Mahdi Esfahani: At the limit of meaning
This article concentrates on an entity that for many is the highest form of sense, namely God. Assuming that God is endless, the author asks what can be known about such an eternity and which epistemological consequences go along with such an experience of God. By taking up the verse in the Koran (57:4): “He is with you, wherever you are”, the author shows that the infinity of God
is nothing far away or abstract. It is rather the penetration of everything. A flower, for example, not only shows itself in its finitude but also testifies with its existence to the infinity of God and thus points a way to God. The more one tries to fathom the given signs, the more the divine infinity manifests itself. Therefore, if sense is equated with finitude, the alleged nonsensicality of the infinite in fact has its own sense in the finite creature.
Marc Hieronimus: Madness of growth
The progress of technology is considered by the majority as a reasonable endeavor. Nevertheless, the author tries to show that technological progress, in spite of its benefits, causes a variety of absurd dangers because of its uncontrolled growth. The author introduces the leading thinkers of a movement known as “Decroissance” which argues for a “philosophy of degrowth”. Degrowth means the undoing of technological growth and demands an end of its philosophy of “faster, wider, higher and more”. A destructive power can be seen in this, causing overexploitation in nature as well as the annihilation of humankind, not just by the machinery of war. Indeed, in view of the ecological and economical crises of our time, such as species extinction, the contaminations of the soil, the air and the sea, climate change and its impact on many societies, military conflicts due to scarce resources, then a return to more simplicity, frugality and reserve seems quite reasonable and absolutely essential in order to put an end to the madness. Hence the idea of “Decroissance” is quite relevant today and this article gives an instructive overview.
Hamid Reza Yousefi: What is desire?
The searching after meaning arises from a deep desire of mankind. The question “What is desire?” is answered by various artists and thinkers who significantly shaped and developed intellectual history. Desire has been considered and defined differently during the various ages, whether as an attempt to compensate for a personal deficit or as a feeling of being drawn towards the opposite gender. This article also looks at the eras of Enlightenment and Romanticism, covering not only the understanding of desire, but also the different forms of expression used to treat the question of desire: for Example in the painting entitled “Wanderer above the Sea of Fog” (translated into English) by Caspar David Friedrich and the symbol of “The Blue Flower” in the painting of Phillip Otto Runge, but also the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, we can see that the feeling of desire has continuously evolved. It arises from the soul of a primal desire which is the engine of all the creative activities.
Lutz Richter-Bernburg: Aggiornamento or irrelevance
By means of the three questions “what can I know, what shall I do, what may I hope”, which can be traced back to Immanuel Kant, this article highlights the role of religion concerning in generating meaning and questions its exclusive claim to truth. Especially when dealing with the written religious heritage the author sees the need for a critical self-questioning on the part of the religions
in view of an awareness of empirical as well as historical human sciences. The author calls for the “self-historicization” and a “humanized enclosure” of the religions. For this purpose, it is necessary to critically analyze the texts and traditions and be willing to say farewell to outdated traditions and interpretations in order to be open for the future of new exegesis, which satisfies the scientific demand. The author takes up a much-discussed Islamic tradition in order to show that Kant’s categorical imperative has also to be applied to religious issues.
Timotheus Schneidegger: In view of the absurd
The author outlines the idea of the “revolt”, which was defined metaphysically by the writer and philosopher Albert Camus, and applies this theory to the Islamic Revolution in 1979 in Iran. Camus develops an “ethics of solidarity and revolution” against the destiny of humankind which shows how the postmodern inner void can be overcome. This philosophic theory starts with the experiences of the “absurd”, which arises from the discrepancy between the human demand and the earthly reality. The humankind possesses a metaphysical hunger after meaning, which cannot be sated by the world. This leads to a feeling of strangeness, which acts as the basis of the “revolt”, since one cannot find the expected harmony and satisfaction. The author considers the Islamic Revolution promising to re-establish the holy and giving a new meaning of life to the people. He sees this event as an example of history repeating itself, where the searching after meaning is like the labor of Sisyphus.
Akın Emanuel Sipal: The tortoise trainer
The author observes a painting of Osman Hamdi Bey about a tortoise trainer, an Ottoman dervish with a bamboo flute. This picture prompts the author for personal reflections about his grand-grandfather, who had to flee in 1918 because of the British invasion in Istanbul. For Rumi the bamboo flute is a symbol of the human being detached from his roots. That feeling of detachment and painful desire for his origin is the main subject of the author. He refers to Walter Benjamin, who described the European flaneurs as searchers without an earthly purpose and compared them with oriental Sufis who search for God. The desire of the author for his roots reveals itself also in his representation of the Ottoman Empire, which is linked to the fortune of his grand-grandfather, who had to give up his life due to the beginning of a new era. Nevertheless, behind all the pain which is caused by every separation, which might be senseless to us, hope, sense and reconciliation arise: “Flaneurs are those sensitive souls exiled by the postmodern who can acquire a sweet taste from all the constituent pain, because they see an universal reality in them.”