One's personality is both a composition and reflection, but if I have to choose one of them, I will choose reflection as the "self" is more important to me than "me". One's composition may change, walking across the cultural landscapes and climbing the social ladder but one's self is tied to one's reflections. The fun part is that reflections are not bound to "Time-Space" barriers ( it is not time-space) and respective mental constructs, which have grown so thick over ages, that they had reduced the image of humans to Sisyphus, rolling different sizes of boulders on hills of different heights.… As the name of this Blog indicates, knols are my perspectives on topics of interests, sweet/bitter experiences or just doodling :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Crisis of “self” under terror

“Self” is complement of essence and existence. But whenever one part that is threatened, the “self” become a topic of importance. The part that is most vulnerable is “existence”. Certainly death is a fact and no one has a escape from it but natural death give enough time for existence to express the essence or look for essence. However, if the death is unnatural, early and sudden as it occurs to people who are victim of terrorism then “self” is questioned or “self” come under crisis.

When I look back to modern and post modern period which had presented serious challenges to “self”, I found the “self” in the same crisis as we are facing right now. They failed to find an answer and so are we. When it comes to life, everybody speaks but when it comes to death, everybody is silent.

For thousands of years, the “self” was under authority of religion. The only thing that was meaningful was “essence” or what is commonly well understood or commonly used equivalents were, “soul” or “life after death”. The renaissance provided an alternative way to express “self” and that was mastering the nature. Science replaced miracles. Human could interfere in natural processes through their inventions and discoveries, what were believed the whole domain of heavenly forces.

Because men got their new capabilities through inventions and science, Science became a decisive force in giving meaning to “self”. Only progress seemed real and nothing else. “Self” was divided into two categories of “traditional” and “progressive”. The “progressive” selves colonized “traditional” selves and colonization was justified based on the concept of “survival of fittest” one the mechanism of Darwinian Evolution.

The gaps between two “selves” caused a revolt. Communism or socialism asked a creation of a new men and equality in society. Because progress was a dominant factor, so it was believed that equality may be brought through denial of “self” for “selves” or a sacrifice of self for selves. It didn’t work well because every “self” is unique and killing their uniqueness doesn’t work.

The first time the human “self” becoming evident strongly was during WWII when the concept of “progress” shattered off. Human “progress” becomes a devil that were eating human indiscriminately and both “progressive” and “traditional” selves become victim. It was first time that human become victim of their progress, globally.

Whenever, death appear boldly and terror rule, human starts thinking seriously about “self”, “meaning” and “purpose of life”. Massive deaths and losses during WWII brought again the question of “self” but because modern men have already revolted against religion so there were no place for religious explanation however they, themselves also couldn’t find any meaning – When there is no meaning then it is called meaninglessness.

Because meaninglessness was the only truth to modern men so the “self” could get meaning only through experience. It is why “essence precedes existence” turned to become “existence precedes essence” and existentialism born (It was in womb for long).

Existentialist thinking put modern men towards two ways, “fun centered life” and “suicide”. “Fun” and “progress” require peace. Post 9/11 world is no more post modern world where “fun” and “progress” filled the space that “meaninglessness” has created. Terror has torn down peace that requires for fun and progress.

Death has once again become evident and once again the question of “self” got importance (though not directly in philosophical circles). Self had only two elements, “essence” and “existence”. The “essence” has already crossed and “existence” could be crossed any time and at any place by terror and in this situation, I don’t know what is, “self”? As both religious and liberals are moving towards irreversible radicalization, it seems that the only truth in post 9/11 world is “Fear”.

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