Jan Šinágl angažovaný občan, nezávislý publicista


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Citát dne

Karel Havlíček Borovský
26. června r. 1850

KOMUNISMUS znamená v pravém a úplném smyslu bludné učení, že nikdo nemá míti žádné jmění, nýbrž, aby všechno bylo společné, a každý dostával jenom část zaslouženou a potřebnou k jeho výživě. Bez všelikých důkazů a výkladů vidí tedy hned na první pohled každý, že takové učení jest nanejvýš bláznovské, a že se mohlo jen vyrojiti z hlav několika pomatených lidí, kteří by vždy z člověka chtěli učiniti něco buď lepšího neb horšího, ale vždy něco jiného než je člověk.



„Lepší je být zbytečně vyzbrojen než beze zbraní bezmocný.“

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They all go to the same islands on holiday to talk about it. They all take the same pictures. Like puppets. Soulless creatures who won't even know they've left the world. People who serve only the system and objectivity will inevitably become Eichmanns.

Her ideas have gained momentum in a pandemic. Many of us were looking for a way to cope with the uncertainty. According to philosopher and phenomenologist Anna Hogen, we must learn to live with this form of uncertainty. She is currently most worried about global conflict and says that the catastrophe of "Western" man lies in his inability to live in the present and touch pain. Yet she is an optimist. As she says, at the bottom of the worst pain is pure joy.

The biggest trouble is that man lives only for being. These are things in space and time, such as cars, handbags, titles, fame, importance and, most importantly, power. Man lacks what we in phenomenology call being. Man today is only capable of wanting and thinking being. That is, to want something in space and time. There is still being, which we can think of as background. From this background, all beings become beings because being shows those beings.

Why is it that "at home" no prophet is right? Because people are so incredibly close to the truth he shows them that they would rather stone a prophet than give him the truth. Man, when he is gripped or enclosed in a circle, in order to understand the totality of that circle, must step out of it and look at it from a distance. And I dare say many people don't know this.

People say they love nature, but that's just talk. People see the earth as an object, as something that stands against them. And here we come to the subject-object relationship. This relation makes the object something like a means for the purposes of the subject - that is, for the purposes of man. This is the whole essence of the ecological catastrophe we are now witnessing. The earth is not a piece of our bodies, but an object for our use. Every businessman is absolutely crazy about getting money out of it. That is what is destroying the world. The pinnacle of objectification is the Jewish prisoner in a concentration camp who has no name but only a number. He's an object.

The essence of human existence in our time is the will to power. Friedrich Nietzsche already figured this out. He wrote that the essence of everything ontological is the will to power, and since power is force, man can only exist if he intensifies his will to power. Power only shows itself when it grows. This is exactly what it means. You will be recognized in your existence only when you become stronger and stronger. And you will not be able to get off this merry-go-round.

First of all, one must understand the times in which one lives. He doesn't understand it. Man, to come back to himself, must first meet himself. In order to meet himself, he has to seek himself first. And to find himself, he must ask questions. We call it a conversation with oneself. That is the essence of man. If he doesn't find it, he'll keep playing at being famous and powerful.

The only way not to go crazy is to start taking care of the soul. That's the ultimate purpose of life. The soul is the only thing in us that is immortal - in Plato's view. Caring for the soul is nothing but caring for the truth. For truth and being are one and the same.

If a man spends his whole life seeking only causes and effects, he has no purpose in life; such a man only wants to find rightness and the certainty that comes from rightness. Or he lives only for processualities, not at all for the meaning of processualities. It doesn't even occur to him. Man must first empty himself of everything he carries within him as a matter of course, and look at meaninglessness at its absolute point.

Technology is taking over our thinking and our lives, it is taking it away from us, we are becoming more and more dependent on it; this cannot end well if this dangerous trend against the nature of man continues and its rule over common sense grows.

When a person has real questions inside him, which he really deals with - even hard - and learns to live with them, then only he lives a fulfilled life. As soon as he lives only from lunch to dinner, from one bed to another, from one fame to another, and from money to money, he lives a flat life. One in which the highest good is pleasure and in which cleverness is nothing but the avoidance of misery. That's how most people who think they're really living live. It's a flat and miserable life. That's why people were so unhappy in the pandemic. The most important thing in life is to find your right place. But it can't be pushed down our throats. Man must search for himself, and the method of that search must be born within him. It must not come from the system. It takes courage to find your own method.

The problem is the constant acceleration and acceleration of that acceleration. The real problem is the plundering of our planet. It's a memento mori, it's almost the thought of a tragic end.

People are broken, they don't know they are anymore. That's what Cartesian thinking I was talking about does. That's what often gives rise to the need for a high - that people don't know what they are. You need to get high, you need movies where there's a lot of blood and violence to feel something. Because they don't feel anything. It's as if the pandemic that took away our sense of smell was meant to prepare us for it, saying, "Watch out, man, you don't feel anything anymore!" Even small children today self-harm to feel something.

Young people can be incredibly cruel without knowing it. Youth is dangerous in that it trusts the system implicitly. This is dangerous for society. A person who has lived a life doesn't need hard data to come to knowledge. He only needs experience, he knows how to ventilate, how to predict.

Young people are easier to manipulate. And some powerful countries are very good at it. That's how coups are made in countries. I can't imagine what today's children will grow up to be. They can't read properly or tell a story properly. What they can do really well is press enter. They're becoming the ones who will love and revere the rightness of procedure, but they won't know how to talk to themselves, they won't know how to ask questions. But the answers are not important, anyone can answer. There are so many answers that we can't know them anymore, so we do what somebody else wants. The world is built on questions. They are the key.

I don't have many fears anymore, that's why I'm freer. I know I'm at the end of my life. I'm happy to be at the cottage because I let being come to me here. Existence, like moments, has no cause. I can let moments come to me, I can linger in them, and when I'm out on my bike and there are only trees around me, I feel the whole world.

That's charming. These are encounters that carry a lot of kindness. One is accepted by being and one accepts oneself. It's so frighteningly simple.

Not to plan for a while. One thinks that planning will change the world, one's god has become the diary. Let yourself be carried out into the woods and just follow your feet, go aimlessly. Don't think about the calories you burn, don't look for bugs, forget about your awesomeness. Just go and don't think about where you're going. That's the present. And presence is all we really have in life.

I'm not exactly an optimist right now. I don't like arming young boys in Ukraine. It could turn into a global war. I know that today we have to have asymmetric responsibility. It is not enough for us to be symmetrical, that is, we must have responsibility for the other to the extent that he is responsible to us. Today, Biden must be responsible for Putin and Putin must be responsible for Biden, because the whole planet is at stake. And to fuel the fire of this hatred is dangerous. And when you see all the things people do to please somebody - this or that - how can you be open to the future and see the good? That scares me. But even though I am visited by these terrors, I have hope that when the going gets tough, people will come to their senses. Because at the bottom of the worst is pure joy. That's a very old and powerful idea. But you have to let the worst of it in. People run away right at the beginning, run to the psychologist and eat diazepam.

Our psychiatrists make stones out of people, they don't swallow antidepressants. Try asking them sometime. An insensitive person is exactly the kind of person the system produces. That's a horror that people should know.

Freedom of speech is an illusion. And it is much more controlled today than it was in the past. Because there are possibilities today that the communists never dreamed of. They were so much simpler. We all knew it was a game to play. There were horrors too, but people had a better sense of humor. People felt. And that's what I don't see today, people are insensitive. It's quite dangerous to say what you think. He'll get a slap on the wrist. Just like in the old days. But I have one hope - in the ontological emergency. It's been a part of education throughout history until the modern age. Ontological distress is a preparation for death. For when one knows the inevitability of death, when one lets the mourners in and encounters moments that somehow carry death, one can talk to oneself. But this is not what today's man does, he is cursed in the stupid "positive thinking" that is imposed on him by the system.

Training yourself to die is essential. It is the key to living authentically. A mother must allow her child to linger in her sadness because at the bottom of it is pure joy. But you must complete the process of sadness within yourself. Let go of every grey day, the annoying faces on the subway on Monday morning, let go of everything that is not comfortable. That's the key to happiness. This is where you will meet the certainty of insecurity you asked about in the beginning. If uncertainty is not the background from which certainty comes, life will turn into nihilism, into desert, into sameness. The highways and byways of the world.

So I leave it to you. You have the ability to awaken people from despair. You tell them they must ask questions. Tell them that if they want to understand something, it's not by describing an object, measuring it, and then comparing it, and I don't know what else. Tell them that if they really want to understand something, they have to translate the problem into an answer, and since every answer is an answer to a question, the question has to be discovered. And when the answers and the questions fit together like cogs in a watch, they will have penetrated to something we call understanding. For when people walk through the forest, the forest will be the answer. When they walk through lovely old Prague, the houses will be the answer. What is happening in Ukraine today is a ready answer to questions that have been hidden until now. So what do you think newspapers should do?

Ask questions?

Very well. Shake them before you use them.

Full interview in Czech>



Technology is increasingly taking over our minds and lives, taking them away from us. We are becoming more and more dependent on it. This cannot end well if this dangerous trend against human nature continues and its rule over common sense grows. The recipe for solving the problems of man, life and society was devised long ago by Tomas Bata in The Bible of Life: The Inspiration of Bata. J.Š.

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