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Aram is a first-time guest at Kedis­tan, with an arti­cle to make us think about the rush and the haste that cut our lives short…

Corona isn’t what will kill us, haste will…

I wrote my first press arti­cle inspired by a pho­to that had touched me deeply. Look­ing back on it and re-read­ing my arti­cle, I real­ized how dis­or­der­ly it was and writ­ten in so much haste. When I ask myself about the rea­sons for such haste, I find a few main ones. I think one of them is the enthu­si­asm of writ­ing my first arti­cle, and that is a tru­ly fine rea­son. Because, for me, enthu­si­asm is an impor­tant sign that I am alive. To be exalt­ed, pas­sion­ate, filled with desire are symp­toms of life, if I may say so. Anoth­er rea­son being that, gen­er­al­ly, I tend to focus on the top­ic more than on the words. When speak­ing, it is not a prob­lem if you don’t wor­ry about words, busy in pur­su­ing a dia­logue. You can always retrace your steps, repeat, explain. But in writ­ing, you only get one chance and you must use it well by choos­ing the right words. In writ­ing, words are your shel­ters, the absence of ges­tures and facial move­ments being com­pen­sat­ed by the weight of words.

The two rea­sons men­tioned above are very per­son­al. I don’t feel the need to talk about them fur­ther – or I will do so by myself. But I think we have to talk about speed. Being rapid, liv­ing fast, or being forced to live quick­ly, cre­ates a dizzy­ing sit­u­a­tion and most of us suf­fer from it. I thought I would write down a few words on this top­ic and now is the time to do so.

The top­ic of coro­na has often been dis­cussed with two dif­fer­ent class­es, the bour­geois and the work­ers. In gen­er­al, my inter­est goes to the inter­me­di­ate class­es, those stuck in the mid­dle. Being caught between two fires always strikes me as dan­ger­ous. So I would like to talk about a third class, that ruled by “haste”.

As far as can be seen on social media and around me, those who are cur­rent­ly iso­lat­ed at home (or who are lucky enough to do so) seem ill at ease. To tell the truth, this strikes me as odd, for in an era where haste has become a lifestyle, that fact that iso­la­tion, quiet­ness, is dis­turb­ing, rais­es ques­tions in me.

Video, Emre M. Istanbul, 2020

A mod­ern human being, used to crowds, to the rushed tur­moil in which he lives fran­ti­cal­ly, find­ing him­self sud­den­ly alone with him­self, enters a peri­od of shock. For those who have nev­er been alone, who have nev­er attempt­ed to under­stand them­selves or who have nev­er found the time to do so, this a a kind of tor­ture. The fact that venues cho­sen for social­iz­ing are spaces that don’t allow exchanges but rather places filled with noise is a sign. This may be an uncon­scious choice for a con­tem­po­rary human, in order to for­get him­self. It may be because of the wor­ry caused by the lack of haste, by intol­er­ance for one’s self, or because one is not the per­son one is forced to be.

Niet­zsche said that in order to get on with our lives we work with more moti­va­tion than nec­es­sary and with­out think­ing, for it is even more impor­tant not to have time to set­tle down and think. Haste is uni­ver­sal because every­one is busy attempt­ing to flee their own self. 1

This leads to a lack of under­stand­ing, a loss of mean­ing and incom­pe­tence. In Eng­lish the root of the word “under­stand” comes from the notion of “stop­ping”. Stop­ping in order to think, lead­ing to “under­stand­ing”. The result of con­stant move­ment with­out thought, of con­stant­ly being in flux can only be quan­ti­ta­tive, it can­not go beyond num­bers and units of mea­sure­ment, it can­not become qualitative.

Per­haps we can remain stand­ing dur­ing the peri­od we are going through, thanks to small con­tri­bu­tions. Build­ing a shel­ter for birds on our win­dow sill, offer­ing a bowl of kib­bles to street ani­mals. We can be in sol­i­dar­i­ty with small groups of peo­ple, less for­tu­nate than we are.

We must give our­selves a chance to move clos­er to our own selves. It is an oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn how to spend some time with one’s self, and to “stop” in order to hear our own voice. Let’s take Edgar Mor­in’s advice when he says we should take advan­tage of this peri­od in order to think about our link with the world and wast­ed liv­ing time. He reminds us that the mean­ing of life is friend­ship, love and solidarity.

In one of his poems Özdemir Asaf said: “Life is not what will kill us, but this haste will.”

With the hope of not get­ting caught by the coro­n­avirus, nor by haste.

In sol­i­dar­i­ty


Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges – iknowiknowiknowblog.wordpress.com
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