Most Distinguished Participants,
It is a great honour and privilege for me to welcome you all to the seventh annual session of Kadıköy Anadolu Lisesi Model United Nations Conference, as this year’s President of the General Assembly. This year, as the KALMUN Secretariat, we have decided to motivate our participants to overcome the effects of traditional sentiments on the creation of innovative ideas by adopting the theme of: “Initiating a contemporary period of enlightenment: Preclusion of the commitment on conventional concepts and opposition on modern notions”. With the following letter, you would be able to acquire an opportunity of speculating how the aforecited theme harmonises with the General Assembly committees of KALMUN 2019.
John Locke once said: “New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common.” In the current era, new ideas do not receive sufficient attention. However, if the admission of modern notions to the world is obstructed, achieving an enlightened globe will be unattainable. Bearing apprehension and suspicion on inventive ideas could leave a tremendous damage on the future of a generation. Every community has customary rules and a member of the society undoubtedly follows them because of the sense of obligation. This feeling may detract the mankind from the possibility of a contemporary age, because if the obligation is not fulfilled, mankind may experience monachopsis. Even though the uniqueness of a nation is measured by its values, according to the quotation of Locke, if all members of a community share the same concepts and obligations, that community will not be prepared to embrace novel thoughts. The fear of surpassing accustomedness is an enormous obstacle on the direction of enlightenment. A community, where everyone shares the same frame of mind, would have difficulties in initiating a contemporary period.
Jawaharlal Nehru formerly stated that: “Ignorance is always afraid of change.” The aforementioned accustomedness can be associated with ignorance. Pursuing customariness would conclude with the appearance of superstitious belief. Novelty has always been an alarming component for nations. This fear could be interpreted with an unsophisticated example. Children become accustomed to swimming with a life preserver throughout their childhood. If you urge them to swim without it, they may expect to drown because they are not ready to acknowledge the replacement. Similarly, mankind does not find it easy to embrace the development, which originates opposition.
Enlightenment is usually defined as education which results in the understanding and the spread of knowledge. It is also explained as awakening, which means that if a contemporary period of enlightenment is initiated globally, it would culminate in the acknowledgement of all people. In accordance with Immanuel Kant’s following words:
“Have the courage to use your own reason. That is the motto of enlightenment”
Enlightenment requires for mankind to be valiant. A nation, without courage, is hindered from entering a contemporary age. If reaching the target of a modern world lies within the courage of mankind, why can’t we overcome the fear of embracing modern notions? What is the real obstacle then, the society, the upbringing of children or is it us?
John Stuart Mill made the following statement on his work, On Liberty that:
“If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind”. In conformity with Mill’s quotation, an opposite opinion can have the capacity of changing the perspective of the public. Common ideas are normally supported by the society because they are thought to be true, however if a man has the courage to defend his opinion, he could make an inversion out of the situation. The main step of entering a contemporary period is having faith in our notions, to earn the support of a society; you need to believe in yourself first.
Wherefore are we dwelling on modern notions? A contemporary period necessitates the pursuit of modern ideas and design. Conventional concepts are based upon general beliefs and actions, which limits the harmony of innovation with the current era. Hence, a nation grasping on conventional concepts, is unfamiliar with the provision of development by modern thinking. In compliance with John Kenneth Galbrait’s following assertion: “The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.” Communities that are holding on to conventional concepts are condemned to live with the stolidity of thinking. Once they manage to take heed of modern notions, they will be capable of leaving stolidity behind and gravitate towards a new beginning.
According to John Locke’s under mentioned quotation:
“To prejudge other men’s notions before we have looked into them is not to show their darkness but to put out our own eyes.”
Modern notions are opposed because of the prejudgement of the society. The reason behind the prejudgement is to act as the prevailing side by underestimating the power of new opinions. Nevertheless, the ‘prevailing side’ is not aware that, by prejudging the notion of a contemporary mind, they reprieve the implementation of enlightenment to broaden knowledge within the society. As Locke states, the prejudgement results in the revulsion from the light and imminence to the dark.
Throughout history, newer ideas have been suspected by the world, sometimes this concluded in the misery of the owners of these ideas. In 1600, a man named Giordano Bruno propounded a notion about the movement of the Earth around the Sun and the existence of many planets through the universe. His notion was immediately opposed by the society. Although he was forced to give up his ideas, he pursued his battle to spread his belief. In conclusion, he was burnt to death. In 1610, while the Italian mathematician, physicist and philosopher Galileo Galilei was observing the solar system with this telescope, he made a deduction which indicated that Moon has pits and other features just like the Earth. Subsequently, during his observations of the phases of Venus, he figured out that the planets orbit the Sun, and not the Earth. His discovery caused him to be interrogated by the Inquisition and then be accused of heresy. He continued on his projects by writing a book consisting of a dialogue between three fictional characters called “Dialogue Concerning The Two Chief Systems of The World.” Since the book was symbolizing the Copernican system, it was banned with the decision of the Church. Threatened with torture, Galilei was forced to make a public confession stating that his beliefs were wrong. Reportedly, Galilei muttered after his confession that: “E pur si muove (Yet, it still moves.)”. In 1922, the ban on Galilei’s book was lifted. As it is seen, modern notions do not receive sympathy in many societies. Although Galilei’s belief has been opposed by the society in his time, it is confirmed to be accurate today. Bruno and Galilei have not been afraid of sticking up for their notions because for our notions to be considered, we need to justify them.
In accordance with Aubrey de Grey’s enunciation, the ability of thinking outside the box is the biggest handicap in research and conventional wisdom is what encumbers the creation of inventive opinions.Modern notions are the constituent of technology and development. Surrounded by the conventional concepts, innovation becomes unobtainable. Research concludes in progress, and if the ability of thinking outside the box is limited, research transforms into handicap itself.
As explained above, the way of approaching novelty measures from the willingness we wish to perform to subdue our fears of spreading knowledge. If we are aiming to initiate a contemporary period of enlightenment, it depends on the mindset and education of the next generation. Over the course of our childhood, we always wonder about new things, as a result of the interrogation we produce many innovative opinions. Notwithstanding, the upbringing of children induces them to lose their ability to interrogate and compel them to implement what is told. The only way of achieving enlightenment is to act with the guidance of youth. The initiation of a contemporary period is only possible through having the next generation attain a new sense of mind. Embrace your passion of making a difference in the world. It is up to you now, to innovate and overcome the accustomedness.
Throughout seven years of experience, KALMUN has always endeavoured to provide its participants with a remarkable experience. With the adaptation of this very theme, KALMUN Secretariat has decided to challenge its participants to infiltrate their notion through the barriers of ignorance and customary opinion. Each written clause will become a new step on the path to a contemporary world. Enlightenment lies within the minds of the whole humanity, the only necessity is to overcome the fear of novelty and extricate our notions. Once an idea is released from the mind and is capable of flying with the freedom of a seagull, that is when mankind can enter an era of enlightenment.
As KALMUN family, we have the uttermost aspiration and faith in the bravery of the next generation upon the initiation of a contemporary period of enlightenment by the elimination of the dominance of conventional concepts and proliferation of modern notions. We all represent a shade of a colour, and the combination of all shades results in the creation of the world of colours. Now, be a part of our world of colours to let your shade lead your conceptions to enlightenment.
Gülnur Berfu BELELİ
President of the General Assembly of KALMUN 2019