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Monday, August 24, 2015

The Axis of Life

We find ourselves in a world that has changed dramatically. That is how it should be, for life is all about change.

But there are also things that will always remain to ground the ever-changing turn of life, where the role of charity, family, duty and compassion perseveres.

As the planet revolves, always changing, it does so on a stable axis, and our axis on which life turns must be these roles - which we embrace quietly and modestly. In this way we can embrace an uncertain future without compromising those things that are important.

These qualities do not breed intolerance: We show charity and compassion to even our deadliest "enemies", and we know our duty to our families - to love and accept them for who they are, and have the potential to be.

You don't have to be religious to have a grasp of charity, or to show compassion. You just have to tap into the part of you that respects all life.

It's a mutual understanding that life is about sharing. About caring. About joining to become stronger than individual parts, and yet without losing our individual uniqueness, for it is our diversity that makes our alliances stronger. The more diverse we are, the more we can bring to the table.

We will all be in different places mentally. Again, like constant change, that is how it should be. It provides the impetus to communicate, to listen, to forge bonds through discussion. Every failure to connect is an opportunity to gain experience for the next try. The more we fail, the more we learn, not only about ourselves, but each other, and thus grow stronger. It's a strength that can only be forged together, and like our DNA, it can only be strengthened through diversity.

What are we going to learn by sticking rigidly to cultural tribes, superficial differences that have evolved through the mere accident of birth and time? All we learn is rhetoric, and to romanticise our own culture out of all plausible perspective. In such situations we merely learn to reminisce, rather than change and grow, on an axis of life where charity and compassion perseveres above all.

It stops us from thinking outside the box. Exceptional people like Belgian Henri La Fontaine - a pacifist lawyer who promoted his work as a means to bring peace to the world - knew this. Musical artists constantly looking for strange, new and diverse sounds are aware of this. The Weeknd has always been an artist that captures attention for his creativity and ingenuity. He has always pushed the envelop with sound, and his song "Often" which samples an old Turkish track is clear proof of that.

But there are others who still don't understand that: Voters in Turkey will be going to the polls again after efforts were abandoned to form a coalition government. As a nation Turkey is still failing to realise that every mishap is a chance to use the difficulty for greater unity. Not Turkey, rather, but the political administration that has managed to capture the hearts of a nostalgic majority that think tradition means a rejection of change, instead of an aid to embrace it.

Because, like it or loathe it, life is about change. As the world turns, so do we, and what grounds us are the values that stand the test of time. These values help us in times of upheaval, and are often the solutions for it. Charity, compassion, sharing - these are roles that help transform tribulations into triumphs. If these are your axis, then as much as you change, the truth of who you are will remain.

If you want a life-changing hack, then this is it: Embrace change with values that never do.

Read more: Turkish culture | My Say >>

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