“World” and “Future”. When these two words come together, an inevitable chain of questions concerning the entire world citizens occurs: Does the world have a future? Could humanity have a role in the formation of this future? Are our cities, politics, arts and sciences, concepts and definitions ready for the world of future? And, what possibilities of thinking and praxis are available to those trying to understand the future from today? Possibilities, as we are all too well familiar with, are never ready-made or given. Instead, we always need the power of thinking and acting to reveal them. Therefore, putting the words “world” and “future” side by side is an invitation to think about other possibilities especially now, since our imagination is exhausted with scenarios of ecological disasters, the robotic world projections where human beings are enslaved by digital destructions, and the imagery of war writ large.
A number of urgent questions frame our invitation: Does the objective of economic growth have to be at the cost of our world? How can we re-establish our relationship with the “non-human” beings in our daily lives? Haven’t we waited long enough to imagine a new ethos in this world crammed with violence? Let’s be clear; it is not “the non-human forms” that have to change because they are already in a state of constant change and metamorphosis. However, thinking of the stage in which our civilization has finally reached, human beings are trapped in the institutions and practices of capitalist modernity. Every time the words “world” and “future” are brought side by side, the humanity is condemned to a series of consequential words such as “speed”, “growth”, “crisis” and “competition”. Yet, we think that this destiny can be transformed, the connection between the world and the future can be established with brand new concepts. And, philosophy can offer us new vocabularies to establish this bond.
We are being tested by an obvious fact: The Covid-19 epidemic, which has emerged as a result of the mutation of a virus belonging to the corona virus family. What this epidemic exposed, among other things, is fragility of the bridge between “the world” and “the future”. As we struggled to imagine a future amidst this pandemic, dozens of questions that have come to light are all around us. Critical and creative thinking pursues these possibilities and leaves the mark of the “what can be” to the world divided between “what is” and “what ought to be.” It is the “possible happenings”, which paves the way for movement and desire to thought and action. In other words, it is the possibilities inherent in our present time. Each question presents us a cluster of possibilities. These possibilities are humanities’ constant pursuits. As İzmir Metropolitan Municipality, we aim to realize this quest under four main headings in the series of philosophy events we organize for the third time. In the uncertainty created by the Covid-19 epidemic, we want to initiate a discussion on “the future of the world and the world of future” by trying to understand the horizons of politics, the new aspects of the relationship between humans and nature, the effects of the crisis for humans on the search for new meanings and the strange relationships we have established with the crisis through its effects on our psyche.
Modern thought begins with the confidence that despite all its social inequalities, the power of thinking is fairly shared among different individuals and cultures. We think that it is the right time to mobilize this power to discover the possibilities of this new process that has been driving us all into a state of uncertainty and crisis. We repeat our call as Nazım Hikmet wrote in one of his unforgettable poems: “This invitation is ours!”