Prof. Dr. Kemal Arıkan


Generalisations… These damned generalisations. All of it should be thrown into the fires of hell. Lately I have been thinking, the passion for associating everything with something else is a real virus that has imposed itself upon the soul. It is so established that the issue has become main material for mathematics.

I am talking about the famous “induction” theory, the logic that says “If a person manages to climb the first step of stairs and then the second, well then it is obvious that he will reach the top of the minaret!” Is in your opinion someone who sees three cats that have tails and assumes that all cats have tails, on the right path? There are countless examples. In the end one might say there is no generalisation. So what is there? Shall I too make a generalisation by saying “every incident is special”?… Don’t hope for it, I will not fall into that trap. But everything goes and finds its place somewhere on the bell-shaped curve. This means that it takes up its place in the ‘general’ but is itself special. An assistant who has seen three schizophrenic patients that are resistant to treatment and as a result gives up all hope of treating the illness, and a psychiatrist who has successfully treated two depression cases and says every depression will respond to treatment meet at the same point. That point is made of irrationality. To discard a person because he made a couple of mistakes… No, this is not on!… Look and see what consequences generalisation has: stigmatisation, labelling people, immoderate fantasies, excessive fears, unfounded hopes, and many other wrong and distorted processes.

By the way, did you know that one of the attributes that makes a person into a scientist is the ability for him to free himself of this generalisation trap? What did any ground-breaking discovery do other than knock down generally accepted believes? But then the discoveries turn into generalisations themselves… Ironic isn’t it? It seems that the human is born with this generalisation virus…

I have been thinking for quite some time: “What is the secret of this issue”, but I know that it too does not have a general reason…

In short, what I am saying is: Let us poor people try and come together not under generalisations but, as I described in a previous article, meet at an optimum…

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