How the world quickly forgot about Ukraine... - SÜLEYMAN SEYFI ÖĞÜN

How the world quickly forgot about Ukraine...

Do you recall the early days of the Ukraine-Russia war? World media poured its reporters into the region, and presented the developments of this war – up to the finest detail – as the primary agenda for days. So, what happened later? There is only one answer to this question: They got bored and let go. Today, only a few months later, though we know the war is ongoing, a war whose end is uncertain, there is no news from Ukraine unless a very striking development takes place. 


There is nothing strange in the picture. Memory requires patience. Modernity struck a very heavy blow on the memory. There are a few dimensions to this. First, modernist groups started to undermine old cultures’ great investments in memories. It was claimed that memorized information unnecessarily drains mental operations, and causes transfer. In the modern stage of written-print culture, memorization would no longer be an obligation, the mind would relax, and use its branches with greater ease. Knowledge could be refreshed when required, using books and other similar devices in which they are stored. As the time mental operations spend on memorization is thus saved, new and “creative” information could be acquired through analytical and synthetic reasonings, and abstractions. 


All these theories were right, but partially. Surely, the existence and prevalence of written and print culture mediums provided ease and increased efficiency. Additionally, it ended the information monopolies that fed on transfer and liberated the production and sharing of information. One would need to be an obscurantist in order to not celebrate these democratization processes. Thus, there have been a great number of tensions between former information monopolies, and new and free information groups. (All this is explained beautifully in Umberto Eco’s “The Name of the Rose.”) These fights were the resistance of groups that lost their privileges and benefits. Just as the Luddites (machine breakers) lost, so did they. 


But it should be remembered that history’s course is dialectic. History does not accept evenness. There is a hidden dip in every slope, a tough slope secretly grows in every dip. The democratization and efficiency of knowledge had grave outcomes as well. First, millions of books and multiple more articles made information technically inaccessible. The solution was to become professional and specialize. This gave rise to new information monopolies. Similar to light’s inversion into darkness, the world was filled with experts who knew a great deal in one field but displayed severe ignorance in other subjects. Our information world filled its loading limit and broke down. It became almost impossible to establish a relationship between information. We were no longer able to carry our knowledge. Having general culture, in other words, having some knowledge of everything became a temperamental solution. The state of the U.S. public, with a growing difference between an expert minority and an utterly ignorant majority, is a typical example of this. This is the irony of history: epistemological democratization was crowned with an anti-democratic development. 


It is at this point that the epistemological collapse was accompanied by something else: Lack of memory. In a world where we failed to establish a connection between events, the memory which we were already undermining fell short. As a result, humanity was left with no ties and memories. A plastic expression that emerged as developing awareness explains exactly this. This means we are unaware of the life we live. 


Tailoring is one of the professions I most respect. I would always look up to tailors in admiration. They would bring together pieces of fabric with great mastery to produce a garment. We are now in the age of ready-to-wear clothes. In a world without ties and memories, information moved onto ready-to-wear, which has become the subject of production and consumption. Internet epistemology is the cheapest market for this. It is a massive junkyard where, as a reaction to the antidemocratic developments that emerged as a result of specialization, everyone plunders all sorts of information, and throws it out once they are done using it. 


As a matter of fact, this is all in coherence with capitalism. It spread plain education and learning to make submissive big populations, so they would run to production. In the meantime, it did not hold back on establishing information monopolies that served its own interests. It did not care about the difference. In the next stage, the same masses were driven to consumption. The submission, which prescribes discipline was replaced by seduction and provocation. The result is childish humanity without memory, unable to mentally process its experiences, easily consumes in the moment and then gets bored quickly, becomes brutal when it loses.  


Note that nothing written here is an intellectual "act of remembrance" with the aim of triggering feuds. They are a part of the provoked world as well. I would prefer being forgotten rather than being remembered through a lack of ties. 


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