Prof. Nevzat Tarhan: “A person who lives for themselves cannot be happy”


President of Üsküdar University, Psychiatrist Prof.  Nevzat Tarhan was the guest of the 'City Art' Talks organized by Başakşehir Municipality. Tarhan made remarkable evaluations in the 'Psychology Conversations' interview moderated by Journalist İsmail Halis. Emphasizing that the main cause of unhappiness is egoism and that people who live for themselves cannot be happy, Tarhan said that the human brain is programmed to be happy when others are happy, not on their own.

“They continue their fight with nobility”

Prof. Nevzat Tarhan evaluated the Gaza attacks with his psychiatrist identity in the interview held at Başakşehir City Art Center with intense participation and made statements about today's world. Tarhan said that “When vulnerable and disadvantaged people such as women, children and the elderly are targeted, this becomes cruelty. In this case, it is much more important to expect help from the owner of the universe, not from others. Our brothers in Gaza do this and continue their fight with nobility. The fighting spirit of those there became an example to the whole world. I hope God may make them successful and we will wall tall. What Israel is doing right now is officially state terrorism and genocide, those who are objective see this. We always say this, the press says it and I said it too; however, people remain neutral towards this cruelty for various reasons. Cemil Meriç has a saying; 'It is dishonorable to remain neutral when there is oppression somewhere.’ It is similar to remaining insensitive to such cruelty right now..."

“The Holy Quran began to be studied more…”

Stating that not doing anything about such an issue means losing one’s humanity after seeing children in this case, Prof. Nevzat Tarhan stated that even being able to say no, at least verbally, can cause change. Tarhan said: “Its effect was seen in the world as well, people started to study the Holy Quran more. It aroused curiosity,  and people questioned 'How can these people resist, how can they endure?'... While reading, they realize that they believe in heaven, they believe in the afterlife, and they can endure it... This time, they also think of the issue about believing in the afterlife. The whole world started to think about it."

“Don't say what will happen if I say no…”

Emphasizing that people currently living in Gaza are being tried to be exiled and removed from their own land, homeland, and the place where they have lived for thousands of years, Tarhan gave an example from the İzmir Occupation. Tarhan stated that “There is an action carried out by Denizli Mufti Ahmet Hulusi Efendi on May 15, 1919, when there was an occupation in Izmir. He gathers all the people of Denizli, says 'Everyone should take stones in their hands' and makes them throw them towards İzmir. This is called resistance in psychological warfare. Civil resistance, the civil resistance of society is awakening. The most important reason why the War of Independence was successful was that it was an all-out fight. Therefore, civil resistance will not be in vain. We should not say, 'What happens if I say no, what happens if I say something?'" 

“The jungle is where power wins.”

Emphasizing that in today's world, being good is not enough, one must also be strong. Prof. Nevzat Tarhan talked about how to be strong as a good person. Tarhan stated that “If a person is fair, they get results. The place where power prevails is in the jungle, then the laws of the jungle are used. In the law of the jungle, the strong crushes the weak. This is true in the animal kingdom, but in the human kingdom, the right and just wins, not the strong. In the short term, the strong one seems to win, but in the medium-long term, the fair one wins.”

“We will be the subject of technology, not its object”

Expressing that there are people who avoid the use of technology in the 21st century and pointed out the importance of conscious use, Prof. Nevzat Tarhan said that technology is neutral and can be good when used for good purposes. Tarhan stated that “If you use technology for bad purposes, it serves evil. We will not be the object of technology, but we will be its subject. When I explain this, there are people who say, 'If I go online, I cannot protect myself.' This is literally no different than saying, ‘I will be injured in the war, so I must retreat.’ We need to use it in the service of good and beauty, not as a threat against cultures. Escaping from technology is a sin..." 

“A person who lives for themselves cannot be happy”

Stating that someone who cannot be their own leader cannot be the leader of a family, Prof. Nevzat Tarhan stated that “This is called neuroleadership, and it is managing the chemicals in the brain. It means indicating where you will stop, where you will accelerate, where you will turn right, and where you will turn left. Just like there is a gas pedal in a car, there is a reward and punishment system in our brain. The reward system is the gas while the punishment system is the brake. When it manages this, you also manage the pleasures and it works accordingly. A human being is a social being who will produce meaning in this way, contribute something to society, contribute something to humanity. Therefore,  a person cannot be happy if they live for themselves. The biggest cause of unhappiness is egoism. There are unhappy people. These are all selfish people. Selfish people cannot be happy. It is not possible since the human brain is not programmed for it. The human brain can be happy when others are happy.” 

“The biggest enemy of communication within the family is lack of empathy”

Pointing out that life is like interlocking circles, Prof. Nevzat Tarhan said that the most important thing is the small circle, that is, the circle of the soul. Tarhan said: “In cultural change, the most important things in human life are tasks, jobs, and life are like interlocking circles. The most important small circle is the circle of the soul. The most important and the most valuable interlocking circle is the center. It means knowing one's own strengths and weaknesses and knowing oneself. A person must have a life purpose,  one must have a vision, one must have ideals, one must have expectations about life, and one must have goals. If anyone manages these, they should not be afraid. The environment cannot do anything to them,  and that person can be the captain of their own ship. They will manage themselves. This is called self-management. The first is self-awareness, knowing yourself. The second is self-management, and the third is social awareness, empathy, and knowing others. The fourth is to manage relationships. The most important pillar of relationship management is close relationships, starting from the family. Therefore, if a person can manage themselves, they can easily establish healthy relationships in the family. The biggest enemy of communication and communication in a family is lack of empathy. It is not taking into account the thoughts, feelings, rights and needs of the other party.”

“Our brain is like the government, our body is like the state”

Noting that people have a fight or flight response when they are under stress, Prof. Nevzat Tarhan stated that “When danger occurs, and there is acute stress, the pupils dilate, all vascular resistance in the body increases, blood pressure rises, all fat stores and glucose stores in the body are activated and immediately provide energy to the blood. Shoulder, neck and waist muscles get tense and go into battle mode. If you are frightened, on the contrary, your veins will dilate and you will fall down and faint. In other words, this fight-flight response is made by the nervous system. The brain releases acidic chemicals when threatened. We call it the five points of darkness such as grudge, hatred, anger, jealousy and hostility. These secretions protect people from their enemies at once; however, if it lasts for a long time, these secretions are constantly secreted in people who are constantly under stress and in people who are constantly tense. Our brain is like the government while our body is like the state. If the government is constantly stressed, all resources will go to war, tension and polarization. If the wheelhouse is broken, the state's own dynamics will last up to a point, and then it will easily solve acute situations such as sadness due to stress and bankruptcy. On the contrary, the sympathetic nervous system is stimulated. We call it sympathetic activation, and  the parasympathetic nervous system has the longest nerve in the body, that is, the vagus nerve. It is collected from all organs and goes to the brain. If the person is given a command, pulls the trigger, says calm down, relax, the brain activates the parasympathetic nervous system. Muscles relax, body relaxes, you get over it. Stress is such a thing that, just like a car, if you always run it at high speeds, the engine will fail and wear out prematurely, and if you run it at such high speeds all the time, the body will also wear out.” 

“We also need to consider the wisdom dimension of fate.”

Tarhan pointed out that every event has a threat aspect and an opportunity aspect and said: “Calamity is not desired, but when it happens, it is necessary to consider not only the threat aspect but also the opportunity aspect of it. Here, it is necessary to consider the wisdom dimension of destiny. What is our duty here? Everyone should ask themselves ‘What is my duty? What steps should I take here? What should I do?' At least, this situation should be explained to the children at home by saying, 'There is such cruelty in the world.' We do not recommend that children play war games so that they do not learn violence. There is violence here, real violence. Children need to see this and see how cruel it is. It is an opportunity to teach the concept of good-bad and friend-enemy to children's minds. It needs to be evaluated that way.”

“If people do not experience the resurrection of their own will,  fate will make them experience it through calamity.”

Expressing that the world is going through a transformation process, Prof. Nevzat Tarhan stated that"There is an incubation period, there is pain here, there will be ovulation after incubation, these are painful processes... We will be ready for this pain in such a case, and we need to determine our position well by asking 'Are we among the good ones or the bad ones?' There are many things that can be done with our hands and tongue. I think this will lead to an awakening and salvation from heedlessness because  fate will make them experience the resurrection through calamity if people do not experience the resurrection of their own will. There is such a law of psychology.”

“Escaping from technology is a sin”

Tarhan pointed out that all roads lead to the Internet and said: “Currently, if electricity is an infrastructure and water is an infrastructure, the digital system is a digital infrastructure. Those who master big data dominate the world. Such a reality exists now. The biggest benefit of the Covid pandemic has accelerated and facilitated adaptation to the digital world. If it was not for the Covid pandemic, the metaverse would have existed in 2018. They would swallow cultures that neglected the digital. There are also many eastern societies that miss out on the digital. While in history the Roman Empire ruled the world with its stone roads, today all roads lead to the Internet. It is digital technology, like a phone, a car, an airplane. Technology is neutral, and it provides good education if you use it for good purposes. If you use it for bad purposes, it will do you a disservice. We will not be the object of technology, but we will be its subject. When I tell this, my fellow professors say,  'If I go online, I cannot protect myself’. . This is literally no different from saying, ‘I  am injured in war, and I must retreat’. The UK established a social media brigade in 2015. Now, it has established a social media brigade, which means it sees this as a battlefield. What happens if you miss out on this? We need to produce an alternative to this culture. We need to use it in the service of good and beauty, not as a threat against these cultures. It is a sin to escape from this. He will go and fight there. It is an area of fight." 



Üsküdar News Agency (ÜNA)