940) Importance Of Historical Consciousness

Life is like a living organism; the traditions, customs, governmental systems, cuisines and dressing styles are all subject to the inevitable reality -- change. The changes that occur are the consequences of the "dynamism" embedded in life itself; life does not fossilize thanks to this dynamism, the driving power, in its structure.

Historical consciousness enables societies to exist despite these inevitable changes. If this consciousness is not strong enough, it may break our national consciousness into pieces and may turn it into a schizophrenic situation.

All social and natural events in our lives have historical backgrounds. As long as we avoid explaining these events to ourselves, we will continue walking in our sleep. However, if we try to conceive of events, we will understand their meanings and feel the need to think of how we can make them better. Societies lacking historical consciousness consider themselves only as tools, means, shadows and nameless fragments. Hence, such societies seek happiness or the continuation of their existence in the lives of other societies.

We are at the threshold moment opening up to a new future after ages-long struggles, and to countries we conquered with fanfare. This means history is not entrapped by history, on the contrary, it is life put in front of us. Historical consciousness keeps our consciousness awake by saving us from a rootless identity and links us to eternity. This phenomenon which functions in society as historical consciousness is created by the philosophy of history that is a product of intellectual minds.

The philosophy of history reproduces itself in the society as wisdom, not as knowledge. It cannot fully explain the events but can predict them. The literacy rate during the Turkish War of Independence was between 10-12 percent. University graduates were very rare. There was hardly any governmental authority in territories under Turkish control and the country was on the verge of disintegration. An incredible number of foreign organizations were operating in the country. The British brought Kurdish rulers together in the northern city of Van and lectured them on the need to establish a new state.

Kurdish rulers realized that the British really wanted to establish an Armenian state in the region. The British attempted once again to actualize their plans of establishing small states in Western Anatolia. However, the Circassian people who lived in the region opposed the establishment of a Cricassian state more than any other minority. Thanks to the national consciousness of Turkish citizens in Eastern and Western regions, the Turks could easily guard against the tricks that threatened our national existence and secure our independence.

The Soviet Union attempted to occupy Afghanistan. Despite the severe imbalance of power between the two countries, the tough Afghan warriors defeated the Soviet forces. It was not difficult for them to recognize the enemy that's why they could easily achieve unity.

However, the Afghan people could not enhance domestic peace when there was no enemy threatening their existence, because their national consciousness was not strong enough and the slightest difference was enough to tear them apart. In all societies there are differences that can easily turn into clashes but national consciousness does not allow them to disturb social order. For instance, is it possible to separate Germans as Catholics and Protestants? Can you shake the German national consciousness bolstered by the philosophy of history acquired as a result of thorough historical analyses and experiments?

National consciousness is not a God-given quality. The metaphysical atmosphere, historical knowledge, painful experiments and other similar factors constitute national consciousness. However, the greatest source of national consciousness is historical awareness.

Aug. 17, 2006


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