Iran News ...


The Idealist Intellectual Syndrome

By Roya Monajem, Tehran

After torturing myself enough with the agonizing nostalgic feeling about my great Motherland, Persia, Cradle of Civilization, Glorious Heavenly Past; after years of mourning for all those garden-alleyways, old houses and gardens turning into ugly apartment buildings with their so-called post-modern Roman and even worse their 'Proletarian' architecture, after all those restless nights of Islamic Revolution and eight years war with Iraq, and those horrible days crying with Afghan, Iraqi, American, Sudanese (and...) mothers, wives, raped women, I opened my eyes one day and I found myself 'sick to bone' even though there were not any serious signs of somatic or psychological pathology. I looked around and saw lots of other people sick like me. Surely, that amount of distress when continued makes the sufferer sick! Any medical doctor can tell us that. Mere stress is always an important mental-psychological pathologic factor of any physical disease, let alone cases when it is accompanied by depression, despair, melancholia, pessimism and other negative health threatening emotions and states of being that we have been suffering from to varying degrees in these years. There could be no doubt about our pathologic state.

For years I have been asking myself, why did I study Western medicine for 5-6 years and practiced Eastern medicine for so many years? Why was I driven to work with people suffering from 'incurable diseases?' Why did I even discover a way to treat MS (multiple sclerosis), but then because of finding all the doors closed to carry it out in a 'scientific way,' - mainly for not having a medical degree - I gave up medical practice all together because I simultaneously reached the conclusion that as an old Persian proverb says: "If you are a doctor, you should treat yourself." And as I started to deal with my own illness, it became increasingly clear to me why I needed that medical knowledge and experience.

I needed that medical knowledge and experience to diagnose my own illness in time. I needed that 'therapist self' in me to warn me in time; before the disease gets to an incurable stage. Perhaps it has already reached such a stage, otherwise why am I sharing my most private thoughts with you under the conditions that can endanger my life? (Under a totalitarian regime, the opening of this piece of writing can indeed be regarded as some kind of political protest and thus dangerous and life-threatening).

From the medical point of view a person who consciously puts herself/himself in danger has a weak survival instinct. This weakness is either congenital (inborn) or acquired. It is acquired when the will to death is stronger than the will to life. Except certain lucky powerful individuals, how can the rest of us maintain a strong will to life in this depressing world of ours? Is any proof needed for such a claim? Turn on your TV, listen to any News channel, you like. You would only hear about 'Bad Tidings,' news of wars, hunger and poverty, natural catastrophes, homicides, invasions, etc and you can ask yourself isn't there any 'Good Tidings,' true gospels happening in this world of us or are 'they' (= politicians, George Orwell's Big Brother) purposefully censoring them because they need to keep us in a state of despair and panic on one hand and on the other hand instigate our 'animal instincts' to be prejudiced about our 'territory,' 'blood,' 'race,' 'religion' and 'world views?' But when we find even the world of arts and sciences that is supposed to judge its citizens only according to their knowledge and potentials has become so superficial to judge them according to their 'grades and university degrees,' (=papers), when even this world where 'equality and democracy' should be practiced most and is perhaps the only human domain where all races, religions, peoples and genders are regarded equal is moving away from its 'constitutional laws' what do we expect from the world of politics, which has always been ruled by 'the will to power' at any price, even at the price of killing your own father, brothers, family and people, let alone 'others, strangers, foreigners, neighbors and in one word, non-self' as our past man-made history testifies? Without intending to show any disrespect to individual Nobel Prize laureates, haven't we really been witnessing politics pulling out names, instead of knowledge, praxis and creativity in this realm for example?

How can we maintain a strong will to life and thus an efficient immunological system under these conditions? No wonder we rarely encounter a 'healthy, joyful' human being; this genus must be on the verge of extinction if not already extinct. No wonder that the number of suicidal bombers, 'terrorists,' military volunteers is increasing at such high rate. No wonder that we are faced with the news of the emergence of a new pathological factor, a new disease several times a year despite our comparatively better hygiene and diet. No wonder that the number of 'incurable' diseases, including this apparently 'symptom-less' disease that I am suffering from is constantly increasing.

By the way what should we call this dis-ease?

Based on what I have learnt about it introspectively, I suggest the name "Idealist-Intellectual Syndrome (IIS)?" Why 'intellectual idealist?' Because what distinguishes humans from animals is intellect and power of imagination (roughly = idealism).

I would say that it is most probably a viral disease that came into existence with the emergence of Homo sapiens on earth. And since Homo sapiens were supposed to lead a 'human life' which 'evil, alien' forces did not approve of, they released that virus into the air. (Religiously, such forces are called 'devil,' psychologically 'alter-self,' politically 'non-self' and in physics 'anti-matter').

Like many other viruses, it can stay hidden in the body for unspecific span of time and is activated by any sign and sight of inhumanness when the immunological system has become weak as the result of getting conscious of the excessively high amount of stress ruling over humanity.

What are the pathological symptoms of this disease? The most prominent symptoms include: nostalgia, melancholia, apathy, fear and finally personality dependent type of escapism. The physical symptoms too are personality dependent and can manifest themselves in various forms from migraine headache, cardiac insufficiencies, and asthma to multiple sclerosis, cancer, aids and addiction. Now let us look at the causes of its psychological symptom in more detail.

Nostalgia is an inborn and genetic depression originating from the mythological and after the birth of religions historical idea of 'lost paradise,' thus 'homesickness.' Psychologically, like depression it is an expression of discontent from one's present status quo. The antidote is an unconscious appeal to an 'ideal' state of being which necessarily lies in the past as we can never be sure of the future. We can not rely on oracles and 'soothsayers' about the future, but we can rely on our ancestors and 'prophets' in regard to our 'ideal past state in an imaginary paradise' that if we lead an honorable, conformist life we are promised to return to after death or at most after the Day of Judgment.

Melancholia arises out of sheer desperation and despair resulting from our contingent state of being and our endless human ignorance. It is sad that we do not know what is the solution for the present sad state of affairs in our world; it is extremely sad to see our beautiful planet on the verge of extinction, if not by nuclear bomb, by air, water, earth pollution. It is extremely melancholic not to know 'where do we come from, where do we go, what is this life about?'

Apathy is the result of suppressed anger, rage resulting from this mad destructive inhuman race over petty national, racial, class, gender and individual self-interests on one hand, and the outcome of 'intimidation' on the other hand (see below). The only way our nervous system can put up with such overwhelming depression, despair and then anger and rage is to 'shut itself down emotionally.' So extreme can and does get our apathic state that we can eat our meals in front of TV, watching all kinds of human tragedies, from earthquake and Tsunami stricken homeless starving people, to executions, shootings, killings and any other inhuman scene without getting nauseated and sick.

Fear rooted in encounters with dark unknown devastating natural forces first, it is later provoked and intensified with additional sources such as religious fear of god's wrath, social fear of ruthless cruel rulers, and with the rise of civilization and a sophisticated legal system fear of police forces, intelligent services and other 'intimidating' state apparatus. There is also another important source of mental fear only found in humans with the emergence of human faculty of consciousness and that is fear of death, poverty and sickness.

Escapism results from the depletion and over use of our emotional mental energy by the above destructive psychological state of being with the hope of forgetting the consequent 'abysmal void' felt inside. In other words, we need distraction. That is how rituals, ceremonies, sports, arts and all other forms of entertainment, including drug abuse came into existence.

Now considering the long history of this chronic sometimes even fatal syndrome (as it was seen in the case of Socrates for example, who in fact committed suicide by drinking the hemlock), this short glance at its etiology and pathology is enough to assure us that most probably it is an incurable disease. And whoever finds the cure should definitely receive all the Noble Prizes, including the N.P for Peace. As stated before, the causative agent gets activated by the signs and sights of inhumanness. Therefore, those suffering from this syndrome become dissidents first, because they can not shut their eyes to oppression, suppression, tyranny, betrayal, in one word to the inhumanity that has besieged humanity from all sides. They thus create problems for ruling systems which subsequently employ all kinds of techniques and policies to shut their voice of protest. In fact the extreme form of extreme apathy developed at the final stages of IIS is partly the result of the sufferer's failure in breaking the above siege. Many of those who keep warning and intimidating us to fear God, Allah, Karma, the 'Day of Judgment,'(in short all religions and moralities) may be IIS patients too. From 'God's' perspective, the murderer and the murdered, the torturer and the tortured, the prisoner and the persecutor may very well be equal. On the 'Day of Judgment' they can stand side by side!

One thing that is really questionable about religions (and their derivative, i.e. moralities) is why they try to instigate so much fear in this most defenseless and thus insecure creature of the earth called Homo sapiens? Why in the cauldrons of religions that compassionate god of Jesus, mystics and spiritualists turns into a severe unforgiving god who seems to have nothing else to do in the universe, except to 'keep a record' of our sins on this beautiful blue planet? Is the hell He is preparing for sinful really worse than the life we are leading on earth now? No wonder that the idea of impending life in Hell and accompanying moralities are no longer that effective in inspiring awe in us and thus preventing us from committing more sins. How can we fear something that we are already familiar with? It is always the unfamiliar that can generate fear in us.

No wonder that despite our great scientific development, our rulers all over the world have once again appealed to religions as an effective instrument of staying in power. I suppose this is post-modernism in the realm of politics! One significant reason for such 'regression' or 'retrospection' may be religions' powerful technique of 'invisible' intimidation. In the atmosphere of intimidation, we become mentally paralyzed. As the result, we can no longer think rationally logically and scientifically. That is why for example, we Persians (Iranians) can believe Mr. Hakha's 'energetic system' of overthrowing the regime and Americans can believe in Mr. Bush's theory of 'Moslem terrorists 'threat! You can make people mentally paralyzed by intimidation. No wonder that humanity in general and women in particular can endure such high levels of violence and aggression. Fear has become an integral part of our inherited psycho-somatic constitution. Not only we carry it in our collective consciousness and unconsciousness, but receive it from our mothers when still in their wombs. Let us remember that women have been suffering from an additional source of sexual intimidation of patriarchal culture as well. A fearful mother brings up fearful children in two ways. When still in her womb, the child is exposed to bio-chemicals produced as the result of fear the mother feels, explicitly through a violent husband and implicitly through patriarchal culture and her historical insecurity resulting from her weaker physical strength. Even in the absence of the former source (violent husband), the second source still exists in our world. This is how fear is first imprinted on our genetic make up. If the infant is a girl, she then gets a double dose of this inborn feminine fear through her two x-chromosomes. Men, having a single x-chromosome, can transcend fear easier.

The second way of fear generation in a child is when born to a violent father who naturally makes the mother extra fearful obedient, subservient. One of the puzzling questions chasing me for years is why are there still so many American and European women putting up with intimidating violent husbands despite the existence of various civil institutes where they can get the necessary financial, legal, emotional and psychological support and security? It is not that difficult to understand why Eastern women might still put up with such husbands (they have no where to go), but in case of Western contemporary women such behavior and approach is indeed questionable. A significant part of the answer lies in the effects of historical, cultural, social and then physical and psychological intimidation. Thus as you can see we all suffer from the genetic-congenital fear syndrome. In the same way that addiction to drugs can be transferred from an addicted mother to her infant, a pregnant woman in a continuous state of fear releases chemicals that her infant can get addicted to. It is not important that one comes from an exogenous source and the other from an endogenous one. If the state of fear is continuously regenerated by the father, society and culture, then the new-born can 'happily' receive the required dose of those chemicals after birth as well. In other words, fear, humiliation, violence gradually become like our daily food and should be present in the air we breathe. Of course this occurs on an unconscious level. On the conscious level, the atmosphere of intimidation, as mentioned above, makes one paralyzed and thus incapable of making any logical rational decisions. As the result, one is stuck in such an environment.

This is not to justify feminine behavior in this sense. On the contrary, the reason for concentrating on the fear part of IIS more than its other symptoms is the fact that for the first time in human history, the objective grounds are ready for women to go beyond their immemorial fear syndrome. (As mentioned in all of my recent articles) women no longer 'need' men for their survival. In addition to their financial security, our legal and modern housing systems are making life as safe as it is for men. In the past and in backward countries, women needed and need men not only for their daily bread, but also for protection against other men. We should become aware of the fact that this fear syndrome resulting from that historical insecurity is not 'ours' as individuals any more. It is there because we have inherited it. Therefore, in the same way that we can leave our material inheritance such as the house our parents have left for us, in the same way that we can undergo plastic surgery and thus change one of our inborn physical features, we women can walk away from this genetic inborn psychological insecurity and its outcomes such as fear, jealousy, possessiveness, illogical angers and rages and other similar emotions. Now women's silence and surrender before violence can no longer be forgiven. If once upon a time and for this very reason we could sympathize and justify the behavior of such women, now they are as 'guilty' as men in generating violence and other negative destructive emotions in the world. Such women are now their husbands' collaborators, in the same way that both Mrs. Bush-s (mother and wife) and educated wives of other 'war loving fundamentalist' rulers and politicians are responsible for their sons'- husbands' 'violent, aggressive policies.' They should be blamed as much as their husbands, in the same, (but opposite) way that Hindu women were burnt alive with their dead husbands. If we can justify our hatred to this Hindu belief, then shouldn't we hold the same emotion toward the wives of all those men who bring about 'war, violence, devastation and death' today? Shouldn't Mrs. Sadam and Mrs. Milosevic be trialed along with their husbands? Surely, even if their husbands never talked about their 'jobs' at home, these women are 'privileged' enough to hear and read about it on TV and in newspapers. Women are the first supporters of their husbands, aren't they?

Oh no, I should cut this string of thoughts because in this way I am putting myself in an unnecessary danger, which means I am again strengthening the will to death instead of its opposite, which is the first step in strengthening a weak immunological system and thus the first step in taking the path of recuperation and healing. So let us go back to our discussion about the Idealist Intellectual Syndrome and now talk about the treatment plan.

As mentioned above, the first therapeutic step is to go on politics-free-diet to free ourselves from our politician self inside in order to free ourselves from leading a double life or using medical terminology, from our schizophrenia. It is a necessary step to heal the symptom of apathy or indifference to human life as well. One can not be involved with politics and do not listen to the news that necessarily due to the above mentioned facts kill our 'senses.' Whenever you expose yourself continuously to a sensory painful stimulus, your nervous system will adapt itself to it, in order to decrease or stop the pain. The second therapeutic step is to start changing our historical, cultural, social, familial and finally individual conditioned life-patterns and habitual ways of living.

Step by step, the sufferer of IIS need to strengthen the will to life which is extremely difficult for our chronically stressed, depressed, melancholic, apathic constitution in our stressful, depressing, sickening, agonizing environment. It is difficult because one needs to become 'selfish' and ignore the voice of that inner ruthless persecuting interrogator called 'conscience' asking questions such as 'what about your old mother, what about your kids, what about your friends, what about your countrymen and women in prisons, what about your patients, what about your homeland, what about the beautiful planet earth, in one word "what about your duties as a human being and a citizen of the world?'

For one thing is sure enough and that is this world has no lack of sick people. So let's save as many as possible which means to save ourselves from this sickness. That requires a masculine No and a feminine YES. No to anything that we feel obliged to do (who is obliging us to be anything other than what we like to be). The sign for it - that is the sign for whether we are doing things merely out of obligation and not as some conscious choice - is 'not to feel happy and satisfied as much as when we do it as a free choice and thus love and enjoy spending time on it'. In that case either we should stop doing it or do it lovingly. In order to close the doors of any form of self-deception, if our choice is the second one, we should constantly check ourselves to see whether we are really feeling satisfied and happy or not. Simultaneously, we should say YES to the birth of a state of inner 'unconditional' love and acceptance of ourselves.

To say such No is very difficult particularly for women. As explained above, women suffer from an x-chromosome linked genetic (and perhaps also congenital) bio-social and cultural feminine insecurity on one hand, and motherly emotions on the other hand, that until now demanded them to develop patience, tolerance, devotion, self-sacrifice, passivity, obedience and in one word all those characteristics that have become to be known as feminine or yin qualities. Similarly, to say such YES is difficult particularly for men. Again bio-socially and culturally men suffer from a Y-chromosome linked genetic (and perhaps also congenital) masculine insecurity on one hand and fatherly emotions on the other hand, that demand them to always be on guard and ready to protect their 'territory' which drives them to develop just the opposite qualities, that is intolerance, rashness, aggressiveness, and in one word all those characteristics that have become to be known as masculine or yang qualities.

Please notice that up to this point in our human history, both of these masculine and feminine qualities have originated first from our biological and later our socially and culturally conditioned insecurity and insecurity creates a state of fear and the state of fear stimulates the survival instinct of making the decision whether to fight or flee. By the judgment of our biological faculty of reason we fight when we think that the object of our fear is weaker than us and we flee when we find it stronger. So a kind of calculation comes into play. In the face of any unknown that one feels to be stronger, one fights and flees when feeling weaker. We should put an end to this primitive biological reaction of fight or flee, at least in our individual self.

Fortunately, we have reached a stage in our human history that our objective life conditions is creating the necessary conditions to go beyond these bio-historically 'division of labor' as the increasing number of 'masculine women' (i.e. women with masculine characteristics) and 'feminine men' (men with feminine qualities) shows. Great tendency to homo-sexualism is only a part of this trend. A woman who works outside in our originally man-made world and all psycho-mental adaptations that she has to go through in order to survive and be successful in this world changes her in such a way that she is no longer a woman in the traditional sense of the word. Similarly, a man who spends most of his time at home due to unemployment, doing 'feminine jobs' can no longer stay a man in the traditional sense of the word.

This brings us to the third step in the IIS treatment plan and that is to put an end to this senseless outer and inner war. For this we need to laugh a lot, to dance and to create a festive mood within and without in order to wash away the above historical chronic depression, nostalgia, melancholia and apathy from our genes, from our souls, from our consciousness.

If this is not due to our collective unconsciousness in the Jungian language, past lives in Karma language, social class conditioning in the historical materialistic conception, genetic epistemology in Piaget's language, eternal return in Nietzsche-ian conception, purification and alchemy in mystical spiritualistic conception and awareness of Is-ness in Osho-ian language, what is it?

... Payvand News - 12/3/04 ... --

comments powered by Disqus

Home | ArchiveContact | About |  Web Sites | Bookstore | Persian Calendar | twitter | facebook | RSS Feed

© Copyright 2004 NetNative (All Rights Reserved)