transkulturelle automatismen, transcultural automatism, transkulturelle philosophie, transcultural philosophy, transkulturelle kompetenz, transcultural competence
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One day, at a beach of the Atlantic Ocean, somewhere in Europe a fisherman found an unsual bright colorful fish that addressed him, “Dear fisherman, if you throw me back to the sea, I will grant you two wishes, because I have the power to do so!“. The fisherman, at first astonished about the fact that the fish talked to him, slowly come to himself and agreed. He picked up the fish and threw it back into the sea. Now the fish asked what wishes he had. The fisherman thought a little bit longer and then said, “The first wish is a solid highway bridge from this beach to New York, because I always wanted to see America, but suffer from claustrophobia and cannot stand a flight lasting several hours. Besides that would be an amazingly valuable connection of two continents. A dream would come true for millions of humans. Humans, cultures, nations would get closer to each other“. “It is impossible for me to build such a bridge, especially because the ground is sandy and the water pressure on the supporting column of the bridge would be too strong. That again would be a much too high risk for travelers, human lives would be in danger. It is a physical impossibility. Rather tell me your second wish“, the fish said. “Well“, the fisherman answered, “I always wanted to understand the humans. How they function, why humanity is missing on earth, although there are so many humans on the planet. Why humans have been using wars against each other for thousands of years, why very often love and the good are missing. That’s what I want to understand“. The fish responded, “How many highway tracks should the bridge have?“
In space and time nothing is static. Everything is moving permanently, everything changes irrecoverably. Hence, also the human. The human is a complex creature . Its perception of the existence, of space and time, its mindset, way of communication and course of action are expressed by its transcultural automatisms. These are predicated on and form depending on place and time where a human was born/will be born, on gender, on physical and mental constitution, on the ethnic affiliation and respective diversity (e.g. color of the skin), on the first language that is learnt, on education that the human is receiving in the course of life, on the tradition in which the person is growing up and is been learnt, on the religion that is imparted to you in the course of life or you decide yourself for during a later phase of life, on the culture that you learn, on the sexual orientation, on the economic-political-historical contexts in which a person is born into and in which a person is living/acting, environmental factors, on quality and quantity of acquisition of knowledge, on personal education and further education as well as action and possibility of the personal development and the complex network of experiences and fine subfactors that influences each other permanently. This antistatic perception of space and time unique for humans, mindsets, ways of communication and action I identify as transcultural automatisms.
However, transcultural automatisms have to be distinguished from the personality of the human in at least one point. If the personality [is]“the dynamic order of those psychophysical systems within the individual that determine its unique adaption to its environment“,(1) as described by Gordon W. Allport, then transcultural automatisms represent those dynamics, but they differ from the personality defined as such, because they do not only reflect the adaption to the environment, but also the changes of the environment by the humans and the influence of the environment on humans themselves and reflect them as part of the existence, whereby the adaption itself respectively the perceptions and actions that I understand thereby are described as automatisms caused transculturally. Transcultural automatisms are trellis patterns of the personality that however represent the individual, but stand in a permanent dynamic exchange (interaction) with the surrounding and therefore register the permanent change (of the personality) and communicate it externally. Transcultural automatisms represent the personality and define at the same time the dynamic reciprocal effect between the individual and the surrounding in the existence, determine the unstoppable change that results thereof and thus the perception and action automatisms including its transculturality based thereupon.
If we take the feeling of beauty as example, then we think on the respective subjectivity: beauty is in the eyes of the beholder or however expressed more precisely: the perception of the beautiful depends on transcultural automatisms. Hence, the perception and the feeling of beauty does not depend on the universal benchmarks of the feeling of beauty, but on the individual itself. However, the individual depends on its transculturality, its transcultural automatisms. The universal benchmarks of the feeling of beauty can have different significance at specific times and places and can, or also cannot, influence the personal feeling of the beautiful, the transcultural automatisms in this regard, in different imprints. The feeling resulting thereof and the corresponding reaction form and modify the transcultural automatisms of the human in this regard. Hence the feeling of beauty is always determined transculturally, depending on transcultural automatisms that stand in a permanent conscious and unconscious exchange within and with the existence whereby the feeling of beauty is subject to just these dynamics and thus is communicated automatically transculturally.
The communication, the language and the sounds of a language also depend on transcultural automatisms. The sensation of pain just as well, etc. If we take Charlie Chaplin as a second example then most of the readers thought most likely the minute the name “Charlie Chaplin“ was mentioned of the movie character “The Tramp“ a (moustache, bowler hat, walking stick, etc.). However behind the fictional character “The Tramp“ (behind the visible surface) there is the human Charlie Spencer Chaplin (1889-1977), a versatile personality such as each human is. Nevertheless, the automatisms of the readers reacted and matched automatically transculturally: only the fewest really occupy themselves with the person of the actor although he was/is very well-known. Comparing with an iceberg whose tip respectively a part of it is only visible, the bigger part is situated under water (and therefore invisible) you also have to look under the visual and acoustically perceptible surface of humans (transcultural automatisms), if you want to meet and experience them. (2 please read it) Hence the encounter is the optimal precondition for the implementation of transcultural competence, if it is a matter of two or more persons. Problem factor is the time that e.g. is very often “missing“ during daily working routine (for a specific assignment).(3 please read it)
Charles Spencer Chaplin (photo left: 1915; photo right: 1910-1920)(4)
Cultures and Transculturality
Cultures have never been homogeneous, because they have never been isolated, are not isolated and can never be isolated. The human is a holder of culture. There are no cultures without humans and no humans without cultures. Humans have always influenced each other mutually. The first human with his/her culture that existed by his/her existence and external influence (surrounding), formed the other humans und thereby other cultures. Hence cultures are thereby formed and vice-versa. At the times of antiquity at the latest traces in writing of the considerations of influencing humans and thereby of the cultures by the surrounding are detectible. Since the nineteen-forties the topic has been picked up over and over again in different disciplines of science and plays in this day and age, a time of globalization and a distinctively perceptible change of the (surrounding)world, an essential role. Cultures move, are dynamic and never static. Only, transculturality mentioned very often in the cultural research does not start with globalization – it has been always existing. Transcultural flow, exchange amongst humans and with the surrounding has been existing ever since the beginning of mankind. Because I understand by transculturality a permanent flowing (other forms accepting, surrounded by other forms and other forms surrounding) movement and encounter of cultures and in the cultures, a permanent mutual unconscious and conscious influencing of humans as holders of culture and influencing of humans by the surrounding (spaces) and times, in which they are moving as well as influencing of spaces and temporally perception by the humans themselves. These actualizations within the human and in her/his surroundings bring a different perception of space and time. Hence, also the understanding of transculturality itself varies resulting in an impossibility of the final definition. Hence transculturality means “movement“ as well as of cultures as within the cultures. It is a matter of a movement that always brings a transformation about: conscious or unconscious and in different qualities and quantities. Hence, transculturality is also always a process. The impossibility of homogenization, demarcation of cultures, ideas, humans, etc. are resulting thereof.
Perception of transculturality and therefore working targeted means to start a process. This process never ends. What can develop from that is an ability, a competence that I describe as transcultural competence. Transcultural competence is the ability for perception of the permanent movement and of the existence (e.g. space, time, perceptions, cultures, traditions are changing permanently etc.), ambiguity tolerance as well as the ability for self-reflection, for a change of perspectives, for empathy, for low-threshold and flexible communication, for perception and for identification of differences with the target to reach more precise self-perception (permanent self-reflection) and to be able to communicate and act person-related or situation-related. Acquirement of transcultural competence is a never-ending process of self-perception and (experience-related) acquirement of knowledge. Therefore the transcultural competence has a special approach, an approach to identification of the movement of the existence and hence identification of a common basis within an encounter, in a dialogue respectively polylogue.(8 please read it)First of all it is a matter of the identification of the permanent change of the existence and of yourself. A change within and by space and time. All humans are subject to that dynamic of the existence and are therefore in the transculturality that can never be homogenous. At the second step, within the process of acquirement of the transcultural competence it is a matter of self-reflection processes that have been started by the first step. Hence, the focus of a transcultural competence does not lie at first on what lies or exists, this “between“ is of course very important, however the transcultural competence starts two steps earlier and thus paves the way respectively optimizes the self-positioning and third-party positioning in one encounter.
Transcultural philosophy also means transdisciplinarity, a preoccupation with the processes in the existence (dynamics) with the basic terms of that philosophy as well as the generation of terms that should facilitate that type of philosophizing. Therefore transcultural philosophy means preoccupation with origins, terms and considerations with focus on different philosophical approaches, different philosophical traditions, terms of culture as well as multiculturality, interculturality and transculturality and a focus on dynamics, the movement of those processes what the term “trans“ also stands for. A transcultural philosophy deals primarily with the perception of the movement of the existence and knowledge within the existence depending on transcultural automatisms of the humans. However transcultural philosophy does not have any frame, no visible limitations whereby the wording presented here depends by the transcultural automatisms of the author. Hence, the definition of the transcultural philosophy is always in movement, in a process of formation that cannot have any completion.
Regardless in what type of surrounding humans deal with each other, with each selective encounter, with each attempt of communication basically at first it is a matter of encountering the human. The point is to communicate with humans, to listen to humans. It also means to be able to develop basis for talks. Therefore the encounter plays an essential role, thus without any encounter and the contention with the transcultural automatisms of persons you cannot reach humans. Hence, in an optimal way an encounter should start with self-reflecting analysis (9 please read it)of the own transcultural automatisms. The transcultural philosophy respectively transcultural competence deals with the complexity of the human mentioned. Here, the importance of studying biographies of specific persons that are important in a transcultural context can be mentioned as an example (as part of the analysis of transcultural automatisms). Here, however it is important to mention the fact of the impossibility of the across-the-board assessment because of the complexity of humans. Based on already existing experiences and data that can result of a survey, the generation of a possible – although arguable – pattern would be possible.
Jeet Kune Do as Example
The activities and the philosophy of Bruce Lee(12 please read it)(1940-1973) can be mentioned as further example in this context. His combat style, a hybrid of several types of martial art known in the nineteen-seventies developed by him is called “Jeet Kune Do“ (“The way of the intercepting fist“) which is an per se an example of transculturality. The philosophy that is hidden behind starts from a dynamic universe and a permanent interaction of opposites that move there..(13)He summed his principle of naming “no way as way“ and “no limitation as limitation“ in the water parable that is strongly reminiscent of the panta rhei teaching of the pre-Socratics and philosophy that hides behind the aphorism “Everything is flowing“ (panta rhei) and maybe was influenced by it: “Empty your mind. Be like water. Put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. Put water into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can flow; it can flow or creep, or drip or crash. Be water, my friend.“ (14 please read it) “Jeet Kune Do“ means no limitation, especially no limitation by traditional martial art styles, means mobile formlessness - like water is permanently adapting to the counterpart, a repeated self-discovery: “Jeet Kune Do favors formlessness so that it can assume all forms and since Jeet Kune Do has no style, it can fit in all styles“.(15)For our topic this type of perception of existence a special approach to problem solving, it means to understand the first principle of transcultural philosophy to be able to identify and understand the dynamics of existence. A problem solving success could subsequently reside in the formlessness of the problem-solving approach (adaptability to the situation), in the ability for plunging into the formlessness of this move and for leveraging these processes: be like water (be flexible in your action), flow (learn from your counterpart, also move into his/her direction), move (move within your and with your ability and competence, prepossess the form of the object respectively prepossess the form of the situation) and flow around (be part of that and surround it) the situation (meet dialogue partners, pick them up and take them with you into the move: participative approach and yet situation overview to be expected).
Changing Perspectives as Tool & Solution
If we monitor a discussion as an example at an encounter then at first the point is not, seen transculturally competent, to disprove (immediately) a specific predication/statement of the counterpart by counter-arguments (if that should be a an intention), even if these counter arguments should be sufficient for it, but for the initiation of the process of form change, (16 please read it)the initiation of the beginning of a change of perspective related to the corresponding predication/statement. .(17 please read it)At the same time it is a matter of developing a relationship and the readiness to talk. The point is not to reason the counter-arguments respectively the arguments of disconfirmation and to represent a plausible counter-position to expressed predication/statement (this procedure is also not to be excluded and should apply as context-dependent option), but an individualized, context-dependent, common (participative and inclusive approach) construction (acquirement of knowledge, ability) of a tool, by means of which an independent revised construction or deconstruction of the predication/statement can be precepted by its representatives. By a change of perspectives of the dialogue partner in regard to the original predication/statement it can come to a permanent solution of the problem (if the point is the treatment of a problem) or at least to the generation of new corresponding approaches, because the arguments and counter-arguments of the predication/statement are identified and reasoned in person: the necessary arguments are not explained “smart-alecky“, but the dialogue partners start to search for an explanation of the predication/statement, in order to associate them, whereby the position is considerd, explained and re-positioned step by step differently. Thereby the analysis and the contact with the own transcultural automatisms at a time plays an essential role. As each human is different and multifaceted, there is no specific form of the form change process, whereby first of all the actual form is the form of the formlessness – it is the form that develops in the process itself and initially adopts the form of the given situation (“Be like water“, Bruce Lee). By a change of perspectives several doors open in regard to the originally discussed topic, several possibilities emerge whereof you can finally “dock“ within the change of form process. A change of perspectives, a self-observation position should lead to contextualization of the original own position and facilitate a participative self-discovery trip that ideally leads to acquirement of knowledge and more appreciation for yourself and the counterpart. Hereby it is basically a question of the principle of helping people help themselves, thus the ability for self-reflection. The principle has been mentioned in different literary forms for millennia. The saying that however, is attributed to several authors: give one person a fish and you feed him/her for a day. Teach the person to fish and you feed him/her lifelong.
Like spread out feelers
It is very difficult to describe complicated contexts on a few pages of paper. However, it was important to me to make a stab on the search for knowledge, for possibilities and philosophic tools, in terms of strengthening the social cohesion, the culture of democracy and struggling for the implementation of human rights. The universe, the galaxies, planets, stars and our earth, humans, cultures, thoughts are in permanent move. Like we are at the moment, thus we percept the world, the existence at this moment, this perception has been gone forever, the experience stays “stored“ – but also not in any case. In the moment where these lines of text are read, the world, our surrounding and we ourselves have changed irrevocably forever. Exactly that move, the change and ephemerality lead to the necessity of the common, to the search for overlap areas that permanently newly generate.
„A view of most of North America taken from a low orbit of about 826 km altitude. The whole hemisphere is not visible owing to the low orbit, and the horizon is at a distance of about 3,300 km, while the radius of the planet is 6,371 km. The diameter seen from this height is about 125 degrees. An image of the Earth taken from the VIIRS instrument aboard NASA's Earth-observing research satellite, Suomi NPP.“(22)
1. ↑ Christian Benne, Enrico Müller [Hrsg.]: Ohnmacht des Subjekts – Macht der Persönlichkeit, Schwabe Verlag, Basel 2014, p.74, Footnote 6, see: Gordon W. Allport: Persönlichkeit. Struktur, Entwicklung und Erfassung der menschlichen Eigenart, 2.Aufl., Meisenheim am Glan 1959.
2. ↑ By the statement “experiencing humans“ I mean the initially invisbile (e.g. sexual orientation, cultur, tradition, religiousness, feelings, philosophy of life, ethic conduct, etc.) that is situated underneath the visible surface (gender, ethnic affiliation, age) can be reached, you learn by it to compare notes by it. Because the initially invisible is primarily what represents the human.
3.↑ On the basis of this statement we can monitor the corresponding transcultural automatisms: The time is not really “missing“. What is described herewith is the perception of time that is felt in that way and is used in the linguistic usage. The statement “the time is missing“ in the mentioned context is understandable, however just that consideration of the perception of time is relevant in the sense of the transcultural philosophy, because at the same time it gets obvious that with the perception of space and time it is a matter of expressions of transcultural automatisms that are usual not questioned whereby awareness of the relevance of the perception of the movement of the dynamic of space and time is missing. In reality the time cannot be “missing“ at all, because it is existent, because only the awareness for those contexts is missing. If we take the time as an example, then we determine in addition to that that the perception of the presence is a fiction in space and time, because the visual as well as the acoustic perception of the moment of formation till the moment of perception have been “travelling“ in the brain, whereby it comes to a time shift that is in fact from humans not perceptible, but is existent: the human does not experience the presence, but the past. Hence the human experiences automatically transculturally the presence (even more descriptive: “Live“ transmissions on TV. Those are never “live“, but are broadcasted with a delay due to the distance the picture/sound has to bridge to the recipient). A further example of transcultural automatisms is the statement: “The sun is raising/is setting“. A very common statement in everyday life that is communicated and understood transculturally automatically. However, the fact is: The sun is neither raising nor is it setting. The earth that is irradiated by the sun is turning around its own axis, whereby it comes to the change of day and night, because the globe can be only partially illuminated. Consideration in this regards lead to self-reflection and to a repositioning in the existence whereby the perception of space and time and the own part in the existence is reflected. Those considerations can be regarded as exercises in the process of acquirement to transcultural competence.
4.↑ Quelle: Wikipedia, Onlinequellen: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Chaplin#/media/File:Charlie_Chaplin.jpg; https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Chaplin#/media/File:Chaplin2.jpg, 6.9.2018 (Public domain).
5.↑ Allan Metcalf: OK. The Improbable Story of America`s Greatest Word, Oxford University Press, New York 2011, p.83-87; Cecil Adams: More of the Straight Hope, Ballantine Books, University of Michigan, 1988, p.252.
6.↑ Christoph Drösser: Stimmt's? / Stimmtʼs - Oll Correct, DIE ZEIT 36/1997, https://www.zeit.de/stimmts/1997/1997_36_stimmts, Published on: Sept. 3, 1997, Accessed on: June 27, 2018.
7.↑ Allan Metcalf: OK., p.91.
8.↑ Polylogue is a concept of philosophizing transculturally that I regard here as a tool of transcultural competence respectively transcultural philosophy, in: Franz Martin Wimmer: Interkulturelle Philosophie, WUV, Wien 2004.
9.↑ By the statement “Analysis of Transcultural Automatisms“ in this paper any type and method of approach to transcultural automatisms, optimally in the transdisciplinary sense are meant.
10.↑ See e.g. communication square by Schulz von Thun, in: Das Kommunikationsquadrat, Schulz von Thun Institut, https://www.schulz-von-thun.de/die-modelle/das-kommunikationsquadrat, 4.4.2018
11.↑ Examples for “encounter processes“ are individual conversations, discussion respectively dialogue fora, networking platforms, philosophic exchange platforms etc. See e.g. “garden polylogue“, in: Ursula Taborsky: Grüne Orte des Polylogs, in: Polylog Nr.29, Zeitschrift für interkulturelles Philosophieren, p.51, Wien 2013 or e.g. network platforms | Afghan and Chechen Communities, a project of MA 17 – Municipal Department for Integration and Diversity of the City of Vienna (2018), in: Network for Deradicalization and Prevention, Two Years network for Deradicalization & Prevention, Children and Juvenile Advocacy Vienna, https://kja.at/site/files/2017/02/Medienpapier_Expertforum1.pdf, 30.08.2018; Oona Krosileitner: CommunityNetwork. Zur Integration von Tschetschenen und Afghanen, Der Standard, 13. 06. 2017, https://www.pressreader.com/austria/der-standard/20170113/281749859045787, 30.08.2018.
12.↑ Detailed explanation of the example is is not possible at this point by reasons of space. For details please see: Almir Ibrić: Transkulturelle Philosophie. Automatismen – Kompetenz - Methoden (Manuscript currently not yet published, 9/2018).
13.↑Tommy Gong: Jeet Kune Do, in: Thomas A. Green: Martial Arts of the World. An Encyclopedia. Volume one AQ, ABC Clio, Santa Barbara Califonia/ Denver-Colorado, England 2001, p.206.
14.↑ Bruce Thomas: Bruce Lee. Fighting spirit, Sidgwick & Jackson, London 1996/2002/2007, p.139; Bruce Lee Interview in Hong Kong, 9. Dec.1971, in: The Pierre Berton Show (60Min), Min.15:50, Online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jfQSCbkA94, 14.03.2018.
15.↑ Bruce Lee: Tao of Jeet Kunde Do, p.12
16.↑ The very fact of the preoccupation with each other, the facto f the dialogue already brings about a new form (it is a change of form process per se) that has been just started, whereby the original position is in a dialogue subject to a specific change in different quantity and quality.
17.↑ Precondition for it is the basic method, a self-reflecting process of the own change of perspectives (see: basic and overlap method: Almir Ibrić: Transkulturelle Philosophie, Manuscript, 9/2018).
18.↑ Basic & overlap , Winstone Wolf as well as polylogue method can be applied respectively combined, see thereunto additionally: Almir Ibrić: Transkulturelle Philosophie (Manuscript, 9/2018).
19.↑ As per: Henry S.F. Scooper: A House in Space, New York 1976, in: Frank White: Der Overview Effekt. Wie die Erfahrung des Weltraums das menschliche Wahrnehmen, Denken und Handeln verändert. Die erste interdisziplinäre Auswertung von über 20 Jahren Raumfahrt, Goldmann Verlag, Bern/München 1993.
20.↑ Frank White: Der Overview Effekt. Wie die Erfahrung des Weltraums das menschliche Wahrnehmen, Denken und Handeln verändert. Die erste interdisziplinäre Auswertung von über 20 Jahren Raumfahrt, Goldmann Verlag, Bern/München 1993, S.23.
21.↑ Frank White: Der Overview Effekt. How the perception of space changes the human perception, thinking and acting. The first interdisciplinary evaluation of over 20 years of space flight, Goldmann Verlag, Bern/München 1993, p.23.
22.↑ Onlinequellen:http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_2159.html; http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/multimedia/display.cfm?IM_ID=9643;http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object=Earth; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blue_Marble#/media/File:North_America_from_low_orbiting_satellite_Suo mi_NPP.jpg (Public domain), 6.9.2018.
Translated by H.T., Oct.2018.
Dr. Almir Ibric
Dr. Almir Ibric