(Mark Zadeja and the philosophical perspective of the book “The City of Suffering”)
A great city is not to be confounded with a populous one.
- Aristotle
When you start reading the book “The City of Suffering”, you begin to explore two dimensions that are connected by a common bridge. On the one hand, there is the historical dimension of the painful events that occurred during the brutal dictatorial rule in Shkodër. While on the other hand, it is the philosophical point of view. Both of these perspectives stand in front of each other, connected by a common spiritual bridge.
Writing this book for Mark Zadena has been a big, difficult job, but essential for him and mainly for the city. Essential because he describes his own and the city's sufferings, treating them as trials of the soul. These trials brought to the philosophical plane through the meditative empiricism of the author.
My acquaintance with Mark Zadeja was not accidental at all, perhaps in a certain way predestined, when at the painting exhibition and the promotion of his book in Durrës where we met together with the analyst Fatmir Minguli, who introduced by greeting the academic "Doctor Honoris Causa” from the European Academy of Arts, Paris. Further, in the analysis of the book "The Little Girl", Fatmir Minguli explains the interweaving of the subject with philosophical reflections: "which reflect the powerful mind of the author, who even in the time of monism "looked the demon straight in the eye" and that the demon did not could capture his mind and heart." That was enough to enter a large invisible gate to another dimension.
The book's chosen, unique but difficult style has been discussed many times. It was this style that drew my attention to delve deeper into his philosophical reading.
"When I talk about philosophy, it is expressed according to the author's own thoughts and concepts...", rightly says researcher Xhahid Bushati, in his notes for this book. I think Mark still goes beyond it, diving deeper into existential empiricism and walking his original line.
The book is written in the philosophical context, which means that the philosophy is the structure of the writing, and then come the events that complete the structure. This book should not be seen as a historical book with philosophical additions, but should be read as a philosophical book with historical additions. Only in this way the real work and the "City of Suffering", can be completely unraveled. Because the city of suffering is not the city we know today, but another truth that hides beyond it. Although the truth at first remains hidden, and then it emerges and shines on.
Mark Zadeja sees history as a continuous dynamic process of development, referring to synthesis as the creation of a new identity. In Hegelian philosophy, history is a continuous process of development of collective identity and individuals. Historical changes determine the development of social consciousness and identity. Hegelian dialectic involves a stage of synthesis, where tensions and oppositions culminate in the creation of a new identity. This synthesis reflects a high level of awareness and knowledge.
According to Maurice Merleau-Ponty in his book, "The Adventures of Dialectic" he says that "Communist ideology is a deceptive ideology and that according to the Hegelian view one should not see it how the ideology sees itself, but how the philosophers sees it."
Mark Zadeja treats this way of building historical identity as a process of dynamics and development, including contradictions and tensions that form the path to higher knowledge and identity.
The memory of suffering and difficult events can have a substantial impact on the formation of the identity of the city and its inhabitants create a strong connection between the memory and the perception of suffering.
"The city understood more than anyone but preserved the special..."
The city is a sensitive and responsible entity, which understands its unique role and influences, its identity and character through a deep sense of history and holding special values.
The perception of Shkodra as the "City of Suffering" can be a result of many factors, and understanding this perception can provide a crucial perspective on the city's history, culture and daily life. Consciousness is what makes a person aware of his freedom and responsibility. Consciousness is a very complex and essential dimension of human life. It constitutes the essence of freedom and identity creation, making man responsible for his actions and choices:
"The city is not to blame, but the suffering exists, it has taken over the mind.
When the present exists, clarity must not be lost...”
Here appears a separation between the city and the suffering, saying that the city is not responsible for the suffering, but although separate, the suffering has a powerful influence on the mind. Here is emphasized the importance of presence and clarity in the face of suffering. Being in the present and aware, one must maintain clarity despite the suffering experienced.
At the same time, it insisted on the importance of maintaining clarity based on the past but with a vision for the future. Martin Heidegger has expressed the concept of "temporal existence" in the three dimensions of time by focusing attention on how man experiences time and how it shapes his sense of existence. He argues that we cannot understand time as a straight line, but as a complex and intertwined reality, that affects human experience. Silence is the way to understand the depth of existence. In silence, one can experience the present and feel connected to time in a deeper way.
"Silence, this basic element of my life has given me the necessary, the salvation of being..."
In the existentialist synthesis, man exists before he has a defined being/essence, and through his actions and choices, he creates his own identity and meaning of life. This approach emphasizes individual freedom and responsibility to create life and identity over time.
"Meaning and function are different depending on the time. Meaning is received without the understanding of those who act. The function takes shape by itself...”
This perspective on the relationship of meaning and function, seeing them as independent entities that change with time and have an autonomy of their own. "Man is consciousness," says Sartre. Consciousness, in a philosophical and psychological perspective, can be viewed as a complex process involving the individual's awareness and experience.
In the analysis of intentionality, Edmund Husser says that every act of perception is an act that is directed towards an object. In an act of perception, our mind is "oriented" to a known content or object. The unknown often scares us, so we must overcome it.
"Think well then head into the unknown because you can make it..."
Mark Zadeja expresses the importance of reflection and analysis of the situation before taking a big step. It carefully considers the possibilities, risks, and consequences of an action. Even in the face of the unknown, there can be success and achievement, but it depends on preparation, patience, and determination.
"Research is not found anywhere else but in oneself. Wise, wise, confident and confident people think deeply, have skills, understand, strive, and work honestly to create a better future."
Mark brings a positive and encouraging tone, depicting the power of determination and personal commitment to create a better life and a happier future. With a positive spirit and belief in the ability to achieve success, he focuses on challenges with an enlightened outlook and persistent effort.
This powerful optimism brings an energy and commitment to efforts in the face of difficulties, with courage and faith in the possibilities to change and improve things.
The philosophical journey on the bridge connecting philosophy with history, in the inner perspective, cultivates hope and faith in the brighter future.
*Pol Milo is an essayist and writer. He has an Economic degree from University of Rome and in Philosophy degree from the University of Edinburg.
December 2023