Stigmatizing, “the Other”

Stigmatization, “the Other”… is the most dangerous trap that human kind has created for itself. The prevailing logic is, that the Others should not benefit from any social, economic, legal and other resources, in fact if at all possible they should die whilst living, experience hell on earth!” As we know, this is one of the approaches that psychiatric patients have to face most frequently… Being stigmatized as “the madman”…

If I remember rightly, it was 1997 when Prof. Tural İtil visited Turkey. He himself had been stigmatized and suffered from this stigma for years and years, and finally found peace when he joined his Creator in death,. He said to me: “I wish you would look into this stigmatization issue!” I could not ignore the suggestion of a world leader in electrophysiology who had great contributions to many Turkish scientists. I completed the renowned stigma study on approximately one thousand people. The study yielded many results, in fact one of these found its place into Wikipedia (findings on the relationship between “Narcissism” and stigma).

Stigmatizing is such a trap, never mind about arguing with the one who does the stigmatizing, you can hardly utter a word. Because when you make the smallest move you will be in the same position of the stigmatizer. Here is a situation which chess players know well, where no matter what you do you will lose…

Who stigmatizes first? Let’s see. Men stigmatize more than women. Narcissists, people who love themselves stigmatize more, cowards stigmatize more, ignorant people stigmatize more and so on.

And who gets stigmatized? Those suffering from a health problem, with psychiatric problems at the top of the list, those who are in conflict with the interests of the stigmatizer, those who do not contribute to the economy, those who rebel, who insist in defending their own rights and wrongs, and a wide range of other people with strong personalities.

Who are the people who do not stigmatize? In one word, those who are wise: those who love goodness, who dignify the human being, who are patient, and interestingly those whose intelligence for humour is highly developed, they will have nothing to do with stigmatizing. In its origins stigma is a sociological phenomenon. Who knows, maybe at its starting point its aim was to somehow protect society, support justice.

Today in countries where justice is placed on strong foundations stigmatization is regarded as a constitutional threat; therefore the above determination must be correct. In such countries it is not possible to force people into retirement because they have reached a certain age, the reason being that this would be regarded as stigmatizing the person for being old, and that is an offence.

So, is there anything a stigmatized person can do? Of course there is… He has to remain in close contact with society, continue his work in a normal manner, be aware of his rights, he has to set in motion the social support system and particularly the support of his family, and most importantly he has to acknowledge that he is being stigmatized. But that does not mean that he has to put up with it.

As our wish is to account for our actions on equal terms, in this life if you are a non-believer and in both this life and in the thereafter if you are a believer, what sense is there in stigmatizing? It is perhaps one of the greatest sins… God must have kept this authority for himself and has not given it to any of the prophets, neither to Moses, nor Christ, nor Mohammed. He warns human kind by saying “only I will judge on issues on which you fall into dispute”. This approach is probably what led Mevlana to say: “Come, whoever you are, come…” and he captured our hearts.

I think, those who stigmatize are people who will never experience the pleasure – in fact the ecstasy of being the sultan of hearts. I wish for a world where there are no “Others”.