Address by the President Ivanov at the Global Leadership Forum in Istanbul
Saturday, 12 May 2018 10:31

Distinguished Participants,
Esteemed Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

As President of the Republic of Macedonia, but also as a university professor, I am honored to address this Global Leadership Forum at the prestigious University of Bahçeshehir.

The topics discussed are very important: the crossroads of international alliances, the sustainable peace in the Middle East, the future of the European Union. Here, I shall add one more.

During the brief 20th century, national states and international organizations dominated. But, with the end of the Cold War, the Bloc snow melted, and all the complexity of the world and the civilizations that made it up appeared. This contributed to restoring consciousness and interest in the study of civilizations.

The first to do so was Samuel Huntington, who, a quarter of a century ago, claimed that the 21st century global politics would be dominated by the clash of civilizations.

But, instead of a clash of civilizations, Niall Ferguson predicted clashes within the civilizations. When there are two civilizations one of which is getting weaker and the other becomes stronger, the question is not whether they will collide, but whether the weaker one will collapse. Hence, the dilemma is whether instead of a clash of civilizations we can speak of a crash of civilizations.

The crash of civilizations is associated with a group of authors that has long been forgotten. In his book "Civilization: The West and Rest", Ferguson concludes that today it is hard to read Spengler, Toynbee and Sorokin.

This conclusion in a way gives an answer to a question that, at the beginning of the millennium, was put up by the Canadian Professor Thomas Hueglin. Namely, he asked if, misled by the Enlightenment in the past period, we have read wrong books and quoted wrong authors?

To this I will add yet another question: Have we been guided by wrong maps? Looking at the maps at our desks and walls, it seems we have forgotten that the world is not flat, but round; that it is not a two-dimensional map, but a three-dimensional globe. Perhaps this is why we see the world linearly rather than circularly. And, the deformed Mercator projection used for about 400 years was euro-centric and presented Europe larger than it really is. But, when I talk about maps, I do not think only of cartographic, but also of theoretical, mental maps that help us orient outselves in the world of ideas. Such a wrong perception of geography and theory has contributed to the wrong perception of history.

Ferguson and Hueglin, alas, are right. If authors such as Spengler, Toynbee and Sorokin were read more, we would not be captives of a static image of a dynamic world and a linear understanding of cyclical history. Decision makers would not have been surprised of the end of the Cold War, of the return of civilizations and the de-secularization of the world.
Oswald Spengler in his book "The Decline of the West" is trying to explain what is happening to the Western civilization. He does this by using the concept of pseudomorphosis, which he borrows from mineralogy. It is a phenomenon in which a given mineral gets its own form, but it also loses its internal structure. This empty form is filled by a new mineral. In other words, the outer form is different from the internal substance. According to him, something similar happens with the Western civilization.

Arnold Toynbee, however, claims that every civilization faces challenges. The more difficult the challenge, the more creative the solution should be. And the solutions are given by creative minorities that change the paradigm of the majority and create conditions for a new lifestyle. The end of a civilization begins when it fails to meet key challenges. Studying the life cycles of 26 world civilizations, Toynbee will conclude that civilizations are not killed, but that they commit suicide.

Unlike Spengler and Toynbee, Sorokin claims that none of the great cultures and civilizations has completely disappeared, but that it lives through all the material and immaterial values it has transferred to other civilizations.

PRM_Istanbul_3Sorokin is trying to overcome the two basic concepts of socio-cultural dynamics. Instead of linear and cyclic conception, he advocates the concept of oscillation. This oscillation implies that every big culture or civilization goes through three phases: the first is ideational or spiritual. The second is sensate or material. The third is idealistic and represents a dialectical synthesis of the two previous.

Like the previous authors, Sorokin deems that the West is in a crisis. In that crisis of contemporary western sensate culture, the boundary line between truth and lie, right and wrong, beautiful and ugly, between the positive and negative values disappears. Many of Sorokin's predictions of 1957 have already come true.

He says that by atomizing the values, man will be stripped of his inherent dignity. Today, about 60 years later, the ideology of post-humanism has coined a symbiosis between biology and technology, which redefined what it means to be a human. At the same time, the family as a union of a man and a woman, of parents and their children, is disintegrated.

Sorokin predicted the relativization of truth and manipulation of public opinion by fake news. You surely remember that just two years ago, "post-truth" was the word of the year.

He predicted that social contracts would be devalued. Without respect for the given word, the trust in the system would disappear. It is enough to look at the situation with international law. The Republic of Macedonia has been waiting for seven years for the 2011 ruling of the International Court of Justice in The Hague regarding the Greek blockade of our NATO membership be respected. One of the rare members of NATO that literally respects the verdict is the Republic of Turkey, which is always and principally using our constitutional name. Therefore, we are very grateful for that.

Unfortunately, Sorokin's claim that personal security will be increasingly reduced is confirmed. With the frequent terrorist attacks, life in Europe is becoming a Russian roulette, because no one knows where something will happen.

He also said that freedom would be reduced to a myth of the majority. Instead of guaranteeing it, security will replace freedom. And Benjamin Franklin said "he who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither." This is the crisis of the last surviving ideal of the French Revolution, and that is the ideal of freedom.

Sorokin claims that people will be alienated from their inalienable human rights and freedoms. Today, the persecution of people of different faith and belief is more pronounced, not only in non-secular, but also in developed and secular societies. Some, like Os Guinness, even raise the question of whether today the United Nations would be able to adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at all.

All in all, the period of crisis distinguishes imitation, rather than creativity, summer bestsellers instead of classics, form instead of essence, transient sensations instead of lasting values, information rather than knowledge and wisdom.

But Sorokin is not as gloomy as he may seem at first glance. Unlike Spengler and Toynbee, he does not predict the death of the Western civilization. The crisis of the Western civilization is just a passing phase.

The ignorance for the new emerging world brings fear. Many corporations and states have made business out of fear. We install antivirus programs to protect our cell phones and computers from hackers, embed video cameras to secure our homes from thieves, buy life insurance to secure our lives from accidents, denying freedom in the name of security. Fear became the biggest business.

Probably the fear of the new world of digital transformation is due to the lack of security that our analog generation enjoyed in the old world.

Burdened with the disappearance of the old world, we do not perceive the potential of the new world that is born. And that is a world in which young people already function according to sharing philosophy and practice sharing economy. Instead of individual users and consumers, they share the approach to products and services. They use blockchain so as not to waste time at bank counters. The youth of the millennium and Y-generation are now at universities and feel the power of open cyberspace there. And that open cyberspace consists of a virtual Alexandrian library, that is, Google, but also a virtual market, that is, Amazon, eBay, AliBaba, AliExpress. The digital transformation allows young people to develop a Start up mentality, to be creative and innovative and thus become what Toynbee called a creative minority that will lead the world forward.

Offering optimism, but without utopianism, Sorokin leaves space for catharsis and recovery of the super-system. In this process of catharsis a new world is born in which the sensual super-system gives way to the ideational and idealistic super-system. He predicts that instead of atomized, values will again become universal and absolute.

PRM_Istanbul_4Ladies and gentlemen,

Civilizations have the great cohesive power to connect. Singapore's Professor Kishore Mahbubani notes that there is a major convergence of the world. To improve the world order, he offers three suggestions.

First - open global debate in multilateral institutions. Dialogues should replace monologues in the United Nations and other organizations. Bahcesehir University is also involved in that open debate through this Global Leadership Forum.

Second - abandoning the anachronistic policy towards multilateralism. As the world order needs effective multilateral institutions, the institutions need international law. The old international institutions need to adapt to the challenges and opportunities of the third millennium. For example, the European Community, that is, Europe 1.0 in 1993 grew into the European Union and thus created Europe 2.0. It is now time for the European Union to expand and deepen and become Europe 3.0.

Third - new global ethics is needed. We belong to the same moral community that has awareness of human rights and freedoms. For the first time in history, every person from the Balkans, from Europe, can contest the decision of his own state before the Human Rights Court in Strasbourg.

Dear friends,

In 1957, 61 year ago, Sorokin wrote: "We are living, thinking, and acting at the darkest hour of this transitory night with its nightmares, gigantic destruction, and heartrending horrors. If mankind can avoid the irretrievable catastrophe of greater world wars, the dawn of a new magnificent order in the human universe is waiting to greet the coming generations".

As a cautious optimist with experience, that is, a realist, I think that Sorokin is right. Therefore, when it seems that darkness is overwhelming and the situation seems hopeless, we should remember that the night is darkest before the dawn. The light is most clearly shining in the darkest moments. It gives us hope and strength to continue to walk to its source. To keep on and never give up. Instead of just naming the problems, we should offer creative solutions.

As we speak, the youngest generation is born that is destined to live in the 22nd century. It is our responsibility to prepare those who come after us to be moral and ethical leaders with character, integrity, humility, with focus on people, responsibility and passion. Not to be afraid of the unknown, but bravely and wisely to face the challenges, to finally sail into calmer waters. I believe that we all should invest together in such leaders of the future, for Macedonia and Turkey, for the Balkans and Europe, for the world.

Thank you.


Statement at the press conference following the Leader’s meeting of Brdo-Brijuni Process
Friday, 27 April 2018 18:28

Distinguished President of the European Council, Mr. Tusk,
Distinguished Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr. Borissov,
Distinguished President of the Republic of Croatia, Ms. Grabar Kitarovic,
Distinguished President of the Republic of Slovenia, Mr. Pahor,
Dear collegues,
Respected representatives of the media,

Today is an important day for the Republic of Macedonia and for our region. We are hosting one of the rare regional cooperation mechanism that delivers concrete results.

The Brdo-Brijuni Process opened up the opportunity to us, the presidents, to define the general strategic directions that the prime ministers and governments are to further specify and operationalize through the Berlin Process, which will soon be rounded up in London. Hence, I would like to emphasize that the new processes and initiatives neither reduce nor exhaust the significance of the Brdo-Brijuni Process, which retains the irreplaceable role of generating strategic solutions.

Therefore, I am very grateful to the Presidents Pahor and Grabar-Kitarovic, who, as leaders of the Brdo-Brijuni Process, tirelessly represent the interests of our region. The upcoming EU - Western Balkans Summit in Sofia is a result of our demands and their commitments, but also the readiness of Prime Minister Borissov to put the region at the top of the agenda of the Bulgarian presidency with the EU. Thank you Mr. Prime Minister.

Today's meeting was in the spirit of connectivity. Connectivity is a priority above all priorities. It depends on the connectivity whether our region will be counted among the developed European regions. And there are at least three things that connect us.

First is the economic connectivity. We expect the European Union to continue with its assistance for transportation and energy connectivity projects of the Brdo-Brijuni Process members.

Second is the security connectivity. Exactly one week ago, I opened the first meeting of heads of intelligence agencies of the Brdo-Brijuni Process participating countries. At the meeting, the directors warned of three things. First, that the migrant crisis is not over yet and is still a regional threat. Second, that existing bilateral disagreements could potentially destabilize the region. And third, that there is a dark side to connectivity as well. Illegal migration, criminal networks, corruption, foreign fighter returnees, and terrorism are closely connected. To cope with this growing threat, intelligence services need to be even more tightly connected. Our role, as leaders, is to enable the services to cooperate.

With us today is the President of the European Council, Mr. Donald Tusk, who has a huge merit for the successful management of the migrant crisis. Mr. President, you recognized that the stronger the Balkans, the stronger the European Union will be.

And so we come to the most important thing that connects us, and that is the desire for membership in the European Union. We expect from the EU not to give empty promises, because the EU membership for us is not an empty ideal. As a region we have a task to secure good governance through the rule of law, and the respect of fudamental human rights and freedoms.

A few months ago, the EU Strategy for the Western Balkans was adopted in Brussels as an open window for our region. We welcome the objective criteria for enlargement of the European Union with the Western Balkans by evaluating the merits of each country individually.

However, I cannot remain silent on the following. The strategy explicitly states that new open issues may not be imported into the Union. I want to remind you that border issues and identity issues have a different nature, and therefore different consequences. And issues with different consequences cannot be treated on an equal basis. The Republic of Macedonia has no open territorial and border issues, and therefore it rightfully expects greater flexibility from the European Union.

Top strategic goals of the Republic of Macedonia are membership in NATO and the European Union. But, for a long while, the enlargement policy failed in the case of the Republic of Macedonia, not because of the principles and criteria of the European Union, but because one member state failed to respect those principles and criteria.

As a President of the Republic of Macedonia I call the European Union to allow parralel movement of the EU negotiations and overcoming the billateral issue between Macedonia and Greece. By its very nature, enlargement is a political, not just a technical matter. The European Council, not the European Commission has the final word. A political issue cannot be solved only by a technical approach. It requires courage, determination and creativity from the Union. The perfect example is Slovena and Croatia who with the help of the EU managed to find a way for parallel negotiations. Thanks to such European approach, today Slovenia and Croatia are leaders of the Brdo-Brijuni Process.

I will finish with this. If the EU fails to secure our future, then we will deal with the past. While we are still dealing with questions from the 19th and 20th centuries, and while we are still talking that we need to adapt to the challenges of the 21st century, are we aware that children who are now born will live in the 22nd century?

We have to cooperate because we all have tickets for the same European ship. On that European ship there are cabins reserved for each of our countries. And each of our countries has its place and role. The European Commission's Progress Reports are the map, and the recommendations are a compass that tells us if we are on the right course.

Therefore, the open window strategy should be replaced by an open-view strategy for fair and equitable prosperity for all candidates for membership in the Union.

Thank you.


Our region needs partnership in the field of security – Address at the Meeting of Directors of Intelligence Agencies of the participating countries in the Brdo-Brijuni Process
Friday, 20 April 2018 08:35

Distinguished Directors of Intelligence Agencies,
Respected Attendees,
Esteemed Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

As President of the Republic of Macedonia, I am honored to greet you at this first meeting of the directors of the intelligence agencies within the "Brdo-Brijuni" process.

We live in a region through which strategically important corridors pass. And yet, due to the slow integration, as a region, we stayed for too long outside the European Union and NATO. The security cooperation became hostage to the open bilateral issues. The lack of confidence among the countries in the region also affected the confidence in the exchange of information. The region became vulnerable to organized crime, ethnic extremism and religious radicalism.

In such complex conditions, migrants came. Along with them came foreign fighters, who went to the Middle East as extremists and returned as terrorists. It very soon proved that the crisis cannot be solved only by political declarations and bureaucratic procedures, but it must be managed with the help and support of both security services and army structures. Intelligence agencies play a key role in this process.

The migrant crisis was a catalyst that prompted our countries to leave aside the misunderstandings and begin to cooperate for the sake of the entire region.

The idea of ​​deeper security cooperation was born at the extraordinary meeting of the "Brdo-Brijuni" process in Zagreb, dedicated to the migrant crisis. Today, almost three years later, this idea is being realized. Next week, the Republic of Macedonia will host the "Brdo-Brijuni" Summit. The focus of the Summit will be security connection that needs to be promoted as a new syntagm in the region.

Respected Attendees,

The future of our region is in the EU. And yet, from some EU member states, we receive various messages of enlargement fatigue. This fatigue, among the other things, is also due to the perception of the Balkans as the periphery of Europe, as a region that is inherently unstable. The lack of trust between us is a perfect chance for third parties' influence on the economic prosperity of the states, on the revival of ethno-nationalist projects and on the prevention of the EU and NATO integration.

To change this perception, we must be proactive instead of reactive. The threats we face require creativity, partnership and unconventional thinking.

The real word that is most needed in our region in the field of security is partnership. Partnership accomplished by building trust for reliable data, joint operations and information protection. I will remind you that the protection of information, identities of intelligence officials and sources, as well as prevention of data leakage is a priority for every service. This is paramount in the time of false news and perception wars.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We, the presidents and the governments, need staff that is distinguished by pragmatism, meritocracy and honesty. It is necessary for the best of the best to find practical solutions for the common good of the citizens, states and the region. We need professionals who will be valued for the prevention by using reliable and preventive information.

There are increasingly non-material creations and challenges that the territorial state itself can hardly control. As never before, for the prevention of international terrorism, illegal migration, transnational organized crime, the use of the Internet for subversion, hybrid threats and nonlinear war requires data interoperability, joint work and mutual assistance.

May we use this initial meeting to send a clear message to the European centers. And that is a message that we, the countries of the region, can cooperate in this area of ​​vital importance for our societies and for Europe. Our intelligence agencies can jointly offer creative and pragmatic solutions to the security challenges we face.

Let us not forget the most important lesson we learned from the migrant crisis: the biggest weakness of the region is division, yet the biggest strength is cooperation. Let us build partnership relations, exchange reliable information, protect each other, because if we fail to do so, no one else is going to do it for us.

It is said that a chain is as firm as the strongest weakest link. On the continent of Europe, from a security point of view, that chain is the region of the Balkans. The stronger the Balkans, the stronger the European Union and Europe will be.

With that in mind, at the very end, I wish you a successful meeting and I thank you for your attention.

Address at the 21st Eurasian Economic Summit in Istanbul on “Dilemma of our century: Technology vs. politics”
Thursday, 12 April 2018 14:36

Distinguished participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,

Our hosts from the Marmara Foundation always challenge us to think of and discuss the most important processes. It is the same with today's topic, which concerns the dilemma of our century - the relationship between technology and politics.

To answer this dilemma, we need to look at the big picture that goes beyond the borders of states and mandates of governments. And that big picture is civilizations.

One of the few who dared to seriously explore civilizations is Arnold Toynbee. According to Toynbee's Law of Progressive Simplification, a powerful measure of the progress of civilizations will be the degree to which we shift from a global economy based on material growth to one that consciously includes non-material development.

This process of etherification can be described in the following way: the more difficult the challenges for a civilization, the more creative its response should be. Key role have the creative minorities that find innovative solutions to the challenges. Thinking beyond patterns, the creative minority changes the paradigm of the majority and creates conditions for a new way of life. The non-active majority, for its part, accepts and imitates these ideas.

Etherification is the ability to achieve the same or even better results in less time and with less energy. Computers, from 30 ton machines occupying the entire room, are now reduced to laptops weighing just one kilogram. The analog telephony, with all copper wires, poles and transmitters, is now reduced to digital telephony with smart phones connected to telecommunication satellites. As the dimension of computers decreases, the processing capacity increases.

This process is most visible if we look at industrial revolutions. The founder of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, says that, unlike all previous industrial revolutions, the current fourth industrial revolution does not develop with a linear but exponential pace. Oz Guinness reminds us that the fourth industrial revolution is the transition from the era of pyro-technology to the era of biotechnology, from the rule of fire to the engineering of life. With the digital transformation of human civilization, the boundaries between the physical, the digital, and the biological are deleted. A world is born in which artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnologies, biotechnologies, quantum informatics, crypto-values will prevail and dominate.

But where is politics here? Politics is created for the needs of the polis, that is, the city. The meaning of politics is to regulate the relations in the polis and to provide solutions to common issues for citizens. Hence, the city is the birthplace of politics (but also of civilizations).

With the Westphalian order, politics from the city was transferred to the sovereign Westphalian state. It is a model of absolute concentration of state power, which aims to achieve internal stability and external security through politics. Through colonization, this European Westphalian order has become international order in which key actors are states.

But Daniel Bell noted that the states are often too big for small local problems, and too small for big global challenges. This is especially true in terms of globalization. There are also increasingly non-material creations and challenges that the territorial state simply cannot control.

At the heart of these processes is the digital etherification of our civilization that leads to de-territorization, deregulation and de-stateization of states. Contrary to the vertical hierarchy of the state, the horizontal networking of the society is more pronounced. It is the digital transformation that takes away the position of states and revives the cities, because real life is at local level.

For example, cyber markets like Amazon, eBay, AliBaba, AliExpress undermine the sovereignty of national economies.

Smart phones have become digital wallets, digital stock exchange, digital banks.
With the virtual crypto-currents, the banking system and the state are circumvented. On December 18, 2017, the crypto-currents reached a record transfer of USD 600 billion. It is expected that the crypto-transfer will soon reach a trillion dollars. With the help of blockchain, all transfers and payments can be done without the mediation of the banks. And whoever starts to use blockchain no longer wants to waste time at a bank counter. Hence, the question is: Is the banking system going to collapse?

Paul Mason thinks that parallel currencies, time banks, new forms of ownership, economy of sharing and many other innovations are part of a new economic life whose heart is beating with a different rhythm. Their lowest common denominator is that they all function as non-hierarchical social networks on the Internet.

But there is a dark side of the medal, too. Deep web is about 500 times larger than the surface web. Within this deep web is dark web as a digital black market that flourishes illegal trade in narcotics, weapons, credit cards, human organs ...

It all works through the Internet, which has become the backbone and nervous system of globalization. That nervous system connects all networked computers, smart phones and other smart devices that together make up the global super-computer. And, the biggest part of that global super-computer is owned by individuals, not by states. At present, the states and other international actors like the European Union are leading legal battles to regulate that super-computer.

In truth, states are trying to adapt to these processes. Some of the Baltic countries are leaders in the digitalization of administrative services, i.e. in "e-government". The project "Regulatory Guillotine" in the Republic of Macedonia has reduced the bureaucracy and regulatory burden on the companies. We have established an e-Real Estate Cadastre which now covers 99% of the territory of the country. And whoever feels the freedom and ease of digital services does not return to the counter.

Some states go a step further and want to transform into a start-up nation that will expect the universities to produce staff for the start-up economy. Incubators and accelerators will recognize and support new student's ideas while studying and with state guarantees will encourage private equity to support them in their realization. The Republic of Macedonia has a Fund for Innovation and Technological Development, through which funds are provided to support the innovation activity. The start-up state creates an environment and conditions for development and well-being in the digital age.

But the state is bypassed, circumvented at the local level due to the smart cities that exclude politicians, at least the old-fashioned ones. When politicians were expected to take care of the towns, there was plenty of pollution, crime and poverty. Now, with the help of technology, attempts are made by cities to self-regulate. These are cities in which infrastructure is in line with people's modern needs. The efficiency of public services is raised to the maximum, and the inefficient bureaucracy is reduced to a minimum. Therefore, everything you need in the Smart City world is the battery of your smart phone to last longer.

The digital transformation has also changed the direction of intergenerational education. If in the past parents educated their children to find a way to live better, today children educate their parents to handle the latest technology.

Moreover, young people have no patience for politics and for politicians of the past. That's why millions of young people migrate to the most developed centers to realize their business ideas there and to realize their life plans. The southeast of Europe is getting empty. Those who create real value with their talents, education and skills leave their countries. Separated from their homeland, these new, digital nomads have a need for belonging. The solution to the challenge of modern nomadism can be found in the great Arab historian Ibn Khaldun. He argued that what holds together territorially unrelated Arab nomads is the principle of asabiya or clan solidarity. Today, in the era of digital nomads, we have digital asabiya. Regardless of where they are, people are part of social networks and groups that give them a sense of belonging, that is a key human need.

But it is naive to expect that digitization will respond to all challenges. Like any human creation, digital transformation is also subject to the law of unplanned consequences because things can go wrong.

So the question is: Did digital transformation create a social network or social cobweb?

We expect social networks to bring us more freedom of expression. With one tweet, you share your view with the whole planet. But at the same time, giving us freedom of expression, social networks took away our free time to think well.

Technology has made it easier for us to access digital services, transfers and broadcasts. But the price for this unbearable ease is paid with our privacy.

Recently, Sofia became the first humane robot with citizenship. Will someday robots with artificial intelligence run for elections and be active in politics? Will a political party be able to overcome the fulfillment of their pre-election promises? But does it mean that man will become a slave to his own creation? Will we create a new tyrant, a new Nero instead of a leader with wisdom, i.e. Sofia?

I believe that in order to fulfill its initial goal, politics should be adapted to people's new expectations in the new global conditions. People still have a desire for freedom just as much as they need security. New politicians should offer quick and creative solutions. Inspiration and example for them can be the leaders who manage megalopolises. The experiences of managing Istanbul, New York and Hong Kong in the 21st and 22nd centuries become more important for the future of managing globalized diversity than the experiences of the nation-state of the 19th and 20th centuries. Perhaps it's time for politics, which was born in the polis, to return now to the megalopolis.

Thank you.

Обраќање на Меѓународниот самит на книгата во Баку
Sunday, 18 March 2018 00:00
There are no translations available.

Почитувани присутни,
Дами и господа,
Драги пријатели,

Како Претседател на Република Македонија, но и како универзитетски професор и библиофил, задоволство ми е да се обратам на овој Меѓународен самит на книгата кој е истовремено и празник на книгата.

Книгата е тесно поврзана со преносот на човековото знаење, но и со развојот што знаењето го поттикнува. Истовремено, книгата е симбол на идеите и на знаењата што ги пренесува.

Во 1933 година, пред 85 години, нацистите организирале горење на илјадници книги кои ги сметале за неподобни. Но, тоа е само еден од последниот во долгата низа слични акти на ограничување на слободата на мисла, совест, верување и слободата на говорот. 30 години претходно, на сличен начин завршиле и речиси сите примероци од книгата со која de facto се кодифицирал мојот мајчин македонски јазик.

Тоа не треба да нè изненадува. Целта на тираните отсекогаш била да ја ограничат слободата на најмалиот можен простор, а тоа е просторот меѓу нашите две уши, држејќи ги притоа нашите усти затворени. Но, во исконскиот судир меѓу страста на идеалите и моќта на интересите победува незапирливиот човечки стремеж за слобода.

На плоштадот во германскиот град Кесел каде нацистите изгореле околу 2.000 книги, аргентинската уметничка Марта Минухин гради реплика на Партенонот составена од 100.000 книги што биле забранувани. Книгите горат, но идеите не. Или, како што уште пред 2 000 години рекол Акиба бен Јозеф, „хартијата гори, но зборовите летаат".

Низ вековите луѓето имале креативни начини за да ги зачуваат записите и да ги пренесат пораките. Ги криеле во пештери, ги кодирале, усно ги пренесувале како луѓето-книги во „Фаренхајт 451". Денес, тоа го правиме со дигитализација на книгите.

Тука има еден парадокс. Многу книги кои не биле забранувани денес се заборавени. И, наспроти тоа, многу книги кои биле забранувани, денес се сè уште привлечни и побарувани. Затоа и некој се пошегувал велејќи дека ако сакате идеја за добра книга, погледнете го Index librorum prohibitorum, односно списокот на забранети книги. Меѓу нив има автори кои просветлувале, но и такви кои заведувале. Преку нив се пренесуваат благородни идеи за почитување на различноста, но и зборови на омраза и уништување.

Нашите општества се развиваат, напредуваат и се менуваат и во тој процес се соочуваат со нови предизвици и можности, нови ризици и несигурности. Сè почесто сме сведоци на исклучивост, ксенофобија, радикализам, екстремизам и тероризам.

Оттука, централното прашање со кое се соочува секое општество и секоја држава е: Дали слободата и поредокот можат да опстанат заедно? Како државата ќе го постигне балансот меѓу јавната безбедност и индивидуалната слобода? Од одговорот на овие прашања зависи каков ќе биде карактерот на нашето општество. Верувам дека како држави ние треба да го пронајдеме вистинскиот баланс меѓу гарантирањето на слободата на говорот и борбата против говорот на омраза.

Исто така, како универзитетски професор сметам дека на книгата секогаш се одговара со книга, а никогаш со пламен. На идејата се одговара со добро аргументирана контраидеја, а не со говор на омраза. Но, тој потфат подразбира две нешта:

Прво, потребна е волја и отворен ум за да се разбере што, всушност, авторот сака да каже. Дали ни го објаснува светот и нашето место во него? Дали успева да го долови духот на времето? Дали ни нуди применливи решенија за предизвиците?

Второ, откако ќе разбереме што сака да пренесе авторот, треба да се придржуваме до Кантовите критериуми за јавна употреба на умот, со јавна пристојност во јавниот простор.

Но, во денешно време нема време за тоа. И повторно, поради две причини. Првата е дека ни се одзеде слободното време, а без слободно време нема ниту читање книги, ниту размислување. Откажувањето од читањето и од размислувањето е декларација за духовен и интелектуален банкрот.

Втората причина е дека живееме во време на информации и брзи комуникации. Време кога годишно се издаваат околу 2.200.000 нови книги во светот. Тоа се околу 6 000 нови публикации секој ден, односно по 250 книги секој час, околу 4 книги секоја минута. До крајот на ова мое кратко обраќање, глобалниот човечки опус ќе биде побогат за 30-ина нови наслови.

Дали полека влегуваме во стапица да објавуваме заради објавување? Дали станавме експерти на нова научна дисциплина – цитатологија? И, конечно, дали сето тоа ни дава појасна претстава за светот и за нашето место во него? Дали книгите се во функција на одржлив развој на државите или само кариерен развој на поединците?

Фрустрациите од 20 век експлодираат во 21 век со лажни вести и лажни херои. Мудроста што се стекнува цел живот не може да се сведе на 280 карактери. Твитот не може да ја замени книгата. Поради тиранијата на ургентното, немаме време за филозофија, за размислување за најголемите животни прашања. А, без тоа нема ни решенија, а без решенија нема ниту одржливост на развојот.

Постмодернизмот го скрши големото огледало што ни овозможуваше преку дедукција да дојдеме до големата слика. Сега наместо едно, имаме милион огледала кои даваат само сегменти од сликата.

Така стигнуваме до второто прашање: За што се употребува човековото знаење?

Ова прашање е адресирано во наративот за Вавилонската кула. Тоа е прв голем потфат на луѓето кои решиле да соѕидаат град и кула висока до небото и со тоа да се прослават себе си. Во отсуство на јазична бариера, луѓето можеле меѓусебно полесно да се разберат и да ги комбинираат своите знаења, вештини и технологии за да го остварат сонот – да бидат како Бог. Знаеме како заврши таа епизода.

Од тогаш до денес, луѓето тежнеат да го остварат тој идеал. Оз Гинис нè потсетува дека во нашиот храбар нов свет на биотехнологијата вавилонскиот нагон е повторно актуелен. Кон игнорирањето на филозофијата се придодава вулгаризацијата на науката и нејзино претворање во слугинка на технологијата.

Според Николас Остлер, англискиот јазик ќе биде последната lingua franga во историјата. Со усовршувањето на софистицираните програми и дигиталните алгоритми, учењето странски јазици ќе стане застарена вештина како калиграфијата. Денес, Google translate сака да го реши проблемот со Вавилонската кула со тоа што ќе ја отстрани јазичната бариера. Но, тука ќе се соочи со друг предизвик. А тоа е идентитетот. Бидејќи различните идентитети на различен начин го поимаат светот и им придаваат различни значења на истите зборови. Чеслав Милош рекол: „нема заедничка мера онаму каде што човекот на различен начин го поима своето место во светот". А тоа е нешто што не може да се стави во дигиталниот калап.

Книгите и теориите што во нив се запишани се мисловен компас и умствени мапи што треба да ни помогнат да се ориентираме во светот. Меѓу милионите напишани книги постојат и такви кои придонеле да се јават креативни малцинства и поединци кои опремени со знаењето и со информациите дошле до моментот „еурека". Во сите векови и епохи, тоа се двигатели на развојот и мотиватори на општеството бидејќи во своите дела, во своите книги ги образложиле своите идеи на лесно разбирлив начин и храбро ги изложиле на критиката на јавноста.

Ви благодарам.

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