Meta-intellect or quality-gap

Etyen Mahcupyan

The Turkish original of this article was published as Üst akıl ve kalite açığı on 6th October 2015.


For a political movement that has stepped into power from the very moment of its inception, and has then always remained as the first party, the greatest trap it faces is itself. You might willy nilly become prone to regarding yourself as an even more significant “historical subject” than you really are. You could end up internalizing the conviction that you and only you must run the country. In time you could even persuade yourself that any defeat is unnatural. Furthermore, to justify this state of mind you might conjecture that arrayed against you is an entire enemy front, and that everything that is happening is being controlled and directed by one central, conscious power. 


But what if such a “front” really exists? What if it is visible, palpable, and analyzable through all the data that it keeps overtly providing? In that case, you have to be able to draw a line between reality and your mental or emotional outlook. In other words, on the one hand you have to keep exposing and waging a struggle against those who are “plotting” and conducting “image manipulation” operations against you. But on the other hand, you should also not allow your thinking to be swamped by facile superficiality and mediocrity; instead, you must be able to maintain a self-critical outlook. If not, you might have to face an utterly unexpected outcome: You could be found in the wrong even though it is you who are right. For your foot-dragging in the face of the need to correct yourself can very well be submitted as proof and evidence for all the mistakes that you haven’t actually committed.  


This is clearly unfair. You are facing a form of behavior that no other political subject has to suffer. But what can be more natural than that?  Having stayed in power for so many years, you have destroyed your rivals’ aspirations and self-confidence. It would have been an unimaginable luxury for this kind of opposition front to react with a just and fair mode of struggle. Turkey simply does not have, and has never had, that kind of maturity. Hence it is perfectly normal for those hostile to the AKP to be so inferior and to stoop so low. The question is whether the AKP can find and sustain a superior quality level. And that requires, for example, not simplistically attributing everything to the machinations of a higher meta-intellect, but to maintain an analytical outlook and to be objective about your own role in everything.    


So it all comes to this: At present, it is very clear that there actually is an internal and external front trying to overthrow the AKP. It could well be that at certain critical moments, a directive intervention which we might call a “meta-intellect” is also coming into the picture. But what is truly capable of bringing the AKP down is not any such “meta-intellect” but a “quality-gap.” Indeed, as of now the strategy pursued by the anti-AKP front is no longer to undertake a coup d’état or to re-design politics through the opposition. Instead, it is to create situations capable of putting the AKP in a quandary and forcing it to commit mistakes. It would not be surprising if they were to think that that might be enough. For they are likely to be convinced that the AKP can easily be led into paths of error, and that it is not highly probable for the party to confront or to rectify its mistakes.


The June election results were an important indication in this regard. A critical section of the electorate revealed itself to be highly sensitive to the AKP’s erroneous ways. If the AKP comes to base its thinking on crude generalizations of the sort of a “meta-intellect” that can be interpreted any way you want, it will end up losing its quality votes and voters. At a further point where this quality-gap assumes structural dimensions and is transformed into the “official party line,” it would be quite possible for the AKP to be brought down by the electorate.


If there is indeed such a thing as a “meta-intellect,” it should not be too difficult to see why and how it might politically benefit from this very “meta-intellect” discourse. It would be a sad irony if those “wholly in love” with the AKP were to take the AKP down the road to defeat.