What is democracy?

The first question we should have is if democracy is a name for a philosophy or a system.  I remember that democracy was a philosophy in 1960 and we were discussing which system is better to achieve democracy; capitalism or communism.  Since 1970 most people think unconsciously that democracy is a system which is not compatible with communism because it should be based on voting. So some countries start a war by killing thousands of innocent people in order to create a government based on voting.

Democracy should be a philosophy and not a system. Why is it so important?  Philosophy is based on the question,”What to do?” and system is based on “How to do?” It is evident that the first question should be “What to do?” There is a difference between animal rights and human rights. Animals basically live with instinct so they have a right to survive in its predefined environment. For example a dog needs an adequate food and water and some space to move around. If you do not give enough water or food or keep your dog in a cage all the time, you may be accused of a crime against animal rights. If you give water and food and keep your dog in the garden, you are OK. This environment for a human being is called a well-equipped prison.  If a government keeps an innocent person in a well-equipped prison which exists in Sweden or Finland, it is still a crime against human rights because human rights includes a right to create one’s life as one wishes. So “what to do” is the basic of humanity.

One of the most important way to create one’s life is religion. That is why democracy should include the freedom of religion. Christianity did not accept other religions so there was dictatorship of church and government in Europe for a long time. As the Christian church became weaker, the idea of democracy was born in Europe in order to free people from the church and the government. In other part of the world outside Christianity and Islam, governments accepted more different religions. People did not suffer from the monopoly of religions so the idea of democracy was not born.  Even in Europe the Ottoman Empire was famous for accepting different religions even though the majority was Islam. Then Christian countries attacked with the strategy of “Divide and Rule”. As a result of the destruction of the Ottoman Empire during the first and the second World War, modern Turkey was created , which does not accept different religions very much.

Next important part of democracy is freedom of thoughts. This should be separated from freedom of speech or expression. Thoughts are inside each human being. Speech or Expression are in the society and so there is always a question of what the limit is. It is evident that one should not express or speak as one wants. It is not good to express racism, sexual abuse, child sex, attack on other religion, etc. and now the whole world is discussing what and how to control the expression and speech.

Since freedom of expression is always a compromise in the society, we should first establish the freedom of thoughts. It looks like the academic world agrees that human language, different from animal language, is made to develop thoughts. Academic world is based on writing so everything is thought. However, a human being in a real world is based on imagination and not on thoughts. So the truth is that human language is made to develop imagination. The meaning of each word can only be an imagination and each human being has his own imagination. It means each human being defines each word he uses.

However, many people think that they should use each word according to the dictionary. In France “Academie Francaise” claims that they should decide how the French language should be. This is an intellectual dictatorship and it is not the reality. I remember that a German woman angrily accused me 35 years ago,”Why don’t you use English according to the dictionary?”  Prince of Wales many years ago declared,” The English language is the language mostly used in the world and we should keep the correct English” and some journalist criticised him that he was not speaking a correct English.

The reality is that each human being is participating in the development of each language but most people are only following the society. Then the society will not be a good place for people. Each person must consciously define each word he uses  in order to actively participate in the development of each language. Then he is creating the society which is good for people. That is democracy through the freedom of thoughts.

Aikido is a way to express ourselves in this society to create a better world. We must first ask a question, “What to do” and think with each word defined by ourselves.

18. June 2020