a sort of caste. As for European civilization, the producers of knowledge and science experienced a period of limited independence, particularly because of the confrontation between the Church and the kingdoms, as well as the quasi-autonomous atmosphere in the monasteries. The intense power struggles gave them the opportunity to easily find protection and to carry on without their research suffering. The Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment are closely linked to the autonomous environment that resulted from these power struggles. The absence of a Chinese- or Ottoman-style autocracy also contributed to this autonomy. The result was a philosophical and scientific revolution. However, the hegemonic rise of capitalism, on the one hand, and the formation of the nation-state, on the other hand, resulted in the establishment of a monopoly of capital and power over science during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Science became an integral part of capital and power. This situation, which had already developed during the history of civilization to the detriment of moral and political society, peaked with European modernity.
Eurocentric scientific paradigms had long been detached from society. Those dealing with knowledge and science had predominantly adopted the perspective of capital and power. Moral and political society had already been discredited. This process only escalated with the defeat of the Church. Science, whose main concern was no longer moral and political society, had no other area of engagement aside from being locked into the objectives of capital and the state. At the same time as science began to produce capital and power, capital and power were appropriating science. The severing of all ties between science and morality and politics threw the door wide open for war, conflicts, battles, and all types of exploitation. Indeed, the history of Europe became the history of the most intense wars. The role cast to science was now to focus on inventing the perfect instruments of war to ensure victory. The rapid increase in the production of instruments of war resulted in a nuclear arms race. In a society where the rules of moral and political society were still intact, never mind nuclear weapons, there would be no reason to even invent a popgun, and if one were invented it would never be used against society.
The collapse of morality is the most important factor for the onset of war. The severing of the ties between science and morality provided the foundation for the invention of all sorts of destructive instruments. It is unthinkable that this relationship between science and power and society would not be echoed in the fundamental paradigm and method. Removing society from this relationship also meant its objectification, much like the objectification of women and slaves that preceded it. Then the subject-object distinction that began with Francis Bacon and René Descartes was transferred to all sciences. Being objective in scientific studies is highly praised, but the fact is that the door to the greatest of catastrophes was opened by this sharp subject-object distinction, which was later deepened by the self-other distinction, with both eventually transforming into destructive dialectical poles. These contradictions are certainly a reflection of the separation and contradiction between moral and political society and capital and power. The reduction of nature to an object, followed by a similar objectification of women and slaves, and finally of the entire society, emerged as the much revered “objectivity rule” that is still widely applied in science. The former god-servant relationship was transformed into the subject-object relationship. The earlier understanding of “a living nature” was replaced by “nature as a dead object,” with the “human as the divine subject.”
These paradigmatic approaches had a devastating impact on science, the social sciences in particular. For example, physicists who base themselves on physical nature, which is entirely objective, believe that they have the freedom to conduct unlimited experiments and dispose of nature as they wish. They feel they are free to do anything from nuclear tests to setting in motion all types of technological development. They feel no moral qualms about any of this. This objectifying approach to nature creates the conditions for the unlimited use of and disposal of any material, leading in the extreme to developments like the atomic bomb. When divine science becomes instrumental science it ceases to have any connection to society; in the hands of power and capital it becomes a tool dependent on the law of maximum profit. At the outset, physics appears completely neutral and deals with objective nature. However, in its essence, it is clearly one of the main sources of strength for power and capital. Were this not the case, the science of physics would not be able to maintain its current status. The fact that it has turned into an anti-society force tells us that it is not the neutral and objective science it claims to be. The power relations called the laws of physics are in the final analysis nothing more than a reflection of human power. We know, on the other hand, that the human being is a social being in the absolute sense.
When we make sense of positivist philosophy, which has left its mark on the entire scientific structure of modernity, we can better expose the penetralia of the relationship between civilization, power, and science. We know that positivist philosophy acts on the basis of absolute objective facts, not allowing for any other scientific approach. If we take a closer look it becomes clear that science, as the study of the relationship between objects, is a lot more idolatrous and metaphysical than all of the ancient idol worship practices and the various metaphysical forces. Briefly touching on historical dialectics will make the issue clearer. Just as the monotheistic religions emerged and shaped themselves on the basis of a criticism of paganism (in a way, idolatry is the religion of the deification of facts), positivism also emerged as a counterattack and, in a way, as a new idolatry. Will to truth, based on the critique of religion and metaphysics, has been shaped as neo-metaphysics, the new idolatry (will to truth based on facts is definitely neo-paganism).2 Friedrich Nietzsche was one of the first philosophers to identify this reality, and his analysis made significant contributions to the study of truth. It is of great importance to identify the concept of so-called objective fact as far removed from truth. Facts on their own do not provide us with any meaningful information about the truth, and when they do they bring with it the most erroneous of outcomes.
Earlier we said that if facts do not find meaning in the context of their complex connections, they either provide no information or lead to the most erroneous of outcomes. Let’s put the facts of physics, chemistry, and biology to one side, focus on one social fact, and take a close-up look at the actual outcomes. From the point of view of positivism, the nation-state is a fact. Each of the elements that constitute it is also a fact. Each of the thousands of institutions and of the millions of people is also a fact. When we include the relationships between them, we complete the picture. According to positivism, we have thus formed a scientific concept. We now face an absolute truth: the truth of the nation-state! Positivism does not view this definition as an interpretation but as a fact of absolute truth. It takes the same approach to all other sociological facts. Just as with the facts of physics, chemistry, and biology, each of these is also a fact. This is positivism’s definition of truth. We witnessed with dismay that while this approach was seemingly innocent and appeared to pose no danger, we have now seen its role in ethnic cleansing and genocide and know this is not the case. All leaders of nation-states, from Hitler to the most moderate, would say that their actions are perfectly correct from a (positivist) scientific point of view, that they are purifying the realities of their nation and creating a more homogeneous nation is not only their right but also in line with the laws of evolution. They are telling the truth based on the science they use. This power is given to them by positivist philosophy and sciences. As a matter of fact, it was during the period of capitalist modernity that, in keeping with this positivist approach, there were countless wars in the name of the homeland, the nation, the state, ethnicity, ideology, and the system. Because all these concepts were sacred, it was necessary to fight to the end. This way of seeing things made history a bloodbath. This was the grin on the bloody face of a seemingly innocent positivism.
Let’s dig a little deeper into this. At present there are about two hundred nation-states in the world. If all of the abovementioned institutions and their citizen masses and relationships and these states confront one another, inevitably, a new kind of order or chaos of at least two hundred or more gods with thousands of temples and an unlimited number of sects will rise, because the facts that each of them represent are seen as sacred and worth dying for. It is important to note that there is absolutely no mention of the moral and political society that reflects the real social nature, even in name. If there is a reality worth dying for in the event of attack, it is the reality of moral and political society. In the nation-state, on the other hand, everyone fights in the name of the fact idols that they themselves created or that others created and placed before them. We face a period of wars for idols a thousandfold more horrifying than anything previous. The result is the operation of the law of maximum profit of the capital and nation-state monopolies, providing a happy minority with benefits more opulent than anything the pharaohs ever had. What is called modern life is, in fact, nothing but the consequences of the reality of positivism, or, put another way, positivism’s murdering of reality. We have now reached the age of the virtual society; no other reality can explain positivism better than virtual society. A positivist society is a virtual society. Virtual society is the real face of positivist society. Moreover, it is truth itself. The meaninglessness of facts (here, meaninglessness should be understood in the sense of the bloodbaths, imaginary society, and consumer society) peaks with virtual society. Media-oriented societies, societies of the spectacle, magazine-driven societies are the unveiled truth of objective understanding, i.e., of positivism. This is, in fact, the negation of truth.
We could extend this list, with similar results, without the need for further investigation. Terms like Islamic, Christian, Mosaic, Buddhist, capitalist, socialist, feudal, and slave-owning society are realities that are the product of this approach, and here the metaphysical face of positivism is also clearly present. And, yes, the labeling as Islamic society and capitalist society are the result of the same approach. These are factual terms; in other words, they are terms related to ascription, the image. The same can be said about the sense of belonging to a nation. Terms like German, French, Arab, Turkish, and Kurdish nations are truths with a positivist character. However, in essence, they are only the faint images of truth. We might ask: “What is the reality—the truth?” I think the answer is simple. There is the truth of moral and political society, which is a natural part of the reality of society, and there is the truth of civilization, which constantly seeks to erode society. I am not saying that nothing outside of this represents reality. What I am saying is that this represents the image and its simple and frequently changing form not the essence.
For example, let’s look at the reality of the Arab nation. Being an Arab means very little beyond the reality of a society that has a moral and political character—even though it is considerably weakened—in a place called Arabia, where the power that became an authority over society for thousands of years has today brought it to the brink of collapse. There are thousands of different types of Arab people, some in contradiction with one another, some even enemies. This means thousands of contradictory truths! According to positivism, this is how it should be. But we know very well that this is not the essence of Arab reality.
A better example might be the trees. A tree, as a fact, has thousands of branches and innumerable leaves. A tree is, however, only valued if it produces a known and desired product, not on the basis of its branches and leaves. Positivism is the blindness of giving everything equal weight. Of course, the branches and the leaves are realities too, but they are not the meaningful reality. A bunch of grapes, say a kilo, has a value, a meaning, but a leaf has only an image, something that does not reflect its essence—a positivistic reality that only gives it a visual form.
The main reason for the scientific crisis is the drowning of the sciences in facts and the emergence of a new scientific discipline every day, with each regarding itself as a truth of the same magnitude as all others. Earlier we identified the connection of this crisis to the system. Truth is being fragmented into ever deeper opposing pairs, including subject-object, self-other, body-spirit, religion-science, mythology-philosophy, god-servant, oppressed-oppressor, and ruler-ruled. This is essentially the result of the erosion and colonization of moral and political society by the civilizational monopoly networks established upon it. Capitalist modernity has infinitely replicated and deepened this dichotomy of civilization, bringing society to our present point of disintegration and decay. The collaborationist science of the system plays a great role in all of this. The crisis becomes apparent when the contradiction between ideological essence and instrumental structuring reaches an agonizing juncture; through unemployment, war, hunger and poverty, oppression and genocide, inequality and lack of freedom, it transforms itself into screams in the flesh and souls of the overwhelming multitudes.
I feel the need to say a little more to ensure that my criticism of positivism is not misunderstood. First, I am not saying that facts have no value, or that they do not have any connection to reality. What I am saying is that their value is limited and so is their connection to reality. When this is taken to the philosophical level, I am saying that positivism will result in major shortcomings, as the European system of thought makes quite clear. A second misunderstanding could lead to the criticism that I have slipped into a kind of Platonism. This might be the response to the previous example of a tree, where I said that essence is decisive. My point was not the idea of a tree. I was trying to describe the reality that a tree embodies for society. I am also not presenting a utilitarian approach. All I am saying is that a tree’s reality must be determined by moral and political society. A tree may be very useful to an individual or a group, but if moral and political society does not construe it as such, then it does not have any true beneficial value.
Liberalism wants us to adopt a philosophy that says, “Individuals as philosophers, scientists, soldiers, politicians, capitalists, etc. will find whatever is true and live according to that,” but I criticize this as most definitely immoral and apolitical society. I think this is the greatest ideology of demoralization and depoliticization to arise during the history of civilization, one that the capitalist system is trying to sell to the whole of society, or, more precisely, it is the contemporary mythological narrative sheathed within modernism that society is made to adopt through propaganda.
In that case, the question or problem that will prove more important is: Where and how can we find the truth? I would like to answer by recalling a very simple rule: you can find something only by looking for it where you lost it. You will not find it anywhere else, even if you look the world over, because the method is wrong. The method of looking anywhere other than where it was lost is just a waste of time and energy. I see our era’s search for the truth in this light. Despite the daunting research laboratories and funding, the facts uncovered are laden with crisis and pain. It is clear that this cannot be the truth humanity is pursuing. My response is to emphasize what I have already said: the truth can only be social. When moral and political society is eroded and subjected to the strict domination of the exploitation and power monopoly during the process of civilization, social truth is lost. Whatever has been lost was lost along with moral and political values. If you want to recover them you have to look for them where you lost them. You must look for and find moral and political society and its reality, as opposed to civilization and modernity. However, you cannot be content with this alone, you must also rebuild its existence, which has been transformed beyond recognition. Once you have done this, you will find that bit by bit you can recover the golden valued truth that you lost throughout history. You will thus be much happier, and you will understand that the only way this can be done is through a moral and political society.
As we reorganize the intellectual area, based on criticism and at the level of principles, I would like to present some of my suggestions regarding the tasks:
a) Intellectual efforts—studies of knowledge and science—should be developed within the scope of moral and political society, social nature’s fundamental form of existence. The reality of moral and political society, which we have increasingly been severed from, has been gradually eroded throughout the history of civilization and has been completely fragmented, left to decay, and brought to the brink of extinction during the modern age shaped by capitalism.
b) Therefore, intellectual efforts, studies of knowledge, and science must first and foremost aim to stop this course. Because there can be no science of something that has been destroyed. There may be memories of it, but memory is not science. Science is about things that exist and are alive. If under such conditions a society does not wish to be completely annihilated, then it and all of its constituents must resist capitalistic modernity. Resistance is now on the same plane as existence and identical with it. If intellectuals want to live with the dignity of genuine researchers—not viewing intellectualism as intellectual capital or as doing donkey work—then they must inevitably resist in all their endeavors, and the elements of their research should have the dimensions of resistance. In this sense both the intellectuals and their science must adopt an attitude of resistance. Anything else would be self-deception or disguising an essentially capital or load donkey identity.
c) The science to be developed must foremost be organized as a “social science.” Social science must be accepted as the mother goddess of all sciences. Neither the sciences related to first nature (physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology) nor human knowledge sciences related to second nature (literature, philosophy, the arts, economy, etc.) can play that leading role; they cannot establish a meaningful bond with truth. Only if these two areas can successfully establish a bond with the social sciences can they gain a share of the truth.
d) Social science should base its studies on moral and political society, which is its main topic, not as an object or duality deeply entrenched in human perception and widely separated, such as subject-object, us-other, body-spirit, god-servant, or dead-alive, but using a method that overcomes these dualities. Differentiation, a way of life for the universe, is also valid in social nature and is an attribute that can be found to be more flexible, freer, and more concentrated. But to carry this differentiation to the level of the subject-object distinction, which has been made the foundation of all the ideological structures of civilization and modernity, would most definitely come to mean fragmentation and the loss of both universal and social truth.
e) We cannot develop a meaningful social science paradigm (a radical anti-civilizational philosophy of science) unless we throw positivism—which is the general philosophy of this objectivity that science in general and social science in particular emerged from, and which reached its peak in European modernity—into the dustbin of history on the basis of a thoroughgoing criticism. Even though it is highly fragmented, and there is a danger of loss of truth, it is essential to understand and absorb the constructive achievements and parts of truth revealed by Eurocentric science in general and the social sciences in particular. While it is imperative that positivism be criticized and overcome, it is also important that any truth it has exposed be adopted. In the exploration of truth, wholesale anti-Europeanism can lead to outcomes that are just as negative as those resulting from the wholesale adoption of Europeanism.
f) Although the exploration of truth called postmodernism criticizes positivism and rejects Eurocentric social sciences, this approach is easily liberally twisted and can be readily shaped into an anti-Europeanism that is more significantly anti-truth. Postmodern quests that take advantage of the crisis of the social sciences shouldn’t be totally rejected but should be approached very critically. Just as the universalist progressive linear method and perspective of modernist positivism leads astray, the excessively relativist cyclical method of many postmodernists is open to similar deviations. To not drift to these extremes, it is necessary to absorb and adhere to the fundamental principles that we are attempting to outline here. The crisis-ridden atmosphere creates a situation that would allow almost anyone to seek their own path to the truth, which in itself can distort the exploration of truth in many ways.
g) Our main method of researching truth can neither be positivist objectivism nor relativist subjectivism. They are essentially two faces of liberalism, and, by combining them, it produces an abundance of methods, which it in turn uses to create intellectual capital and load donkeys. The most effective way to preclude truth is with this abundance of methods. This in turn means that by combining the objective and subjective methods you produce as many methods as there are individuals. It is important not to be deceived by this abundance of methods, which act to depreciate truth. There is no doubt that there are both subjective and objective aspects to reality. Consciousness, truth, in the final analysis, denotes the convergence of the observer and the observed (I am not talking about them becoming one and the same; it would be better to understand them as becoming identical). The greater the depth and focus attained in relation to this issue, the more parts of the truth will be revealed. In this case, the observer is not a subject and the observed is not an object. Rather, the two, approaching each other, do not become one but undergo a process of identification. The process in which truth is maximized is the process that engenders the opportunity of identification. For now, I will define the question of method as I have without giving it a name. Of course, we should never, anywhere or anytime, ignore the fact that the main unit observing and being observed is moral and political society.
h) The primary research centers cannot be the official institutions of civilization and modernity, foremost the universities. Whether in the past or in the present, tying science to power and producing it in official state institutions means the loss of its bond with truth. Severing the bond of science with moral and political society and not allowing it to be of use to society helps the development of oppressive and exploitative monopolies ruling atop society. Just as a woman who is confined to a private home or a brothel loses her free reality and truth, the intellectuals and sciences confined to official institutions lose their freedom and genuine identity. This does not mean that no intellectuals can arise in these institutions, or that science cannot be developed. The thing we need to understand is that when the intellectual and science become power-centered they detach from their purpose, research and invention in the service of social reality. The existence of exceptions—encountering a genuine intellectual or the discovery of a work with scientific value—does not change the overall reality.
i) An institutional revolution, i.e., restructuring, is essential for the social sciences. Just as during the Greek-Ionian Enlightenment, independent philosophical and scientific academies were formed, and during the medieval period, khanqahs, dargahs,3 and monasteries played a similar role within Islamic and Christian traditions, just as the European Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment movements were all intellectual and scientific revolutions, we now need similar revolutions to exit the present crisis. The four-hundred-year-old ideological hegemony of modernity is as profound and continuous as its hegemony over material culture and cannot overcome the crisis. Without the intervention of democratic modernity in content and form, it is inevitable that the crisis will play an increasingly corrosive and degenerative role. There is a rich intellectual and scientific legacy that extends from the utopian socialists to the scientific socialists, from the anarchists to the Frankfurt School, from the French philosophy of the second half of the twentieth century to 1968 youth culture revolution, and finally to the postmodernist, feminist, and ecological movements that emerged in the 1990s. Democratic modernity has to make its own intellectual and scientific revolution by absorbing the positive aspects of the intellectual sparks and revolutions of the civilization period, as well as of the anti-modernity intellectual breakthroughs.
Institutionalization is one of the conditions of this revolution. For success on a global scale, the intellectual revolution needs a new institutional center based on the lessons learned from the historical experiences we have raised. To address this need, a World Confederation of Culture and Academies could be built. Such a confederation should be built at a free geographical location and should not be attached to any nation-state or ruling power but should be formed on the basis of opposition to capital monopolies. Furthermore, it is essential that the confederation be independent and autonomous. Every local, regional, and national academy would be free to participate on a voluntary basis and in accordance with the principles of its program, organization, and action. This confederation could establish institutions with tasks at the local, regional, national, and continental levels.
j) Democratic politics and culture academies may be the appropriate institutions for this task. These academies could provide the intellectual and scientific support that is necessary for moral and political society units to restructure themselves. Rather than imitating the official and private monopoly institutions, they should construct themselves in original ways. Imitating the institutions of modernity could well lead to failure. These academies should be autonomous and democratic, form their own program and cadres, and base themselves on the principle of their members being both voluntary students and voluntary teachers. It is quite easy to imagine that to begin with the positions of teacher and student will be readily interchangeable. From a shepherd in the mountains to a professor in the city, anyone who has an idea and a purpose should be able to contribute. Academies primarily for women might also prove appropriate, to allow for the scientific treatment of the unique aspects of women’s reality, while still having content similar to that of other academies. To avoid remaining purely theoretical, the participation of women in every aspect of the implementation would be a sought-after quality. Academies would be established and run in response to practical needs, whenever and wherever they might arise. As seen in numerous historical examples (the fire temples of Zarathustra on mountaintops,4 Plato and Aristotle’s gardens, the pavements of Socrates and the Stoics, medieval monasteries and khanqahs), these would be simple and voluntary establishments. From a mountaintop to a neighborhood corner, any place can be chosen as the site for such an establishment—we do not seek buildings that prove the grandeur of their rulers. As is the case in monasteries and civilian madrassas, the duration of education would be determined by the level and the number of the participants. There is no need to determine the exact duration for education, as official institutions do, but, of course, it cannot be completely without form or rules. It must have its own ethical and esthetic rules.
When rebuilding the units of democratic modernity, intellectual and scientific contributions will be necessary. It is clear that this requirement cannot be met by the intellectual capital available on the market. Such a need can only be met by the cadres and science that come from these new academies.
This short assessment and my proposed principles regarding the scope of intellectual tasks necessary for a solution are nothing more than recommendations requiring further debate. The crisis conditions can only be positively overcome on the basis of new intellectual and scientific breakthroughs. Since the crisis in question is global, systematic, and structural, finding the way out also requires global, systematic, and structural interventions. Numerous revolutionary experiences teach us that we cannot get anywhere by imitating former patterns, institutions, and science or by using an eclectic approach.
One of the foremost lessons to be learned from the past is that rebuilding democratic modernity must be accompanied by a revolution of radical enlightenment. At the same time, I must emphasize that the past is the present. In particular, we should not ignore the fact that Neolithic society, agrarian-village communities, nomadism, tribes, and aşirets, as well as religious communities, still persist. We have not spoken much about the overall history of moral and political society, social nature’s main form of existence. However, to regain the values that have been lost by five thousand years of capital accumulation and power monopolies and rebuild democratic modernity, revolutionary intellectual and scientific production shall constitute the much-needed support. To meet these absolutely essential needs, it is more important than ever to focus on our intellectual tasks and intensify our analytical efforts and find solutions.
1 This is likely a reference to the following statement: “After Auschwitz there is no word tinged from on high, not even a theological one, that has any right unless it underwent a transformation.” Theodor Adorno, Negative Dialectics, (London: Routledge, 1973), 367.
2 For a detailed discussion of the will to truth, see Friedrich Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morality (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994 ); “However, the compulsion towards it, that unconditional will to truth, is faith in the ascetic ideal itself, even if, as an unconscious imperative, make no mistake about it, – it is the faith in a metaphysical value, a value as such of truth as vouched for and confirmed by that ideal alone (it stands and falls by that ideal). Strictly speaking, there is no ‘presuppositionless’ knowledge, the thought of such a thing is unthinkable, paralogical: a philosophy, a ‘faith’ always has to be there first, for knowledge to win from it a direction, a meaning, a limit, a method, a right to exist. (Whoever understands it the other way round and, for example, tries to place philosophy ‘on a strictly scientific foundation,’ must first stand on its head not just philosophy, but also truth itself.)”
3 Tekke, khanqah, and maqam are the Turkish, Farsi, and Arabic names of buildings used for the gatherings of a Sufi brotherhood, or tariqa. Dargah are the shrines of Sufi saints.
5 Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1999 ).
6 In fact, zendik is related to words like gnosis, know, and narrate via the proto-Indo-European root *gno, meaning to know.
7 Cemevi is house of gathering in Turkish.
8 This probably refers to Zeynep Kınacı (Zîlan) whose political accurate analysis and courageous action made her a role model for the Kurdish women’s movement.