Philosophy on Kerbstones II – turn-around …

And we really should turn them around, trying to be playful with ideas – finally we know from Schiller

For, to speak out once for all, man only plays when in the full meaning of the word he is a man, and he is only completely a man when he plays.

…, the play, this play had been beginning today, arriving by bus from the airport at  Taksim Meydanı – Taksim square. Going there I feel some estrangement: It is so attractive, driving along the coastline which is in some way the opening to the world – the Bosphorus Strait as hub; then, after passing the roundabout it is getting so busy, so vivid and having its own character: certain rules that are surely here also in place are covered by other rules – the bus stop is one thing, the quick exchange with the driver is another thing, both having the same result: the bus stops; but it is happing in different places. Ad character of this vivid cenre is only given by the fact of being actually only located at the periphery.

Byzantium and Constantinople – places well known from history: shifting boarders: kerbstones, marking different periods. The city, it is said: today the 2nd largest city in the world [but can we really trust this source, giving two different assessments on the same subject (in any cases a good place to get attuned to Moscow next week, supposedly there are 16 Million people living there – supposedly as information on this varies), had been characterised by being part of different countries, reference for different entities: the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, but also functioning as a kind of bridge – or should we say: extended arm: East meets West, and West meets East. A clash of civilisations and also a conflation.

As said: Playing – becoming real … – and if we turn the kerbstones around we find them as stepping stones: not the exclusionary and excluding borders but points where we can merge in different worlds, reach higher insides and possibly virtues? Like a dancer, reaching out into some new arrays, some form of ne heights of feeling, thinking and understanding. Sure, this needs rehearsal: Taksim Meydanı

A kerb- and stepping stone: then and now marking also historical changes. Being the centre of an empire – and “changing empires” means also: being centre of different historical eras. Hegemonies may be created in different ways – and just reading about the changing and emerging class structures throughout the history of the Ottoman empire and modern Turkey shows that hegemonies are indeed complex developments. But they are always manifested in some kind of centre as this city with its historical square.

A kerb- and stepping stone: And walking around is just showing this also for today: West meets East does not equal Modernity meets Tradition. But this part of the city definitely shows exactly this. The modern shops – be they Turkish retailers or part of international or even global chains and a small step aside, arriving at the other side. Sure, this other side is only the other side for us – as much as we come from the other side. The never ending story …

…, walking through the small alleys, sitting down for a tea.Looking at the haste and rest. Hookahs on the tiny tables, just leaving enough space for a glass with tea, … and the menu with the Spanish name and the obvious art nouveau ornament – a new style, the Style of Youth*, the modern style**, the style of liberty ***. People at the neighbouring tables playing, chatting – manifestation of different cultures, languages, as exhibited in the displays of the books shops, second hand books shops, offering not for everybody but for many something that can be understood and will be of interest.

May be later the stories told here in the alleys will be read: stories of anger and love, of harshness and tenderness, of conflict and understanding – timeless and always new, always different. Seemingly without system, not following the standard of which I learn this day from a friend

When you get your statistical results (in our days a lot of numbers) you only need to change the wording of your analysis. The key words are: larger than, less than, equal to. Grew by, decreased by, stayed the same, etc.

I look around – ne is sitting there, on his own – a book on the table, and a notebook, the pages filling fast, the nib of the exclusive writing utensil filling the white papers. He occasionally pauses for a moment, continues filling the paper. What seems to be first a kerbstone: a white expanse, repulsive, saying Beware of Trespassing by being just a blank page  …, it emerges to a stepping stone, invites as

mind bender.

May be he writes for his work: a book, an article – perhaps he is a journalist; may also be he writes already these stories: stories that are seemingly always the same and still do never repeat. May be he writes papers

that make one think, arouse discussion, if one has the patience to read him.

What he writes about may look as if it would repeat but

his work is not repeated but expanded upon. New knowledge may come about, not new information.

The art nouveau as matter of crossing boarders, playing with them – and respecting …, well, respecting the need to overcome them. A matter of time, a matter of enchantment: the joys of exploring new worlds. And a matter of disenchantment: the cumbersome analysis of details, also figures at times, the chagrin of seeing the lack of reason, the lack of understanding, seeing the Inability to Grieve, evolving to an Inability to Communicate.

Still, at and around Taksim Meydanı – a kerb- and stepping stone: as history and hegemony; the question of progress is of course also and not least – hic at nunc – a social question: the old social question, though it may be brought forward in very different forms.

This square had been surely a place where all these tensions came occasionally to outbreaks: the bitterness of history, the tedious ‘small print of history’ – small, as we too often look only at the large results, easily forgetting the how we got there.

All the successes though we can say that there had been successes, are not least a matter of enchantments and disenchantments; matters of the small print which leaves us with illusions, seeing stones as kerbstones or as stepping stones, making it so extremely difficult to see them together. As part of the history of which we are part, the history we all are making.

Isn’t it true? – We surely should not forget to ask!



*German: art nouveau Jugendstil

** Spanish: arte modernista

*** Italian: stile liberty

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