Welcome friends, today I will be discussing a great man, a man who I claim still relevant in our modern days even though he is a child of the eighteenth century. The man I am talking about is Petr Chaadaev. A Russian philosopher who was born in 1794, wrote a book called “Philosophical Letters Addressed to a Lady” in 1829 and a declared as a madman because of this book.
I have been informed about him when I was able to pay the monthly payment for www.thegreatcoursesplus.com, which is a brilliant education site if you are seeking for some place that teaches about humanities and history. You can read one of his passages from here. From this point on I assume that you have read this text and I will be making my extrapolations from it.
First of all his statements regarding “we are neither of the West nor of the East” kind of hit the mark for my country which is in a similar conundrum since its inception in 1923. Then he continues to hammer his way on by remarking on a thing that’s also very common right now:
In our homes, we are like guests; to our families, we are strangers; and in our cities we seem like nomads
This statement is also hitting the mark very closely, because whomever I speak about his/her future everybody thinks to move to somewhere else from wherever they are and do something else from whatever they are doing right now. Our minds have gotten used to this sense of flux and we always have one feet on the future, nonexistent - only existing in our minds with an unhealthy amount of idealism and wishful thinking and one feet on the present.
Then he moves to a subject I am very hooked on, imitative/imported culture. To be honest even though it was on my mind for quite some time, I have never - and probably never will - expressed it in such a poetic manner like Mr. Chadaaev. In one paragraph he indicates why this is a bad idea, how does it affect the culture that is lived and how it kills the possibility of a geniune and organically built culture which is reflecting the maturity path that society endured until that day:
We absorb all our ideas ready-made, and therefore the indelible trace left in the mind by a progressive movement of ideas, which gives it strength, does not shape our intellect. We grow, but we do not mature; we move, but along a crooked path, that is, one that does not lead to the desired goal.
How magnificently written!
I have to add a self criticism here. I know there is a certain kind of irony, writing this text in English but not in Turkish which kind of seems like a hypocrisy but considering I have subconsciously selected the language of the site as English… well so it goes.
Hope you liked him, friends!