The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 3, 2007

Human Rights

Ömer Naci Soykan
Pages 191-195

Looking at the World from Istanbul as a Metaphor

The problem of environment is the leading common problem of people living on Earth, the sky and soil of which have been polluted. I believe that pollution in a broad sense is the basis for all other important problems of this world. Man has polluted himself and Earth. In the former, which is called cultural pollution, man becomes alienated from other members of his own species and in the latter, which is called physical pollution, man becomes alienated from nature of which he is a child. Both problems, which are based on alienation, show the deficiency in the implementation of the idea of the unity of man and nature, of the unity of mankind. The unity of humanity presupposes the consciousness of living in a common world and of the fact that man is a child of Earth. The possibility of and the necessity for such a consciousness to come into being in a physical-geographical space, which is metaphorically represented by Istanbul, in which different cultures managed to exist side by side throughout history, shows itself more clearly in the present day. Istanbul might be seen as the city which is probably most suitable for being seen as a metaphor for a world in which the idea of the unity of humanity may be realized in the future, because it is an entrance to Asia with its eastern side and to Europe with its western side and as such the point of intersection of the eastern and western cultures. It was a cosmopolitan city and still is. Having a look at the world from Istanbul as a metaphor is in a sense the same as having a look at Istanbul itself.