Questions to Sabri Oncu

Jurriaan Bendien J.Bendien at
Mon Dec 16 14:41:47 MST 2002


You wrote: "Yunus was able to summarize Mevlana in one sentence. How about
you?". Is the suggestion here that our mails should be briefer, is the
suggestion that we should summarise Capital in one sentence and be done with
it, or is the suggestion that replies to Mark Jones should be one-liners ?
Or is it that I am an unenlightened fool who's lost his widget ? Studying
Sufi philosophy is on my mental list of to-do things, do you have any great
references in English ? (there is a sizable Turkish community here, but I
don't speak the language, nor Farsi, nor Arabic I regret to say). I'm just
imagining a little dialogue here between me and a Sufi (I haven't got one
handy just now !):

sufi - so you work as as documentalist, is that so ?
me - yes, that's it.
sufi - and you are a socialist ?
me - yes.
sufi - what does that mean, "so-shall-list" ?
me - maybe if I was drunk in an Aussie pub, yes. And if I was sober, maybe
"so-see-a-list" and you could let the mind range freely about the sorts of
lists there could be.
sufi - but how can you be a documentalist and a socialist ?
me - why shouldn't I be a documentalist and a socialist ? I mean, I did a
heap of jobs before...
sufi - that is not an answer to my question.
me - well, let me ask you a question, humorously. Why does a jew reply to a
question with another question ?
sufi - well, why ?
me - Why shouldn't a jew reply to a question with another question ?
sufi - presumably because an answer is required.
me - okay then, I am working as a documentalist because it happened that
way, it suits me for now, and I am trying to get to the source of the
problem that led me away from the path I intended to travel. I am a
socialist because that is the inclination of my nature. Even if I don't
think about it at all, it still feels that way. I don't say I'm a good
socialist, but I can improve.
sufi - that seems an extraordinarily complicated way to go to the source.
me - okay, but then I am not a Sufi. What is a Sufi anyway ? Suf-I ? ("Suf"
in Dutch means drowsy or dull). As in Suffering ?
sufi - Rabi'a al-'Adawiya wrote:

"In love, nothing exists between breast and Breast.
Speech is born out of longing,
True description from the real taste.
The one who tastes, knows;
the one who explains, lies.
How can you describe the true form of Something
In whose presence you are blotted out?
And in whose being you still exist?
And who lives as a sign for your journey?"

me - And Karl Marx wrote: "All social life is essentially practical. All
mysteries which lead theory to mysticism find their rational solution in
human practice and in the comprehension of this practice."
sufi - there is always an irreducible mystical aspect of life. It's not all
rational, you know.
me - Indeed, that is just what I was thinking about tonight. The more I try
to get rid of it, the more it returns. It's like Wittgenstein's fly and the
fly-bottle.  I guess that means that a comprehension of a practice was
missing, to coin a phrase, in a manner of speaking. Heck, maybe I should
reread Chomsky on deep structures. Or maybe get George Harrison's last CD.
sufi - you can't be a socialist and a Sufi.
me - of course you can be a socialist and a Sufi ! It just depends on the
kind of Sufi you are ! In fact you can be a documentalist, a socialist and a
Sufi ! That is the whole problem with this world, as I see it.
sufi - some things just don't go together in this world.
me - But you'd be amazed at what can go together in this world, that's the
whole point.


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