Mahmud Erol Kılıç’s new book, The Line Breaks of Life (Sufi Book, 2013) is made up of three chapters. Finding Yourself, Modern Times and the Spirit of Anatolia. The other name of the book is Finding Yourself in Modern Times.
The book is written in plain Turkish. Mahmud Erol Kılıç has a fluent wording. There are very heavy topics and questions in his essays; however, he does not bore and oppress the reader. The handle of these so heavy issues in simple, flowing and almost conversational tone is the success of Kılıç as a writer. It has a great effect on simplicity and fluency that Kılıç is thinking as a knowledgeable, loud and clear person. He mentions the confusion of modern man but in a style that resolves the confusion of the reader even if just a pinch. Readers encounter with insignia about where and how they will find the answer of many questions.
The first two sections of the book are reserved for discussions. The intention in discussions is not the polemical debate but thinking, looking at the issues from different angles and finding their origin and purpose. Kılıç points out especially the misusing of the concepts about Islamic mysticism and the dangers of excessive comments which is not based on information. First he corrects the misinformation on the subject, and then develops his own thoughts over these.
The third chapter is the thesis of the Kılıç. It is the answer of the question of “How can we overcome the alienation caused by modernization, how can we become ourselves again?” Kılıç remarks to look at the tradition for nowadays problems and take advantage of it. Because modernism was understood as the denial of legacy in Türkiye. It must be returned from that wrong immediately. It should be utilized from the practice of Seljuk and Ottoman. Because the major factor that generates the origin of Türkiye has taken place in that period. The examples which enable us to think correctly and would be the solution to our troubles can be found in Seljuk-Ottoman. That’s the way it is as the Westerners still probe till to Aristotle to find a solution to their problems.
How will we rethink the customs, look into tradition? The point to which Kılıç objects most is being stuck to the form. Of course, the form is important; it is effective in protecting and displaying the original. But a shape without a spirit has no difference than an empty box. We should reproduce the tradition without losing its origin and being stuck to the form, take lessons from them. For example, the matter of being dervish (asceticism). Kılıç says that being a dervish is not performed just in Islamic monastery, by wearing imamah or by living in seclusion on a corner of a mountain. These are composed of the form. It is wrong to understand being dervish (asceticism) in this way and reduction of it with only imamah and seclusion. Its meaning, outlook on life, approach to human should be understood and adopted. These can occur at any time and place, for we have been talking about people. And being a dervish (asceticism) is the requirement of human essence, nature (creation), its maturation and finding the peace.
Sufism is the Spirit of Anatolia. It is the attitude of unity in multitude and multitude in unity. In other words, it is the signs and meanings that can be obtained from the works of Sufis such as İbn Arabi, Rumi, Yunus Emre, Niyazî-i Mısrî, Hacı Bektaş Veli and İbrahim Hakkı of Erzurum.