In Praise of Always Seeking Yourself Again

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Oruç Aruoba was a quiet person, as those who knew him would know and those who did not would guess. Producing is the skill of those who see silence not as a space of escape, but as a way to (re)recognize life and themselves. If we think that only action, being on the move, is a virtue, we are wrong. It is the body that jumps, passes, drifts. The mind accompanies the body here and gradually evaporates. Producing is something that gains value through writing, painting, thinking, colors, sounds – increasingly through the trinity of blood, sweat and tears. Here, it is a great move for the person not to rise above what they do, not to put their name above their work, and to stand in a corner believing in the goodness and beauty of the work. Stay underground.

On May 31, 2020, Oruç Aruoba said goodbye to the world. Quietly and calmly. His farewell to the world,
with a body and a form unknown to the world. His spirit continues to be in the company of readers, writers and those who place thinking at an important place in their lives. For example, Walking is a book that can open up new ways of walking with each reading. But if a path is opened, if it can be opened, then it is worthwhile for us to walk. And every path we take starts from a path that has already been paved. Then we discover hidden, secret, perhaps mundane paths, widening and deepening the path. Even exploring paths that lead nowhere is a story. We can share it with others, we can tell them “the end of the story is sad, but it was wonderful to have lived such a story”.

I will not mention Oruç Aruoba and Walking in this article. I prefer to respect the quiet life of the author and the meaningful structure of the book. I intend to choose just one sentence and think along with it. Every intention is a need. I want us to go out together to the balcony that the sentences open in me, take a look around, and if we feel cold, we can go back to the windowsill. Those who are afraid can leave the house at any time, there is no harm in parting ways. Anyway, none of us traveled the same roads to get here, maybe we traveled similar roads. Same and similar, very different.

“What one postpones is, in fact, always oneself.”
Already in the morning, we start thinking not about what we will do that day, but about what(s) we will do the next day. One day brings us not that day, but the day after that. With this in mind, it is possible to see human beings as “porters of life”. A ship docks at the harbor, we tie the rope and untie it when the ship leaves. The ship leaves, then a new one arrives, then a new one. All we do is tie the rope. What happens on board, who comes and goes, what stories are told, is not our concern. I wonder if the ship is our comfort zone here? May he be spared, may we be tired, may we not even think about it, may we adopt such a life-consuming way of life and just float, and at some points of this floating we may experience disheveled explosions and so on? Selfishly, spoiled or earnestly, every time we don’t think about ourselves, we postpone ourselves. Knowing the day when there will be no possibility of postponing it.

“A person is one who never reaches his own bottom.”
One day we want to make a move towards ourselves. Making a dream come true that we haven’t done so far, writing a story with more spiritual satisfaction, reading that big book that has been waiting on the shelf for a long time, sitting down with a friend who has a permanent place in our hearts, even if he or she is out of our minds. At the end of the day, they are all opportunities to see ourselves, to measure ourselves. What do I care about myself, how much do I care about myself? Success or failure is never a measure here. Because every step not taken is a forfeit. To know our limits well enough, we need to dive so deep that we drown. To appreciate the breath, one must first appreciate the heart. A heart that does not beat is as heavy as a stone. Moved, not lived in.

“There are no new places.”
When we get home, we always want to park our car in the same place. We look there first, and only there. And with great concern. We don’t care about the space next to it, behind it, diagonally across it. First where I know, first where I am known. Where was the key to the house? It’s right there in the bag. It can’t possibly be anywhere else. I am very organized, I have an extraordinary discipline. Whatever I’m looking for, I find it where I’m looking for it. Should this be a matter of pride, or a deed of an inner realm that has closed all avenues to contradiction, difference, originality? It is essential that there is a reasonable amount of anxiety and concern in our bond. Is there a minute without palpitations for a revolutionary? To be ready, to live in a state of constant readiness, to have everything ready. Sometimes one also needs to be caught off guard. To say “I was never like this”, to make sentences saying “it turns out that I…”. It can be a way of getting to know ourselves again, in a way we have never done before. There is no new place, until there is a new “you”. Or let’s put it this way: There is no new place, until you find the you in you. So the place you return to every day is just the place you return to.

“One can be – and is – a prisoner of one’s own way of life!”
The job we can’t quit, the house we can’t change, the other person we can’t get to know, the food we can’t give up, the events we can’t object to; they gradually draw the framework of our lives. We always look for what we should do, how it should be, questions and answers within this framework. We are very afraid of outside the frame. The moment we start to question, we feel we have stepped on a slippery slope. Imagine a child using roller skates for the first time. After he takes his first step, he immediately looks behind him to see if his mom, dad and friends are there. It is as if he believes that he will fall. That’s what this captivity reminds me of. The stories are written by those who can ride a bicycle for the first time and pedal a lap, those who do not hesitate to strum an instrument, those who manage to have a conversation from the middle of a book, in other words, those who are considered “outliers” or “weird”. Then we look at these stories and say wow, what people can do. We have no intention of building the frame that we so carefully construct on the outside, somewhere on the inside. Because we know that the inner realm cannot be enclosed by any framework.

“What matters is what we experience from the inside.”
We know that something that is lived from the inside will come out anyway, explosively. The reason why we nurture and grow that thing inside first is to deepen its meaning. Then, when it goes out, we want it to keep the same meaning. It’s like a book that has been read and felt to the fullest on the inside, transforming into a narrative or writing on the outside. Isn’t our relationship with matter sometimes like that? Isn’t that t-shirt, that bag, that hat that we buy with pleasure often just to be told “how good it looks on you?”? But there’s also this incongruity: a watch that no one notices, a necklace that we don’t want to show off, that shoe that we love to wear even though it’s frayed at the tip, it gives us great pleasure. Not just pleasure, but a meaning, a path, a familiarity that we find for ourselves. We have a story because it happened inside, we don’t want to tell it. All this aside, we are increasingly living as an outward-looking, outward-connected people. We have no stories to hide from anyone, the dreams we are afraid to tell are dwindling, life is passing us by. On that day, we will be exhausted.

“The one who sets out (…) is the one who walks the path.”
People who do not betray themselves in life are always looking for a place, a direction, a path. Let’s not think of it as a state of perpetual unrest, because that is not the way to live. Sometimes it is a search for meaning, sometimes it is a plan to make a contribution to life, to the environment, and indeed to oneself first. Gradually it becomes a life plan. This search, and even the inability to find it, begins to give one pleasure. In time, it knows where to look for what and where to lose what. The most interesting and perhaps the most fascinating part of it is that such people are familiar with building a story, no matter what the end of the story is. Familiarity breeds affection. With life, with man, with the earth. The secret of the traveler is to always be curious. He wonders, he searches, he cannot find it. He wonders, he searches, he finds. He prefers always searching, sometimes not finding, to taking the “known paths”. Because traveling is no different from following the footsteps of others. To seek shelter is to seek refuge. Walking the path is for those who are willing to pave the way. To make others experience the meaning they find in themselves. To really live. We care about living.

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