The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting. Milan Kundera.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Bugün otoyolda sol şeritte gidiyoruz, tabii ki lambalar yanmıyor, yol zifiri karanlık. Yine aynı şey geldi aklıma - şoförü içip içip otoyola ters yönden giren, farları bile yanmayan kamyonla çarpışıp ölen gazeteciler. Kamyonu çarpana kadar görmemişlerdir bile belki. Kader, dedim kendi kendime, herhangi birinin karşısına çıkabilirdi o kamyon. O kadar tesadüfi ki her şey, pamuk ipliğine bağlı.
Ama sonra anladım ki, o kamyonla kimin karşılaşacağı kader de, o kamyonun şoförünün içmesi, zifiri karanlık yola ters yönden girmesi kader değil. Buralarda kader denen bir çok şeyin bir sorumlusu var, insanların hayatı boşu boşuna sönüyor, engellenebilecek şeyler yüzünden. Bu anlamsızlığa, bu haksızlığa dayanmak mümkün olmadığı için, biraz rahatlayabilmek, nefes alabilmek için kadere atıyoruz sorumluluğu. Karşımızda sorumluluğu alacak bir muhatap bulamadığımız, bulamayacağımız için. Pek çok şeyin sorumlusunun kader olduğu yerlerde hayat ucuzluyor.
I started reading Elif Şafak's Siyah Süt. The book didn't seem very interesting at first, it's about post-partum depression, what's that got to do with me? When I read further, though, I realized it's not only for women who just had a baby or planning to have one - it has much more to it.
Then I realized people we meet are just like books. Maybe we are attracted to the cover or something we heard about them, but then once we start reading them, we may realize they are not what they seemed like, what we expected - the first pages are complicated, they are not that interesting, they don't draw us in. Maybe we decide they are not for us. We put them away.
Just like books, people we put out of sight can't do much to convince us to pick them up again, until we are ready, until we make up our minds for it. But then, people are capable of doing one thing that books aren't able to: They change, they move on. We can't resume reading them from where we left off.
Friday, December 28, 2007
The assassination of Benazir Bhutto is likely to be a serious setback to democratization and secularization efforts in Pakistan. Bhutto's return to Pakistan was reportedly supported by the U.S. to conduce President Pervez Musharraf into a more civilian, legitimate rule and a power-sharing arrangement. Bhutto's party was likely to come out first in the upcoming elections in January. It is not clear whether these elections will still be held.
Many think radical Islamists are to blame. Al Qaeda has already assumed responsibility. The country has been fighting the Islamist militants in Waziristan, the northwest area bordering Afghanistan. During the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, Taliban and Al Qaeda militants have reportedly crossed the border into Pakistan, starting an insurgency in the tribal area. The conflict in the region has escalated following the Lal Masjid siege in July.
Radical Islamist groups seem to have much to gain from the assassination: Not only would such an attack eliminate a secularist politician with a strong backing, but it would also put President Musharraf in a difficult position. Musharraf is already much disliked by radical Islamists for supporting the U.S. in the war against terror. Now he is also accused by Bhutto supporters for not doing enough to ensure her security. He will have difficulty controlling the resulting instability.
Al Qaeda, however, is not the only suspect. When Bhutto's bus and supporters were attacked in Karachi upon her return in October, Bhutto herself pointed to radical Islamist intelligence officials and politicians as suspects. Members of Pakistani intelligence agencies have long been suspected to frequent the Lal Masjid in Islamabad, known for its radical agenda and teachings, and home to the recent bloody siege.
One can draw parallels between Turkey and Pakistan, but there are also differences. Both countries have immature democracies influenced by the military, although the problem is more acute in Pakistan. In both cases, the state has rogue, criminal elements within. Both countries face continuous conflict between secularists and Islamists. The insurgencies have different justifications (ethnical in Turkey and religious in Pakistan), and although the instability in neighbouring countries contribute to them, the insurgencies actually reflect deeper divides within these countries.
American policies in Afghanistan and the Middle East are part of the reason of the clashes in the region today. Even Bhutto herself is said to initially view Taliban in a positive light, hoping that they will bring stability to Afghanistan.
The assassination is tragic for Pakistan and on a personal level. There is something naive, idealistic about Bhutto's decision to return to Pakistan. She could have well stayed in Dubai with her family, enjoying the riches she is claimed to have gained from corruption. Although her father and brothers were killed -maybe because of that- she returned. Maybe she liked the love and attention she received from her supporters, she liked her heroine status. Maybe she genuinely believed that she could make a difference, that it was her calling. In any case, I really respect and admire her decision to return under such risky circumstances, and it saddens me to see the story end like this, the evil triumph. (I started to sound like Bush but this is how I feel!)
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
"of course as you're looking in the rear mirror life goes on." - Levent Abi, my driving instructor, reminding me to check the road again
The food arrived. Bose made a valiant effort to retract and start over:
"Just found a new cook myself," he said. "That Sheru kicked the bucket after thirty years of service. The new one is untrained, but he came cheap because of that. I got out the recipe books and read them aloud as he copied it all down in Bengali. 'Look,' I told him, 'keep it basic, nothing fancy. Just learn a brown sauce and a white sauce-shove the bloody white sauce on the fish and shove the bloody brown sauce on the mutton."
But he couldn't manage to keep this up.
He now pleaded directly with the judge: "We're friends, aren't we?"
"Aren't we? Aren't we friends?"
"Time passes, things change," said the judge, feeling claustrophobia and emberrassment.
"But what is in the past remains unchanged, doesn't it?"
"I think it does change. The present changes the past. Looking back you do not find what you left behind, Bose." The Inheritance of Loss, page 207, 208
They are preparing a new room for the antique watches and clocks in the British Museum, and they put them in a temporary room until then. I got to see them last weekend, and I wondered, once again, how people came up with the concept of time, and how to measure it. Once I read somewhere that time is the fourth dimension, but I didn't quite get it. Now I grasp it better - let's say we have a room, with its length, width, depth. But the room is not the same from one second to the next. People enter, leave, relocate objects. The room changes, it moves away from the origin. We have frames following one another, each different from one another, like in a movie.
People must have noticed the change, the movement, and they called it time. The movement of stars, planets, earth, changing of coordinates, not being able to find something where you left it, finding something else. One of the clocks had a mechanism that portrayed exactly that - a small ball rolled along a curvy belt, and when it reached the end of it, it pulled a spring that pulled the wheels and turned them ever so slightly - then the plate with the belt slanted backwards and the ball started rolling again. Apparently it took 30 seconds for the ball to get from one end to the other.
We say it takes a certain time to go a certain distance. The opposite might be true, too - when time passes, people and objects move. We might as well assume that as time goes by, the further away from the origin we can expect to find things.
This doesn't say anything definitive about objects' positions relative to each other, though. The passage of time doesn't necessarily mean we'll travel further and further away. The opposite may also be the case. That only time can tell.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
yağmur yağar akasyalar ıslanır
ben yağmura deli buluta deli
bir büyük oyun bu yaşamak dediğin
beni ya sevmeli ya öldürmeli
yitirmeli ne varsa
bu Allahsız bu yağmur
yan yürek yan
gitti giden gitti giden
yitirmeli ne varsa
sana büyük caddelerin birinde rastlasam
elimi uzatsam tutsam götürsem
gözlerine baksam gözlerine
konuşmasak ah anlasan
elimi uzatsam tutamasam
olanca sevgimi yalnızlığımı
düşünsem hayır hayır düşünmesem
senin hiç hiç hiç haberin olmasa
Monday, December 17, 2007
"I don't know if you earn good fortune, but I think I've been pretty healthy about exploiting it when I had it, not kicking myself in the ass over it. I don't feel guilty because I'm fortunate. That's a waste."
"Don't waste hate on anything you don't love. This particular lady once told me, 'I never fight with anybody I don't love.' And you can't, anyway."
"Now this is a tough truth, but it's a truth: The men climbed on and over them to live. It's scary. I can't conceive it. But this is a fact. No matter what you may think about yourself, you're this."
"The real fear I have to overcome, actually, is the fear of the unknown. We're very uncomfortable with the unknown, and that's why we tend to cling to the status quo, to structure, to relationships - to just cling. You start off today and every day by trying to overcome fear with clarity. If you have clarity, it'll give you a position of power, the ability to act on your best instincts. I once put it this way in a comedy film: Where there's clarity, there is no choice. Where there's choice, there's misery."
"To be celebrated is uncomfortable, for men in particular. Because you don't have the choice of not being celebrated."
"For years I carried in my wallet this clipping from the Newark Star-Ledger that my mother gave me as a kid. It was the Comic Dictionary definition of a smart aleck: 'A smart aleck is the person who doesn't know that it's what he learns after he knows it all that counts.'... I carried that forever as a cautionary reminder, because I had to learn how to talk less forcefully, not hurl everything I had at somebody and feel like I had to win every argument. The truth is, I'm against nobody. My newest motto is: Everything in addition to; nothing against."
"But life - it'll make you suspicious of love, there's no doubt about that."
"We know the woman's actual cycle of infatuation is nine months; this is not psychological but in her genetic makeup. And your corresponding cycle, or sexual cycle, whatever you want to call it, is 20 minutes? An hour? We have more in common with a male dog than we do with a woman in this department."
"It's a false concept, the escape: 'I'm going to New York. I'm going to leave and go away from the pain.' This does not take anybody out of the world. We know this in many other areas of loss. Why do we think the game of geographic relocation could work here? I arrived at this on a personal level, because I always thought I could do without it, partnerships, in any situation. 'Hey, you're not happy with this scenario - okay, I've done the best I could. Let's see what happens. I'll just - go away.' So it was more an admonition of myself, because you get comfortable with the ways you successfully solve problems, and sometimes that's not the best thing."
"It's only if you don't examine it and allow it to nourish your perceptions that you're cooked. My secretary's a kind of Yiddish mama, and I love her definition of a relationship: 'If it's not half the effort and twice the fun, it's not good."
"Look, I have a lot of late eureka experiences these days. I'm driving along on Mulholland on a particular day, the kind about which my friend Harry Gittes says, 'The Lord's playing L.A. today.' And I'm looking at this beautiful day, thinking, I cannot imagine anything better than this, period. People say, 'Paradise, you're living in it.' But it had never sunk in in that eureka way that not only made me happy, but my tits got hard and my hair stood on end. I thought, Goddammit, you've experienced something here. But one second later I thought, Hey, what about Iraq? That's what I mean by the skill of happiness. It didn't protect me from Iraq. I wasn't able to jump right back into that euphoria. The increment had happened. So it's a grace to be able to modulate that. That's the best thing I have say about happy."
Saturday, December 15, 2007
if there's any reaction, both are transformed." - Carl Gustav Jung
A good friend of mine went to a training session in the gym she just subscribed to. As she was telling me everything they made her do, she mentioned something she learned. Apparently our body prefers to use the muscles that are the strongest and avoids using the weak ones, because it's more difficult. If an exercise requires that we use the weak muscles, we slightly change it to be able to use the strong ones again.
This made me wonder if it's the same way with the brain. We must be using the same parts of our brains all the time, and avoid using the other parts. We think in familiar ways, we recycle familiar opinions, listen to familiar songs, do familiar things. But when something new, unfamiliar arises, we get confused. The night before, when I asked another friend what she would change if she could only change one thing, she said she would "try to make people think in less extreme ways."
Going back to the original story, when I asked about the brain, "I think it's lazy to say it's the way you are," my friend said. She heard somewhere that our brain builds new links when we start thinking about different things, in different ways.
Part of my confusion, fear stems from laziness, but it's not only me. We try to keep new, unfamiliar things at bay, we put on our poker faces and wait for people to adjust to us. My way or highway.
Any kind of relationship is only meaningful if both sides are willing to adjust. This is what I think, if it matters at all...
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
you know that split second the camera lens takes to refocus and the zzzzzz sound it makes. a blurry split second, the lens quickly moves back and forth, then everything is sharp again.
I was right at the beginning, I need my anchor, my voice before everything else.
when my dad was teaching me how to drive, I would go on the highway slowly, ever so slowly shifting left. hoping the cars would slow down and give me the way. they never did, they never cared, they just kept whizzing by. my dad kept telling me to just speed up. I hoped some drivers would be courteous.
every day I'm learning more about people.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
I feel like a computer and somebody just spilled a glass of water on me. As the water is seeping through my compartments, the data I've stored, the opinions I've formed, my beliefs are getting blurry, I'm getting confused. I'm trying to refocus, gather my thoughts - not even for my own sake, but only because nobody wants a dysfunctional computer - not even when they broke it themselves.
Now apparently they are making computers more resistant to accidents like this, they don't get messed up with a little water. Technology is evolving with experience. Unfortunately I'm older-generation, but at least I know by now that this is not a good state to be in.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Age of innocence?
Babies, according to new research, can tell good people from bad at the tender age of six months. In tests, the babies unanimously preferred a “positive” doll over both a “negative” or “neutral” doll. In other words, before we can speak, we can distinguish the people who have our best interests at heart. This is pretty amazing when you think about it: not that babies are programmed from birth, but that we all start out with a foolproof people-radar that is then systematically dismantled.
It starts with your parents making you play with their friends’ dysfunctional children. That’s when you learn that you must get on with everyone, even the ones who hit you over the head continuously, for the sake of avoiding awkwardness. The same way you have to put up with your grandparents’ lethal driving and the au pair taking you to the park with her friend and then abandoning you while they smoke. You are too young to point out that these people are not acting in your best interests. But you are learning that in the grown-up world nobody listens to their instincts because they have other more pressing concerns (saving time, saving face, getting through).
Then there’s school. You are a sneak if you tell anyone that the girl in your class is torturing you at break. You are dead if you don’t pick the pretty but unsporty girls first for the rounders team. You must quickly bury your instinctive grasp of who is decent and who is not because the only issue is fitting in.
This distorted perspective becomes normal and, once you hit puberty, the thoughtful boys and girls are toast: both sexes are now only interested in destructive types. Your mother, who has spent the past 15 or so years bludgeoning your instincts into a socially acceptable compromise, starts saying, “Can’t you see he’s no good for you?” Too late! Meanwhile, your brother is definitely a negative doll in your life, as is your mother’s shopaholic best friend, your youth-envying aunt and the neighbour who always gets your dad drunk - all natural enemies. But nobody does anything about it; instead everybody blames you for being too “black and white”.
It gets worse, obviously. All around you there are examples of people who are either negative or nimby or both: so-called friends who moan that you are horrible since you got a boyfriend/lost weight, and so-called colleagues who advertise all the great ideas you have missed during meetings. Gradually your “negative influence” radar gets furred up, because it’s hardly ever appropriate to act on it. When accepting a proposal of marriage, yes. When going into business with someone, yes. But, for some reason, you are not able to say, “I will not have dinner with them because I sense they would use me for a float in a tsunami.” You must throw your inner baby out with the bath water, and just get over yourself.
Monday, December 03, 2007
"a look of recognition had passed between them at first sight, but also the assurance that they wouldn't reveal one another's secrets, not even to each other." the Inheritance of Loss, page 118
Sunday, December 02, 2007
The first sign on the road to madness is looking for meaning, deliberateness in things that are completely random. I do that often. For example, have you ever wondered how you would feel if you found out that you were Truman? That everything that happens and everyone who enters your life is part of a composed tale, and you are only a laboratory animal who can't do anything but respond? And if you get really suspicious, you start doing unpredictable things to trick the composers of your story? When I get this feeling, that I'm only a pawn in my own life, I start thinking about the things that I choose purely out of my free will. But when I trace them back, I always hit something that was not my own making. Only to realize actually a decision I made previously led to this random thing. This interaction between the random and the deliberate amazes me.
I used to think I couldn't be Truman, because not enough interesting things are happening in my life. If I were Truman, script writers would surely send me more things to deal with, present me with more dilemmas.
But now it's getting more interesting, and I started seeing recognition in strangers' eyes.
But no, I'm not Truman. It's only that life throws more at me than I thought it did. I only see and take those I'm ready for.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
You got a fast car
I want a ticket to anywhere
Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere
Anyplace is better
Starting from zero got nothing to lose
Maybe we'll make something
But me myself I got nothing to prove
You got a fast car
And I got a plan to get us out of here
I been working at the convenience store
Managed to save just a little bit of money
We won't have to drive too far
Just 'cross the border and into the city
You and I can both get jobs
And finally see what it means to be living
You see my old man's got a problem
He live with the bottle that's the way it is
He says his body's too old for working
I say his body's too young to look like his
My mama went off and left him
She wanted more from life than he could give
I said somebody's got to take care of him
So I quit school and that's what I did
You got a fast car
But is it fast enough so we can fly away
We gotta make a decision
We leave tonight or live and die this way
I remember we were driving - driving in your car
The speed so fast I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped 'round my shoulder
And I had a feeling that I belonged
And I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone
You got a fast car
And we go cruising to entertain ourselves
You still ain't got a job
And I work in a market as a checkout girl
I know things will get better
You'll find work and I'll get promoted
We'll move out of the shelter
Buy a big house and live in the suburbs
You got a fast car
And I got a job that pays all our bills
You stay out drinking late at the bar
See more of your friends than you do of your kids
I'd always hoped for better
Thought maybe together you and me would find it
I got no plans I ain't going nowhere
So take your fast car and keep on driving
You got a fast car
But is it fast enough so you can fly away
You gotta make a decision
You leave tonight or live and die this way
(a Tracy Chapman song)
Monday, November 26, 2007
FT Magazine is running a series of essays and a contest with the theme "What I would change?" The following ones, all written by FT journalists, are really good. Especially the first one :)
Forget focus, celebrate breadth, Stefan Stern
Be good, for goodness sake, John Lloyd
Weak with awareness, Jan Dalley
Saturday, November 24, 2007
I put my Amy Winehouse ticket for sale on gumtree and got eight responses so far. My ticket only got delivered this morning, and seeing my ticket (which I had bought happily in july) and the eight suitors made me realize its value and keep it. I remembered that Sex and the City episode when Charlotte loses the baby when her parents decide to keep her.
Why do we need the confirmation of other people's demand, the threat of losing something to appreciate its value?
Thursday, November 22, 2007
"Be confident. People draw their strengths from your weaknesses," wrote my mom in an E-mail the last time I came back from Turkey. She also tells me to "keep the tail up" no matter what happens. I can't always follow her advice. I claim I don't want to pretend I'm better than I actually am. I claim it's dishonest. But the real reason is different, I think. First of all, I'm not smart enough. Secondly, I think sometimes being weak can be used as an excuse not to try harder. It's a comfortable place. I'm afraid I'll have to actually be better if I claim I'm better.
But I'm beginning to see my mom's point more and more. My year in London has been a crash course on real world: I've seen a lot that I hadn't before, but the more I see, the more doubtful and confused I get about myself, people, humanity. I discover and I forget - only to realize once again - we draw our strengths from others' weaknesses. Accepting this is maybe as genuine as we can get.
Everything is relative, after all. We need reference points. I'm intelligent if someone is less intelligent than me. I'm paid well if there are people around me who are paid less. If I take different reference points, I could well realize I'm actually not what I thought I was. I guess when you move up the ranks, you get more resistant to different contexts, you reach a more absolute, more robust feeling of success, value, confidence.
A couple of nights ago I went to have drinks with my new colleagues. Our big boss foot the bill (what's the past tense of "foot"?) so we shamelessly kept drinking. At first I really enjoyed the mood, much more relaxed, warmer, friendlier than in the office. But soon after I noticed that people were either gossipping about people not present (whom I didn't know) or talking about the competitors, the business. In the end, you couldn't really learn more about them than you could in the office.
So there's virtue in professionalism, putting on your poker face sometimes. But it's also important to let it down eventually, around some people. I guess it comes with time, trust.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
"you wanted to be your own person." Frida
"you don't paint because you're good. you paint because you'd die if you didn't paint." Frida
"the straight line is godless." - Hundertwasser
"it was always my intention to bring pleasure to many people. I would like to share beautiful and useful things with people which have a meaning to them and enrich their lives." - Hundertwasser
In Impressionism, I wrote how artists, over time, sought to reflect their feelings rather than imitating the world. Technique became just an instrument to take it all out. Things happen to you, you see things, you feel things and it's too much, too messy, too heavy - maybe they are not that heavy but they weigh on you, because you are not normal -- you have to blurt it all out. This simple fact is your anchor. You take things in and you let them out - they pass through you but in the process, you change things. What comes out is not the same as what went in. You are blended in it, and when people see what comes out of you, they see you.
I went to three exhibitions in Budapest and just watched Frida. I want to jot down a few notes about them - they won't make sense, just a few impressions.
Deep, thick, electric blue is Hundertwasser's colour. Michaela Frey uses details from his work on gorgeous jewellery, that's when I first heard his name. He draws (and then paints) like a small child, his work is so much like a dear friend's, she might be his reincarnation. Lines, colours, windows, raindrops, tears, faces blend into each other, but each piece has something clever in them, a small drop of meaning that quickly appears. And he's not discreet about it, his descriptive titles give it away. He wants to be understood.
He painted nudes and still lives and scenes from First World War and Parisian life and Italian beaches - he painted what he lived and witnessed, basically, but his dark style, simple lines like a caricaturists', the contrasts, the thick strokes of paint, which almost make some objects jump out, account for most of it.
Picasso, Klee, Kandinsky
I didn't quite get Kandinsky's work, but I still liked looking at it, especially "light construction" (because of its name :) and "blue" - which was a beautiful, curvy boat! His work either reminds me of elaborate machines (sometimes decomposed, sometimes intact, but very important and deliberate), space stations or biological forms - ameba or something complete with all its compartments.
Klee's plant according to rules, above the water, legend of the nile and winter hills were all very simple but powerful. So were Andre Derain's the Road to Beauvais and Henri Laurens' sculptures.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
sen - hey sen
en son giden sen -
sen - hey sen!
en son giden sen
ne canın böyle yanıp coşacak
ne bu mevsim hep kış kalacak
yeniden bulacak birini bu kalp, bulacak
o da gitse son olmayacak
ne canın böyle yanıp coşacak
ne bu mevsim hep kış kalacak
yeniden bulacak birini bu kalp, bulacak
o da gitse son olmayacak
bana güven - istersen
aynı deftere isimler yazacak ellerin
yeni sevgililer seçecek geceler bilirim
çok zor gelecek bazen dostların bile
en son sevdiğin
son sevdiğin ben olmayacağım
için bir anda ürperecek
bir gülecek, bir küseceksin
aşk bizleri zar zor temize çekecek
senin de boynu bükük bir defterin olacak -
olacak bir gün
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Talking to the girls this weekend made me remember the things I cared about a few years ago, the things that were thought about and discussed around me. I'm not sure whether I was genuinely interested in them or I was drawn into them out of circumstance, but thinking about them and trying to make sense of them still seems like a valuable effort.
One of my friends will be working on an environmental project, and she told us about the necessity of "a paradigm shift in capitalism," because the system is going to "hit the wall" unless we do something about it. I never thought to label the growing awareness about environmental problems in such a way - communism failed because it did not give people the right incentives to improve their lives, and the ones who had bigger aspirations could not reach them. It was capitalism that prevailed by giving people freedom and choices (that could still be tweaked by regulation and incentives.) So now we realize that capitalism, too, will not last long unless we do something to fix it?
In developed countries (more in Europe than the US), environmental problems almost seem to have given a new story to the urban affluent and the idealist. An area of improvement. As one venture capitalist told me, Europeans are ready to pay the premium for clean technology. They are ready to accept personal responsibility and go out of their ways to recycle, buy efficient bulbs, organise G8 summits and flashy concerts. They are aware of a problem, and they can afford to work towards fixing it.
This attitude is totally respectable and admirable, but idealists should not expect everyone to possess the same awareness and the means to prioritize environment the same way they do. It will take more than idealism and publicity. An effective set of solutions can only be found if the right regulations and incentives are in place to align the interests of those who don't necessarily care about the environment with those who do. All solutions will have to involve some degree of regulation, free markets won't suffice. Even the carbon trading system, which seems like the ingenious capitalist solution, would not be possible without the cap - and that requires public supervision and commitment. It will be very difficult to bring governments and businesses on board.
Environmental problems point to a flaw in the free market economy that needs to be corrected by regulation. Individual choices will not add up to a socially optimum outcome, unless the costs are internalized. Economists, scientists and policy makers will have to work hard to come up with innovative solutions. The awareness, panic and effort, however, are all truly meaningful. It gives our generation a new story to believe in, something to correct, something to fix - but we have to realize that the road to a solution will take a lot of thinking. Not that this should discourage us.
for a long time I have been thinking about rules and books and strategies and human nature and being comfortable and pretending and standing behind yourself and insecurity and taking for granted and being taken for granted and being independent and posing a challenge and being challenged and I decided - no - no games. I want to be someone someone can count on - and I want to be able to count on someone. if that makes people predictable and boring, so be it.
(thanks to one of my friends who made me see this... she's a treasure! :)
after writing this, something made me doubt what I wrote. I believed in it when I wrote it, but then I realized sometimes people do not play games consciously, but they simply do not know what (or who) they want. they believe in one thing now - in another thing later. maybe it takes time. maybe they are trying to protect themselves by simply not wanting a specific thing, just so that they can pretend they didn't want it if they don't get it, and switch swiftly to wanting something else.
anyways - the consequences are the same either way, somebody gets hurt. and it is not fun not to want something wholeheartedly, because then you don't get happy when you actually get it, either. after going through all the arguments for and against - no games!
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Once I wrote that I feel horrible when I'm home on a Friday night. This weekend I didn't have any plans until last minute, and the same fog of confusion settled down around my head. What if I end up home alone with my book? In an instant I started feeling like someone nobody loves, someone excluded. Last night, I went from having no plans to being triple-booked in the matter of an hour, none of the options really excited me (large groups with only a few people I know and like) but I wanted to have them all just in case. As my flatmates were also confused, we ended up grumpily sitting around for a while, walking around our small temporary flat aimlessly, discovering there is no personal space after all, and the boredom and fatigue towards ourselves and everyone else became palpable. We ended up breaking a computer.
Then we went to a larger house with more people, sat around more for a while, watching what we say, and dutifully wound up in this horrible Walkabout (an old church, fittingly) where glassy eyed people were trying to grope each other. I must say I enjoyed some of the songs and the dancing. I almost felt part of a group. We couldn't really hear each other but we glanced at each other lovingly, danced freely, looked at drunker people with tolerance and even sang aloud (of course nobody could hear our voices but we could see we were singing). My phone broke and I couldn't even tell my colleague that I wouldn't be able to make it to her thing. But "in London, that's almost to be expected," one of my flatmates says.
When we got off the bus on our way home, I looked back at all the people in the bus, holding on to the handles. They looked happy-drunk, sad-drunk, tired-drunk, sad-sober, tired-sober, but not happy. What is the point? Why do these people even bother?
One of my favourite sayings is "luck only comes to those who walk around." Is that why? We feel like we need to be out and about to get lucky? Is this the best option out there, one of the terms and conditions we tacitly accepted by being young, moving here? Do we want to feel some kind of intimacy, some kind of solidarity that only comes with getting collectively drunk and over our self-consciousness? Does the bond between people grow stronger when they see each other drunk and silly and sick and still accept it? Because clubs are the only places where we can make horrible dance moves and sing aloud and grope each other, shielded by the crowd and the loud music? We can do all this because it's the only place it's accepted, expected?
Many times after a night out, on my way home in the cold, I wondered whether it was worth it. Sensing my doubts, our leader sat me down one day and told me: "Will you remember the nights you stayed home studying or the nights you went out with your friends?" Yes, I do remember the freezing walks at 5 o'clock in the morning from Dülferstrasse station all the way down Panzerwiese. I remember the parties at Nachtgalerie and Back Stage and Studentenstadt and Fabrik and the Frikadella man in Hauptbahnhof. I remember all this, and I ask whether it was worth it, and maybe it was. Maybe this is all we could come up with after years of experience and evolution, maybe it is the best option.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Sometimes my friends ask for a favour - and I say no when I really have to go out of my way to make them happy. They think I shouldn't say no, because we're good enough friends now. I think they shouldn't ask me that to begin with, because we're good enough friends now. I have to try and be just to myself just as I try to be just to everyone else.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
"Then what's the point? We're like free electrons!" shrugs my friend often. The free electron metaphor is not the only one. When I was leaving Izmir last time, we saw a baby running with his two arms open, little legs making little swift steps, he just kept running. My mom said laughingly, "this is like your life! you keep running until you hit something!" It's funny and cute, but maybe I do need some direction. I've been like those dry leaves, ready to go wherever the wind blows.
Free electrons without a proton, without an anchor or a reference point. Nothing that pulls us to the ground, to something. Severed from our roots long ago, we are looking for something, something that will pull us. We started out with protons not of our own making - we started out with a family, a country. Now that we are away, now that we are not bound to anything, we need to find our own anchor, we need to find something new to attach to. We need to make the meaning, there is no predetermined fate or story that we must discover and follow.
I wanted a sign to tell me where I'll be happy, and I started seeing signs everywhere. A sign here, a sign there, pointing at different directions. I tried to take other free floating electrons as anchors, but two electrons don't really make anything. You can't hold on to another electron when they are floating and you are floating. Electrons need to find their protons before anything else.
The same friend who calls us electrons, she also told me that I should look inside for what I'm looking for, not outside. I thought she contradicted herself - a couple of days ago she told me not to think too much and act! But now I see what she's saying. I have to find my anchor first, I need to find my own thing.
So I'm not looking for signs outside anymore. I'm not depending on anyone for my own happiness. But I'm also staying put until I find it.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
“…When things come to you easily, when things click effortlessly into place, it is so tempting to use the four-letter F-word. Fate. Which to Millat is a quantity very much like TV: an unstoppable narrative, written, produced and directed by somebody else.
Of course, now that he’s here, now that he’s stoned and scared, and it doesn’t feel so easy, and the right-hand side of his jacket feels like somebody put a fucking cartoon anvil in there – now he sees the great difference between TV and life, and it kicks him right in the groin. Consequences. But even to think this is to look to the movies for reference (because he’s not like Samad or Mangal Pande, he didn’t get a war, he never saw action, he hasn’t got any analogies or anectodes), is to remember Pacino in the first Godfather, huddled in the restaurant toilet (as Pande was huddled in the barracks room), considering for a moment what it means to burst out of men’s room and blast the hell out of the two guys at the checkered table. And Millat remembers. He remembers rewinding and freeze-framing and slow-playing the scene countless times over the years. He remembers that no matter how long you pause the split-second of Pacino reflecting, no matter how often you replay the doubt that seems to cross his face, he never does anything else but what he was always going to do.” (White Teeth, 526, 527)
“If neither imperative can be overridden, then choose one, and as you say, get on with it. Man makes himself, after all. And he is responsible for what he makes.”
“I may yet redeem myself in your eyes… or you may be mistaken – your decision may come back to you as Oedipus’s returned to him, horrible and mutilated! You cannot say for sure!”
“No… no… we are not fortune-tellers. I could never have predicted my life would end up in the hands of a child… Corinthians I, chapter thirteen, verse eight: Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. But when will it come? For myself, I became tired of waiting. It is such a terrible thing, to know only in part. …
If only we were brave enough to make the decisions that must be made…between those worth saving and the rest… Is it a crime to want –“
“Imagine, if you can, events in the world happening repeatedly, endlessly, in the way they always have…
imagine this war over and over a million times…
It is not a serious proposition. It is a test. Only those who are sufficiently strong and well disposed to life to affirm it – even if it will just keep on repeating – have what it takes to endure the worst blackness. I could see the things I have done repeated infinitely.”(538, 539.)
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Mary Poppins conversation box song.
Mary Poppins "anything can happen if you let it" song.
During exams time, I wrote about Olson's observation of rational ignorance. In the same article, he wrote about the tendency of business practices, laws and regulations to become more sophisticated over time. Intelligent, sophisticated people come up with new, innovative ways to do business and make money all the time. Policy makers and legislators have to catch up with the suitable regulation and legislation. Then business people need lawyers, auditors, accountants and advisors to make sure they play by the rules (and find out if there were any gaps in the rules, any opportunities.) This all creates an exclusive, closed-circuit biosphere of intelligent, sophisticated people. You have to prove your intelligence, motivation and cunning to break into their circle and rise up to their level. You have to work very hard and build relationships. You have to pass the exams of their associations. All simply because they don't want the competition over-crowding brings.
And we are struggling to join the biosphere, not only because we need the money, but also because it's the only way we think we can prove our intelligence. Joining their circle seems like the best use of your time, something challenging enough. Something that can prove ourselves and the world that we are worthy. Look at the money we make. Look at the people we hang out with.
When I go to private equity conferences, I am envious. I feel like I'm looking at their circle from outside, because I'm not smart enough. I am dependent on the information they provide me within the few minutes of spare time they have, because they call the shots. Their time is important. This envy makes me want to join their circle. Become one of those smart girls who are always on their feet. It blurs my vision of what I really want to do and what is meaningful to me.
"Pretend you have some responsibility," said my dad. "Changing jobs every three months won't serve your career."
He said this after he asked me what would happen if he quit his shitty first job and I reminded him that he already had a wife and a daughter by then. He didn't have the choice.
But it's hard to think you are responsible for something when in fact you aren't. It's hard to run after food when you aren't hungry. It's too easy to get distracted and get all these noble ideas like becoming a novelist and an academic and inspiring people. (Think of Refik in Cevdet Bey ve Oğulları.) Thinking you're special. One only gets these ideas if one has spare time. One can only be an idealist if one can afford it. Everyone else is busy sustaining themselves.
In my freshman year History of Capitalism class we read an article about the pendulum - how nations work hard and become rich, and then once they become affluent, they start spending more time and money on culture and arts and philosophy and education (and enlightening others, if you know what I mean :) They become complacent. Then one of my professors this year crudely suggested that if the soft budget constraint was the weakness of communism, inheritance was the weakness of capitalism. It breaks the momentum.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
One of the great questions that kept philosophers occupied was, "what is the truth?" Can we ever know what the world really is? Whatever we see around us, it will always pass through the box that is our head, that is our heart (hormones, that is). Even our eyes, can we trust they are projecting the world as it really is? (Here's a little story for you: A man who sees everything narrower draws a tree. Then a person with healthy eyesight looks at the drawing and sees a perfectly normal tree. But this doesn't change the fact that the guy who made the drawing saw the tree differently than the other guy.)
Many people had theories about this, some said we could comprehend the truth, some said we couldn't, some said who cares, do we have an option anyway? The only theory I can link to its owner now (because it was my favourite - the middle ground) is Kant's. He said all the information goes through the processor that is our brain. Whatever limited information we actually get, our brain divides into little pieces, puts them together with what it already knew, rationalizes them, blows them out of proportion (with the help of hormones!) and in the end you get something that is new, different from what the world told you in the first place. The rays are refracted until they point in a completely new direction. And the most important information, the one that is most dear to you, the one that has the greatest consequences, is the one that gets distorted the most.
For example your perception of yourself. At any point in time, I perceive myself as someone stronger, weaker, smarter, stupider, prettier and uglier than I really am. The catch is that how you are determines how you see yourself and how you see yourself determines how you are. It is as if you put a broken mirror across an intact one, standing in between, trying to see yourself among infinite slanted versions of the truth.
Then all those misunderstandings that make the romantic comedies and soap operas all so grueling. The viewer knows the truth, she watches what both sides are going through, and she watches them interpret the limited information falsely, she watches the truth being distorted and hastily countered with the wrong reaction - how difficult is that? I know you know the feeling. You want to somehow go into the screen and poke the character and tell them what it really is. He loves you, stupid, don't go running off now! You'll ruin everything. He will not be able to stand you, he will give it up just because you thought he would.
Hence the self-fulfilling prophecy. Hence the power of positive thinking. The secret. It actually has nothing mystical to it, it all makes sense. You are pessimistic, you interpret the information wrong, you see yourself weak and stupid, you think the others see you weak and stupid, you distrust them, you distrust yourself, you don't apply to your dream job, you don't pursue your dream boy, you leave them before they leave you, and then you end up losing the boy, losing the job, only because you thought you would. You leave yourself, as Alanis Morissette says, you don't stand behind yourself anymore. Now I figured it all out without even having read the secret ;)
Watched water doesn't boil, as my friend Milan said. At least, your intent stare by itself won't make it boil. For water to boil, the molecules should get enough heat, they should have enough energy to start moving quickly and far enough from each other and stay there. They should have enough power to overcome the lazy tendency to stick together. Or so I remember from my high school chemistry class.
Sad but true - I act on something IFF:
1- I'm late enough OR
2- I'm envious enough.
Both conditions are fulfilled now.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
No, you don't have to strive at something just for the sake of accomplishing it. You don't have to keep this job and be bored out of your mind just for the sake of not giving up. As you wrote long ago, there are many great things to do in life, but one has to pick one, because we have one life (I know how irresponsible and spoilt that sounds - but this doesn't justify middle aged men leaving their wives and kids, for the record.)
It's literally the light in my life now. I'm scared I'll miss my tube stop when I'm reading it. I'm looking forward to the hour I'll read it before going to sleep. I don't know what I'll do when I finish it. It's so real, so larger than life and down to earth, but it still has bits you could underline, lessons from life, things you didn't know you knew, like the stuff in this blog if I may say, but the talent lies in embedding them truly in the little, light things in life so the whole thing flows. Daily Telegraph says the book "has energy, pace, humour and fully formed characters; it is blissfully free of the intoversion and self-conscious detail that mar many first novels... the dialogue is pitch perfect... bounding, vibrant, richly imagined and throughly enjoyable."
Of course, all this comes with envy, longing to do something similar myself. It must take so much labour, patience, talent. One must have collected and observed so much already. Once I talked about writing a novel with someone. Without thinking, he said something in the vicinity of "but it's easy, all you have to do is come up with a story!"(Hard to believe he's a philosophy student.) Then I told him no, the story is fiction but everything, every little detail has to be real, believable. That's so difficult to accomplish, to write something others can identify with. Stepping out of your bell jar (or finding something universal in it.) That's why people write about what they know best, what's closest to their heart. They write about people like themselves, their families, they write about their cities. Pamuk writes about Istanbul and Smith writes about half Jamaican, half English girls from north London.
I don't like shopping malls, supermarkets, where people try to push themselves (plus shopping carts and buggies) absent mindedly through corridors lit by white shining spots, and I found out I don't like IKEA, either. (I went to the one at home a few months ago, and I thought I liked it, and I imagined how I would shop there to decorate my place when I had a place - but no - I don't like it.)
I accept it, the idea is novel - you cut millions of pieces of wood and plastic and glass instead of hundreds - economies of scale. Then people make one trip for everything they need (and didn't know they need) instead of ten trips. You make order lists and stand in huge check out lines (a fight broke out in the adjacent line when I was there) and everything is oh-so-efficient and functional and clean-cut. So are our homes. But where is the individuality, where is the story of a coffee table you bought in Camden and carried all the way through Regent's Park? That would be special. But in IKEA, I don't see how anybody could feel special. I don't know if anyone cares.
Still, it was nice to have good friends along to stand on the check out line with and endure the sickening bus ride to and from Wembley. Maybe that's the key to feeling special. Being with special people who think you're special. Then you don't even wonder whether you're special, because you know you are. Something like that.
Friday, October 05, 2007
Since I came back to Turkey almost a week ago, waves of emotion are washing over me. Emotion, cheap, abundant, ample seas of emotion. The flight home - as Kundera says, things lose a fraction of their meaning each time they are repeated, and I've flown back and forth too many times - but I still feel happy when I fly home. Countless dramas with their familiar, predictable plots. Old songs (they don't seem to make any good songs anymore, so they just sing the old ones over and over.) Horrible morning shows with dark singers and circular conversations. Ramadan desserts and memories from the time when all I knew was this country and didn't need to imagine further. I go to Alsancak and high school kids are hanging out just like we did six years ago.
Then I met up with two friends from high school and saw how they grew up and how they are struggling and surviving without making a big deal out of it. That was something new, something different, something refreshing. They are passing into a new stage in their lives ever so smoothly, instinctively, cheerfully.
This reminded me I should shake off this irrational, romantic, heavy cloud that sits over my head when I come to Turkey, when I think of Turkey. It's making me very lazy, and it's time I take it for what it's worth. It's the icing on the cake, but I need to earn the cake first.
"In North London, where councillors once voted to change the name of the area to Nirvana, it is not unusual to walk the streets and be suddenly confronted by sage words from the chalk-faced, blue-lipped or eyebrowless. From across the street or from the other end of the tube carriage they will use their schizophrenic talent for seeing connections in the random (for discerning the whole world in a grain of sand, for deriving narrative from nothing) to riddle you, to rhyme you, to strip you down, to tell you who you are and where you're going (usually Baker Street - the great majority of modern-day seers travel the Metropolitan Line) and why." - White Teeth, 174.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Bir kadın saçıdır
Upuzun ince ince
Sen ki aşkta aldatıldın
Yüreğin taş parçası
Dinle yağmuru dinle
Teselli bul türküsünde
Her şey olur
Her şey büyür
Her şey geçer
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Sanırım insanın bir eşiği var, o eşiği geçtikten sonra artık kafayı bir şeye takamıyorsun. Başladığın noktaya yakın bir yere dönüyorsun. Başladığın noktaya dönüyorsun da, o artık o aynı sen olmuyorsun. İnsan kendini de zaman içinde, yeni durumlarla karşılaştıkça tanıyor ve hissettiklerine, düşündüklerine, bunların ona yaptırdıklarına çok hayret ediyor. Ne kadar aptal, ne kadar gerçek dışı, mantıksız düşünebildiğini, davranabildiğini görüyorsun. Evet dünya benim etrafımda dönmüyor. Evet insanların benim dışımda hayalleri, sorunları var. Onların kararlarını yönlendiren benim dışımda etkenler var. Ben çoğu zaman akıllarına bile gelmiyorum (ki bence en kötüsü bu), ama bütün davranışlarının bana yönelik olduğunu varsayıyorum. Her şeyi üzerime alınıyorum. Bütün insanlık benim isteklerimi gerçekleştirmek için türlü fedakarlıklar yapmak zorunda değil. Yine de yeniden aynı durumla karşılaşsam farklı davranabilir miyim, emin değilim.
Ben şimdi bunları anladım ve sadece söylenenlerin yerine ulaştığının bilinmesini istedim. Sorulmadığı halde her şeyi anladığını ispatlamayı amaç edinmiş öğrenciler gibi. ...
Bütün bu yazdıklarım gene her şeyi bir sonuca bağlama, açıklığa kavuşturma çabası... Maalesef gerçek hayat bu kadar basit değilmiş. Ortak bir arkadaşımızın dediği gibi, bazen sorularla, soruları yaşayabilmek gerekliymiş, cevaplar olmadan.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
How to defer to men in solveable predicaments
How to control someone to be a carbon copy of you
How to have that not work and have them run away from you
How to keep people at arms length and never get too close
How to mistrust the ones who supposedly love the most
How to pretend you're fine and don't need help from anyone
How to feel worthless unless you're serving or helping someone
[Chorus:]I'll teach you all this in 8 easy steps
A course of a lifetime you'll never forget
I'll show you how to in 8 easy steps
I'll show you how leaderships looks when taught by the best
How to hate women when you're supposed to be a feminist
How to play all pious when you're really a hypocrite
How to hate god when you're a prayer and a spiritualist
How to sabotage your fantasies by fears of success
[Chorus]I've been doing research for years
I've been practicing my ass off
I've been training my whole life for this moment I swear to you
Culminating just to be this well-versed leader before you [Chorus]
How to lie to yourself and thereby to everyone else
How to keep smiling when you're thinking of killing yourself
How to numb a la holic to avoid going within
How to stay stuck in blue by blaming them for everything
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
and I realized today that it does have a point, and thus the down now.
Oh, scrap real estate agents... I still don't know whether we'll manage to get a contract next week and be able to move. I have a feeling we won't, given I don't trust that guy even one bit. if it all plays out, it'll be a pure coincidence of luck.
so I was sitting in the tube and it just hit me that the game I was playing the past week was so pointless. I've been in the exact same situation before. The week before someone leaves, and of course they have so many things to do and you try to keep yourself occupied. I believed in something that obviously had no chance of working. I pretended it could work and by being so blind and naive just accepted being treated like a child, someone who needs to be protected from her own stupidity. This week, I went beyond that - I decided not to repeat the same mistakes I made last time - but for what? The whole thing is an illusion and I'm making myself look pathetic by pretending just anything is possible. And I'm still writing this (for it to be read) rather than being an adult and sucking it up. (carry your own burden!)
Probably it's easier, acting childish, role playing.
Anyways, all I feel is repulsion now.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Her insan bir uçurumdur. Başını döndürür kişinin, gidip aşağı bakınca. Woyzeck.
It's been a year since I started writing these notes! Isn't that amazing? And most of the people in my life now, I didn't know back then.
Coming soon: Something about finding a place in London, and the practitioners of that holy occupation, the facilitators of the market, the grease in the machine, those that bring the supply and demand together (often with the welcome push of little lies and much ambivelance: is that called professionalism?): Yes, real estate agents.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Nowadays I can't count on any decision I make. I tell myself I'll leave home at a specific time, I sincerely believe myself, then I end up leaving half an hour later again. I tell myself I'll move to Istanbul for good to do a phd in some really interesting philosophical sociological something and become a writer and then as I cross the Jubilee bridge my resolve drains out of me with every step.
I know I'm not happy the way things are. I tell myself, I'm not supposed to end up ordinary, I'm not supposed to end up like anyone. Maybe everybody thought like that before. Everybody thinks they are not ordinary, a quite ordinary thought. And then maybe there's a border and after you cross that line you don't think like that anymore. That question just becomes one of the things you dealt with and left in the past. One of those little things that needs taking care of. Everybody goes through the 'I'm special' phase, most find out that they aren't, and then they move on. They don't think about it anymore because it's already dealt with. Maybe sometimes they remember, like something you forget you've already done, 'wasn't I special?' Then they just remind themselves all the incidences that proved that they actually aren't, and get on with everything else they have to do.
My mom thinks I have ambition, but lack the motivation. I have to agree. Talent, ambition and motivation are different things. Just like the difference between being smart and being intelligent.
In Zadie Smith's On Beauty, Claire talks about the harmony between what you choose to do and your capability of doing it. On that moment you turn into a real person, that's when you become beautiful. That perfect match. But then, as someone told me, there are things one can do, and there are things one likes doing. So three things have to overlap, something you choose to do, something you can do and something you like to do. Maybe if I can find that intersection my life will be special.
I can choose what I will do, thanks to my parents, who did not have the same choice. (Is this fair, that's a whole different story.) I like rambling on about little personal things, as this blog proves. Am I talented in writing, do I really come up with anything interesting, anything you can relate to? Anything 'you always knew but didn't know you knew'? Anything special? Although I write like I'm the first person who feels like that, I find out I'm not the only one when I talk to people or read Ekşi Sözlük. Everybody went through everything before, probably much earlier than me. They just don't make a big deal out of it.
On my way out of Orhan Pamuk's talk tonight, I ran into a girl who's not really my friend, but one I really admire for some reason. I told her, with the triumphant air of someone who's decided to change her life, that I'm moving back to Turkey. I love the time when I'm about to move, because it means a temporary suspension of all responsibilities, you leave everything unpleasant behind, without having to face or fix anything. She recommended I think about it and maybe take a couple of weeks off to go to Turkey? She suggested my love for Turkey will fade quickly. I knew. She also suggested, that job experience in London counts for much in Turkey, and I should try to get a work permit even if I want to leave. I thought to myself, she's thinking of ordinary people. I'm special. I don't need the work experience in London to do a phd in some really interesting philosophical sociological something and become a writer. That I can only do in Istanbul, where I belong.
But you know what happened on Jubilee bridge.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
...is so easy.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Bir sabah olsa binbir umutla
Güneş bile açsa.............................açmaz , saçma
Bir gece olsa, samanyolu hatta
Yıldız bile kaysa....................kaymaz saçma
O son sözü duymak bile fazla inan
İyi niyet değil, şefkat değil, nerden bu dil
Kendine iyi bak deme , denmez saçma
Kendime bakarım elbet sen hiç korkma
Kendine kalıyor insan eninde sonunda
Sen bize iyi bak tanrım, sevdalı kullarına
Herşeyi alma, bir küçük eşya
Bırak bana yeter......................
Yetmez , saçma
Dön gel uzatma, hayat bu unutma
Zaman bile dursa.................durmaz, saçma
O son sözü doğru sanıp kanmam inan
İyi niyet değil, gerçek değil, kimden bu dil
I'm exhausted after a month of much work, much stress, the same old dilemma... But I knew. Check this out:
You are a flexible, mutable sign, so when the chips are down, you roll with the punches better than most signs, but that doesn't mean it's been easy. In the coming two years, your entire life will look different, with new friends, associates, and possibly a new position, home, or partner - or the whole kit and caboodle. It will be exciting, but change demands a great deal of adjustment, and that's been the hard part.
This month, the eclipses in Pisces and Virgo are back. They always come in pairs, two weeks apart, in the form of a full moon and new moon. The first will be a full moon lunar eclipse, on August 28 in Pisces. Next month, a solar new moon eclipse in Virgo will arrive on September 11.
As you get closer to the full moon lunar eclipse, August 28, however, life will turn a bit turbulent. If your birthday falls on or within five days of August 28, you will more likely be touched by events, either immediately or within the coming six months. However, it's possible you already felt the effects of this eclipse if you received sudden news about a relationship last month, near July 28, plus or minus five days.
Yes I do read Susan Miller's monthly horoscopes at the beginning of each month. They are so comprehensive. I believe in astrology. I categorize people according to their signs. I feel like there must be some truth in it, if not, how would it come about, how would it survive until today? There's something meaningful in ancient knowledge, tradition.
I think the future exists now, just like the past and the moment. In our religion classes our teacher Kemal Bey told us that God knows our destiny. I tried to reconcile that with free will, and I decided we do have free will, but God knows what we will choose anyway. The story is already there, we are just not there yet.
Just like the past is attached to the moment with strings, the future is, too. You might say, of course it is, now shapes the future. But it's not only 'now' that pulls the strings. Sometimes the future pulls the strings too. And then there's a sign, an impatient spark, short circuit. A sign to someone who can read it, or someone who thinks they can.
Maybe I'm making too much of it, as I usually do :)
I wish I had a sign, a small sign of where I'll be happy. Then I'd know where I'll end up at the end of the month.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
My trip home...
Today as I was about to pack my laptop I realized I don't have my laptop case. I looked for it in the room but couldn't find it. Then I remembered that I left it in the common room on Saturday and didn't realize I left it there until I needed it this morning. Something like this happened last year - I dropped my bracelet in a restaurant and the owner gave it to me the next week before I even realized I had dropped it. The problem is not the laptop case per se, but a rush of panic set in when I remembered the possibility that my passport and Ipod might be in it. I only use it when I travel, and I don't really unpack it until the next time I travel. Luckily I had taken everything out before I went down to the common room, so it's only the laptop case with some business cards that went missing! It reminded me of the little curses people dropped in the hot springs in Bath. I wish I could write one for my laptop case!
Then I made the mistake of taking the bus to Victoria! The bus literally went through the whole city and took a good 50 minutes. (Although Bond Street was quite pleasant.) You hate all the people that don't have a plane to catch. Everytime somebody hits stop you sink deeper into despair. I noticed it's usually elderly people who take the bus in the middle of the day.
I was in Victoria at 1 for my flight at 2:15. To cut the long story short, I got to Gatwick at 1:45 and barely made it thanks to the 10 min delay and helpful BA people. (Wow I never thought I would compliment BA for something... but the flight today was so smooth, too... Maashallah :)
Now my journals are done (although I never saw them printed, hope everything worked out well) and now is the time for the dissertation... Finally... I don't think I'll be able to write much in the blog for the next ten days. August has been stressful so far, I usually felt like that dream I had a couple of nights ago, where I lose control of the car I'm driving... but now I'm really happy to be home.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
I think there should be a feedback form when you're rejected. People should just fill it out and give it to you. And they should be honest too and explain... why? Why? I don't know why I think I need that so much right now.
Monday, August 13, 2007
“Hafıza,” diye yazmıştı bir köşe yazısında Celal, “bir bahçedir.” sf. 11.
“Uykunun huzuruna gömülmüş Rüya’nın kapıları kapalı bahçesinin söğütleri, akasyaları, asmalı gülleri ve güneşi altında gezinmek isterdi şimdi. Orada karşılaşacağı suratlardan utançla korkarak: Sen de mi buradaydın, merhaba! Bilip bekledigi tatsız anılar kadar, beklemediği erkek gölgelerini de merak ve acıyla görerek: Afedersiniz kardeşim, siz karımla nerede rastlaşmış ya da tanışmıştınız?” sf. 11
“Hayalinde kendisini arayan Rüya’nın yerine kendini koymuştu ki, yokluğunun acılarını Rüya nasıl hissediyor daha iyi anlayabilsin!.. Çok sonra, çocukluğun sonsuzluğu kadar uzun süren bir bekleyişten sonra, Galip, sabırsızlıkla ve asıl kendisinin sabırsızlığa yenildiğini düşünmeden birden dolabın üstünden inip gözlerini soluk lambaların ışığına alıştırıp, bu sefer kendisi, apartmanda Rüya’yı aramaya başlamıştı.
Kaçırdığı hayat parçacığı neredeydi?
“Beyoğlu’nda bir muhallebiciye oturmuştum; sırf kalabalık içersinde olmak için; ama cumartesi akşamının o sonsuzluk saatini doldurmaya çalışan benim gibi biriyle gözgöze gelirim diye kimseye de bakmıyordum: Benim gibi olanlar, birbirlerini hemen tanır ve küçümserler çünkü.” sf. 138.
“Gözlerini kısıp uzaktaki bir noktaya bakarken başka bir yere gittiğini, başka bir şey düşündüğünü anlayınca seni endişeyle severdim. Aklının içindekilerin bildiğim kadarını ve daha çok da bilmediğim kadarını korkuyla korkuyla severdim, Allahım!” sf. 145.
“Kimselere gözükmeden gizlice gittiğim randevuevlerinde, orospular öylelerine daha iyi davranıyorlar diye, yakın geçmişte başımdan korkunç ve umutsuz bir aşk macerası geçmiş bir umutsuz gibi yaptığımı hatırladım.” sf. 181.
“Sessizlerin, anlatmayı bilmeyenlerin, kendini dinletemeyenlerin, önemli gözükmeyenlerin, dilsizlerin, o iyi cevabı hep olaydan sonra evde düşünenlerin, insanların hikayelerini merak etmediği o kişilerin yüzleri diğerlerinden daha anlamlı, daha dolu değil mi? Sanki anlatamadıkları hikayelerin harfleriyle kaynaşıyor bu yüzler, sanki sessizliğin, ezikliğin, hatta yenilginin işaretleri var onlarda.” sf. 263.
“Hiçbir zaman inandıramadım seni kahramansız bir dünyaya neden inandığıma. Hiçbir zaman inandıramadım seni o kahramanları uyduran zavallı yazarların neden kahraman olmadıklarına. Hiçbir zaman inandıramadım seni o dergilerde resimleri çıkanların bizden başka bir soydan olduğuna. Hiçbir zaman inandıramadım seni sıradan bir hayata razı olman gerektiğine. Hiçbir zaman inandıramadım seni, o sıradan hayatta benim de bir yerim olması gerektiğine.” sf. 326.
“Bunlar, eli sıkı, hesaplı kişilerdi; ne içerken dünyayı unutabilirlerdi, ne de sevişirken; her şeyi bir düzene sokma saplantıları onları başarısız bir dost ve basarısız bir aşık yapardı yalnızca.” sf. 383.
“Fotoğrafının çekildiğini bilmeyen on beş yaşındaki Rüya, yanında bir kase leblebi, üzerinde basmadan kolsuz bir elbise, açık pencereden üzerine güneş vuran bir gazeteye eğilmiş, yüzünde Galip’e her zaman dışarıda bırakıldığını korkuyla sezdiren bir ifadeyle, bir yandan saçlarını çekiştiriyor, bir yandan da silgisini ısırdığı kalemle bilmece çözüyor.” sf. 389.
“Şehzade Osman Celalettin Efendi, düşüncelerinin ve kendi iradesinin saflığını bozan anılarıyla boğuşmak için kasrındaki bütün koku kaynaklarını kurutmuş, tanıdığı bütün eşyaları ve elbiseleri yok etmiş, müzik denen uyuşturucu sanatla ve hiç çalmadığı beyaz piyanosuyla ilişkisini kesmiş ve kasrının bütün odalarını beyaza boyatmıştı.” sf. 411.
“’Şehzade Osman Celalettin Efendi, ona aşık olamayacağına inandığı için korkusuzca Leyla Hanım’a yüreğini açabilmişti...’ ... ‘Ama korkusuzca ona yüreğimi açabildiğim tek kadın olduğu için de hemen ona aşık oldum.
Leyla Hanım’ın ölümünden sonra, üzüldüğünü ve özgürleştiğini yazdırmıştı Şehzade.” sf. 415.
“Otelden çıkıp bindiği takside şoför bir hikaye anlatmaya başladı. İnsanın ancak hikaye anlatarak kendisi olabileceğini anladığı için Galip şoförün anlattıklarını hoşgörüyle dinliyordu.” sf. 420.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
They pay you for your opinion
Something really weird happened. Because there was still 9 minutes to the train at Oxford Circus (and the air inside the station was unbearable) I walked up the stairs and back onto the street. I was still kind of tipsy from the few drinks I had. Then I walked several stops towards Tottenham Court Road, and got onto the bus. Two really sleazy-looking, glassy-eyed older guys sat next to me and started talking. When they found out that I went to the LSE, they started asking me the kind of questions about the world economy that often my parents ask, questions they already know the answers to, they are just quizzing you. It reminded me of an internship interview where I stunned my interviewer with my deep ignorance. I mumbled about the credit troubles and mortgage crisis, found out that they are in "property business" and they "trade for themselves." Just making small talk, I mentioned the high housing prices, and they asked me how long I think high prices were going to last. I said I had no idea. At that point they had made up their mind that I'm pretty darn stupid. They gave me this small horrible lecture about how higher interest rates curb inflation and how Mervyn King is about to raise the rates (fittingly the bus was just passing by Bank.) Bernanke, on the other hand, is apparently not so keen on raising them because he's worried about slowing growth in the US. Earlier, at about St. Paul's, they had asked me what I wanted to do and I said I wanted to be a journalist.
They told me that at any kind of job people will pay me for my opinion and I should have my own opinion. That made me question what the point of my $160,000+GBP 20,000=5 years-education was. I felt like I'm genuinely wasting away, defying the whole purpose of all that I've done so far. And I have this expectation that whatever I do, it should be more than enough. In fact, what I do is far below par. I'm really just a lucky spoiled girl who always had it too easy, and expects it to continue being like that. I don't understand that I should bring something worthwhile to the table, and people have no obligation to listen to me, care about me or respect me if I don't.
Only today I called up this venture capitalist who funds clean tech companies and he was so passionate and confident about his work. I don't want to be the person who calls up people all the time. I want to be someone people call up. And I need to have my own opinion and brains for that.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Jesse: It is a great morning. Do you think we'd have others like this. (Céline smiles) What?
Céline: What about our rational, adult decision?
Jesse: Oh, yeah. Yeah. I know what you mean about wishing somebody wasn't there, though. It's just usually it's myself that I wish I could get away from. Seriously, think about this. I have never been anywhere that I haven't been. I've never had a kiss when I wasn't one of the kissers. You know, I've never, um, gone to the movies, when I wasn't there in the audience. I've never been out bowling, if I wasn't there, you know making some stupid joke. I think that's why so many people hate themselves. Seriously, it's just they are sick to death of being around themselves. Let's say that you and I were together all the time, then you'd start to hate a lot of my mannerisms. The way, uh, the way every time we would have people over, uh, I'd be insecure, and I'd get a little too drunk. Or, uh, the way I'd tell the same stupid pseudo-intellectual story again, and again. You see, I've heard all those stories. So of course I'm sick of myself. But being with you, uh, it had made me feel like I'm somebody else. You know the only other way to lose yourself like that is, um, you know, dancing, or alcohol, or drugs, and stuff like that.
I'm so bored of myself. I'm so bored of hearing myself talk about the same things and think about the same things. I'm bored of promising myself I won't be late to work and being late again. I'm bored of people joking about it. I'm bored of promising myself that I'll read that many pages and never read them. I'm really, really, really bored of my blog-writing self.
Saturday, August 04, 2007
-Alexander Pope on London
It was only fitting to go to the Global Cities exhibition at Tate Modern after having talked about being ordinary in London. Crowds by Eva Koch captured exactly what I was trying to explain.
The exhibition was really inspiring. It gave a good glimpse into the life in far away cities, and showed that the problems are very similar across the board. (I thought it was a good glimpse because the videos of Istanbul really felt like home.) Cities guarantee exciting lives. Large numbers of people lead to multiplied possibilities: Possibilities for all kinds of jobs, different people, art events, festivals, clubs, restaurants, neighborhoods. The freedom brought by anonymity. Big cities continue to attract people like magnets.
But the diversity and size that makes cities so exciting is also what makes them overwhelming and dangerous. As new people from different socio-economic backgrounds come to the city, they struggle to survive. Some of them have no choice but to live in slums, creating circles of poverty around the city. Some of them are pushed inwards because the well-off want to live in their own segregated paradise in the suburbs. Public transportation and sewage systems are pushed to their limits, and there is no open space to get away from the hustle and bustle. As inequalities rise, some neighborhoods become no-go crime zones. Middle class tries to protect themselves by bullet-proof cars, picket fences and alarm systems. Surviving in the city is an occupation and challenge in itself, taking much energy. But it also seems like the best thing anyone can do with one's time in this world.
I see this as an example of how individual rational choice does not lead to socially optimal outcomes. The individual choices add up to something diverse and exciting, a spontaneity and variety that couldn't be planned by any central planner, but also to something ugly and overwhelming. The city as an organism may seem very exciting and inspiring. But each individual in it, while contributing to it and enjoying it, also suffers from being a teeny weeny particle in this mighty organism. A cell in the blood circulating through the streets. The organism doesn't really care about you, you have to go by its rules to survive. Each city comes with its own terms and conditions that limit its constituents' freedom. But again, it's the price we all pay for constant stimulation.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Why are we meanest to the people who clearly love us, who are the most vulnerable in front of us? Why are we impatient, tactless, thoughtless with the ones that care the most for us, do the most for us? I frown at my family like I can to no other. I say whatever to my closest friends. Because I know they will stay. I'm horrible to guys who make the mistake of liking me. Because I know I've already won them. There is nothing to be won anymore. They are not interesting anymore. There is no challenge.
I'm strong against someone because I don't care. Somebody else is strong against me because they don't care. They will just read what I write for them and they will find it cheesy, pathetic. I will read what the others write for me and I will find it cheesy, pathetic.
Even now, writing this, I know I'm being weak and uninteresting and unmysterious. But the unfairness in this actually breaks my heart, that's why I'm writing it. The only way to win the admiration of people is to stay independent of their influence, out of their reach. Loving someone is not enough reason to be loved back. Being strong and independent is what makes people admirable.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
I run away from regrets. To run away from regrets, I must confront my fears and laziness and longing for security. That lag is what shapes my life and decisions.
I adore beauty. Beautiful songs, places, people, sights, smells, food, books. I'm trying to expand myself: To hear more of good music, read more of good books, meet more of good people. I travel to cities like Istanbul, Rome, Milan, London, Berlin, Bremen and Prague. According to me, all of these cities, including my hometown, Izmir, are like stages, which host many stories and people. All the actors and actresses leave their signs on the streets, bridges, buildings, leave their scent in the air. I read books as good as Jitterbug Perfume, 1984 and My Name Is Red. I like those unique books and their authors who look at the world from a different point of view than everyone else. I see movies as good as the Fight Club, the Matrix, American Beauty and Moulin Rouge. I am astonished by all the big and interesting inventions and discoveries made by determined people. I know people who are intelligent but who still remain down-to-earth. My parents are such people and I learn so much from them!
However, I’m never completely happy and peaceful. As I look at all the beautiful things, I get jealous. When I read a good sentence from a book, when I see a good illustration in a painting, when I hear a good song, my admiration and joy mixes with annoyance. How happy I would get if I was a beautiful person and if I created beautiful things!
I see myself a part of a big picture. I’m curious, I want to rise on my toes to see and understand more. Only when I understand more of this world, I will be able to create meaningful things. I know that I have to open eyes, observe and understand; I have to live, work, read, see, sacrifice and collect information. I know that I have to MAKE myself more beautiful to make the picture more beautiful. The easiest thing I can change and develop in this picture is myself.
My way of expressing myself has been writing up to now. It's like collecting a lot of things in you and reorganizing them in an original way. I want to produce a lot and affect a lot of people. I love to write essays on subjects I “understand”, and therefore have something to say about.
I’m sometimes bored of my every day life. Through all my responsibilities, I hardly see the beauty. I want amazing surprises to happen suddenly. Though, when opportunities do come, I can’t find the courage in myself to decide right away. I want to avoid risks.
Even right now, I’m running away from regrets. I’m working hard on an essay. I know I won’t be able to live a satisfactory life if I don’t try hard enough to reach my goals. I will have to bare regrets if I don’t live a full life. I know I have to take away so much from the world and give so much in return. I remember a saying by Lord Tennyson, a famous English poet, and repeat it to myself with a smile: So many worlds, so much to do; so little done, such things to be!
Friday, July 27, 2007
you see a lot of people walking fast. fat people. good-looking people. well-dressed bankers. lawyers. people with thinning hair and receding hairlines. blonde frizzy hair, burnt from too much intervention. huge afros. red beautiful hair that moves as one mass. tired people. people walking fast, ignited with an unexplainable source of motivation. people waiting for the bus. crazy guy with horribly long rasta hair. two japanese men passed out from the gentle massage at the hair dresser. people talking on the phone with a smile on their faces. couples kissing. really handsome guys with perfect hair. middle aged fit women with a really rough mask on their faces, like they've been out in the cold for too long. old, tired men in trenchcoats with sleepy eyes. women in suits, tights and sneakers. small fat women. women checking themselves out on shop windows. sometimes I just pick one person and look at them hard. sometimes they have a smile for no apparent reason. interesting thing watching people when they are not interacting with anyone, when they are walking alone, submerged in their own thoughts and worries. some of them self-conscious with muscles on their faces twitching, some of them truly lost in thought. all these cells in the blood that circulates in the london streets. addicted to running. then, each of these cells has a life. each of them is in a bloated, all-so-important bubble of their own. imagine everyone having a life just like your own! so much information, so much memory and emotion, yet each of them a huge isolated bubble. they have hopes, disappointments, connections, people who care for them. and then they are just a cell in blood, so ordinary. no apparent reason to pay attention to them separately, because they are all like one another. london will spit them out soon.
how many people really pay attention to me? I think I'm so special, but noone seems to care. where do I stand on that big, invisible ladder that ranks people? we are immune to even the best now, because there are too many of them, so who should care about me when I'm clearly not the best? I hate it when people on the street look through me, turning their eyes quickly, not finding me interesting enough to really look at. I would always imagine passerby's admired me, but now I know they don't. but how many of them catch my attention anyway? we just pass by. nowadays I feel very ordinary, very unimportant. I hate that.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
The incumbent Justice and Development Party has won the parliamentary elections. This result was expected, and I don't get those that are so angry and disappointed at it. Here are vote and MP distributions in 2002 and today, as of now:
AKP - 2002: 34.43%, 365; 2007: 46.62%, 340
CHP - 2002: 19.41%, 177; 2007: 20.91%, 111
MHP - 2002: 8.35%, 0; 2007: 14.27%, 71
Independents - 2002: 0.96%, 8; 2007: 5.7%, 28.
If I were in Turkey today, I would have voted for AKP. It's not because I agree with the fellows at the Economist. Having spent some time in Turkey recently, I am well aware of the government's flaws, double standards and negligence, as well as the corruption allegations that seem well-founded. Despite some journalists' willingness to portray a different picture, much went wrong during their term, and we shouldn't forget. The murder of the Council of State judges, the murder of Hrant Dink, Article 301 and rising nationalism, the uneasy current account deficit, wide-spread unemployment among the youth, soaring crime rates, unbelievably atrocious crime stories, the EU disappointment, horrendous public transportation, the derailed fast train, worries over earthquakes, drought, erosion and forest fires that remain unaddressed, the deep divides in the society - and those are not only religious or ethnic divides, they are divides between rich and poor, educated and ignorant. They simply did not do enough. And they also did not lift the headscarf ban.
But let's take a look at AKP's rivals: CHP, one that does not formulate any policy except for stirring up fear and anger against religious fundamentalists, foreign investors, businessmen, European Union. They make up the "secular elite" alongside the military, and them branding themselves secular is not enough reason for anyone to vote for them. Their leader Deniz Baykal is famous for both his ambition that undermines the success of his own party and his incompetence.
I don't need to say much about the blind, irrational nationalism of MHP. Their increasing popularity is the only thing that truly disturbs me about this election. They are abusing the sentiment about the increasing clashes between the PKK and Turkish soldiers in the South East. Although the injustices done to Kurds by the Turkish state are clear, nothing can justify the violence inflicted by the PKK. Especially after reading Mutluluk by Zülfü Livaneli, I appreciate more and more the difficulty and meaning of what our soldiers are doing there, of course all we can do is imagine, there is no way to truly understand. It is so appalling and two-faced that the US and Iraqi Kurds are not trying in good faith to stop PKK. All the same, I find it very dangerous that growing numbers of people go for the hate-inflicting, "testosterone-driven" nationalism.
Finally, Mehmet Ağar's centre-right DP lost miserably, getting only 5.43% of the vote, despite its equivalent ANAP's failure to enter the election after a doomed merger between the parties. Ağar's alleged association with the "deep state" was a big liability, although the media seemed to forget the accusations and the trials. AKP gained much ground in centre-right to the expense of DP and ANAP. Centre right is the most favourable place to stand in Turkish political spectrum.
More people will be represented in this parliament than the last one, which is good. Running independent enabled Kurdish candidates in the eastern and south eastern provinces to get around the 10% threshold for political parties. They came first in Tunceli, Muş, Diyarbakır, Şırnak, Hakkari and Iğdır. AKP increased its votes but will have a healthier, smaller majority, forcing it to come up with a compromise candidate for President (unless they try to push through the referendum option immediately.)
A new party is desperately needed. A new party made up of liberal-minded, well-qualified, idealistic yet practical people. People who won't try to gain support by simply standing on one side or the other of the religious and ethnical divides, but instead work for better education and employment for all in good faith. People who understand the world economy and the importance of being open and competitive. A party that's not just the best option among the bad.