Turkey 10 Concepts: Heart

Heart (Gönül): The one in the heart (skin)
Shirt (Gönlek): A shirt that is worn outside the body.

The heart is the person himself, it is himself that he is dealing with. It is a concept that has existed since the Inscriptions of Inner Asia. The person shares his/her loneliness in the steppe with himself, the person who is himself/herself is the heart. When the heart is expressed as my heart, it is a person other than the person himself, he is also a confidant, a complicit, but another person. By multiplying himself as a heart, the person prevents othering others and seeing them as the other.

In Kutadgu Bilig, the first written work of the Turks, the heart is the decision maker, the decision should be made with the heart. The expression in Kutadgu Bilig is “first consult your heart, then consult, if you don’t like it, don’t get into that job” (KB. 3688-89.b.). Again in the same work, there is the determination that “a person’s heart is like a sea without a bottom, knowledge is like a pearl at its bottom, it is useless unless you remove it” (Kutadgu Bilig.211-212.b.).

The two dimensions of the Heart in question here are eternity and the knowledge it contains. So the heart is an endless source of knowledge. Finally, the expression “the reluctant man is only a shape and form: the reluctant man loses the name of the wise” (KB 2798.b) reveals that the way to wisdom passes from the heart, to having a heart.

The heart is the armor of the person that protects the person. The heart is a treasure that it hides inside. A person sees with the eyes of the heart what the eyes cannot see. The Turks, who managed to keep the world order in balance with the state and the universal state, have also placed their inner world in a solid balance with their hearts and eyes. The measure is the consent of the heart, the consent of the heart.

Turks are involved in at least seven religions, and they have always seen with their heart’s eyes and acted voluntarily in their religions. Inscriptions written with the belief in the sky god, the texts written with the belief of Buddhism that followed, for example, the philosophical texts of Vapşı Bakşı, which are completely heart-based, Taoism, Confucianism, Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Judaism and Christianity, the texts of Turks from Karaman, Cappadocia, from Khorasan. The texts of the Sufi knowledge starting from the beginning are all heart-centered texts. Along with the concept of heart, which is not found in any other language, Turks have also influenced and enriched the understanding and religion of the tribes in their geographies.

In the western understanding, the person himself becomes competent as an individual. In the Turkish understanding, the person himself is enriched with his heart. Thus, while the Western individual becomes more and more lonely, the heart seeks and finds compatibilists and is in contact with other hearts. Turks are nomadic-centered communities. While migrating, watching the sky with their eyes all night long, they wander the sky with the eyes of the heart and enrich their hearts and people with the power and inspiration they get from the heavens, the eye here is the eye of the heart.

The concept of heart has no equivalent in other languages. The concept of heart cannot be translated to the West, and the concept of philosophy to our language. Wisdom is what matters to us. A philosopher is a person who loves the sages. What the West understands from Wisdom is Lawrence.

“The expression of the concepts of love and affection in separate words is a richness granted to a limited number of languages. Turkish is one of them.” Teoman Durali


Copyright of Photograph by Levent Ağaoğlu, 1975
Copyright by Levent Ağaoğlu



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