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Feeling of Security


By Roya Monajem, Tehran


Sitting here in the Corner of my room, working on my translation of Freedom of Expression[1], suddenly an idea crossed my mind that solved a long standing puzzle. I realized why I have been increasingly reluctant to leave my house. This odd feeling started to appear after the presidential election in last summer and has constantly increased ever since, so much so that now not only my reluctance to leave 'home' has increased, but I am unable to keep even my car's window open while driving through the city, despite the beautiful spring weather. It is not only the noise of other cars, but also the kind of emanations in the air that forces me to close windows, to cut as much contacts with outside as possible. I don't even wish to remember who our politicians are and whether - in retaliation, or for the purpose of forcing them to submit and surrender, or for any other reason- the Security Council of UN will agree with sanctions or not.


For which I have already been criticized a few weeks ago when the debate over this issue had just started and I was writing about Song of Freedom and my crazy wish to open a discotheque for women here under the Islamic Republic. That countryman 'rightfully and comprehensibly' had asked me (this is my feeling of the way he had worded his question): Aren't you really ashamed of yourself, talking about benefits of dancing and opening a discotheque when our country is under the threat of war?


And I responded him, you over there (anywhere outside this country or any other 'insecure' countries) live more or less your ordinary life and only sometimes listen to these threatening news. We here live with such news and feel the threat with our own flesh and blood constantly, and in order to take a breath from living with the nightmare of sanction and war and many other nightmares - which we have already experienced during the early years of post-Islamic revolutionary period and the war with Iraq - we daydream about singing the Song of Freedom, for example. In any case, there is at least a great deal of emotional difference between us, even if because of our similar nationality or sensitivity share basically the same mental view.


Wouldn't a prisoner go mad if he constantly thinks about his imprisonment instead of daydreaming about his freedom? Perhaps there is a direct relationship between daydreaming and our objective living conditions. Take a look at faces you see in streets. Don't you agree that almost every one appears not to be in 'here-now,' the only unquestionable objective reality, but seem to be living in their personal subjective and thus in a way in some virtual world? This in other words, means that most of the time, nearly all of us are just daydreaming. And, to a great extent, this does not depend on our outer living conditions, i.e. on where we live and under which socio- political system. That's why -thanks goodness!- it is getting hard and harder for me to distinguish people by their races, nationalities, religions, ideologies, their ruling social systems, their governments, their political views and whatever else that may separate human beings from each other. Really, haven't we had enough of all this?


But let us leave this dreamful unified world of mine and in fact any outside world and stay wherever we are at this moment, which is the most real and objective thing in the world.


Feeling safe and secure, where in the world can we have such feeling? I suppose it depends on how we define security. Are the people living in the most 'civilized' countries with the most progressive Constitutional Law, necessarily feeling more secure than for example people living here under Islamic Republic, now in danger of being attacked by nuclear bombs for continuing 'playing' with nuclear research when 'big brother' has forbidden it?


-"Mother do you think they drop the bomb?"[2]


I wonder how security is defined in the Security Council of UN. Most probably in the most refined language. Whatever that definition, if there is any, it will not concern us as individuals, at least not directly. It does not concern us because first of all it is somebody else's definition of security, and secondly it should be quite subjective. It is subjective in the sense that everyone (and every country) can have his/her own personal interpretation of it.   


So let us search and see if we can find a more objective definition of the feeling of security. Something shared by all of us. Something that everybody will agree with, in the same way that we all know what it means to be 'hungry' or 'thirsty' or 'sleepy,' for example. We all share this 'knowledge' because we have all experienced it with our own flesh and blood. So we don't have any doubts about it, and we can not interpret it differently.


And, since we are all made of the same "flesh and blood," because we are all classified under the same animal species called Homo sapiens, then we have many many - if not anything else, but - biological things in common. So at this level we can perhaps reach an objective definition for the question under study. So let's ask the question more exactly. When do we feel biologically secure?


In order to answer this question as impartially as we can, we have to find a common reference point. Leaving exceptions aside, can we say we feel secure when our stomachs are full and we have something to wear and a roof over our heads?[3] True, not all people are lucky enough to have all their basic needs fulfilled. Yet, there has been a time for all of us when we definitely did feel secure. Where and when was it? Of course, when we were in our mother's womb! To say the least, it was where our basic needs food, shelter and as the result, corresponding amount of feeling of security were automatically fulfilled. We did not have to do anything to receive it, absolutely nothing. No hard work, no labor, nothing. In our mother's womb, that is most probably the most 'heavenly period' of everybody's life, perhaps that 'lost paradise,' despite the presence of the law of relativity.


The second place where we may feel safe and secure is our home; at first, under the shadow of our father, the bread-earner, the protector, and now as mature independent individuals, supposedly under our own individual shadow.


Sweet home! It could have been, and/or may still be a comparatively hellish place. But let us remember even 'hell' is not 'hellish' if the idea of paradise is forgotten. We get used to everything, don't we? Home does give us a relatively safe feeling, because it is always there, and it has many fixed components/memories, including its smell, its air, the quality of emotional exchanges between its members, to say the least. In fact because it is almost always the same, it can produce that feeling of security which seems to have a direct relationship with 'familiarity.' That is why we can't easily face 'unfamiliar' without immediately and unconsciously trying to make it appear familiar. It makes us insecure.


And the third place we may most probably feel relatively secure is one's homeland - again most probably because of its familiarity. But what if this homeland appears now one of the most insecure places in the world? And now with this 'nuclear business' the whole world seems insecure. We all know it even if we are not aware of it! It is far different from that 'paradise' called womb, whose memory is surely recorded somewhere in our bodies.


Perhaps that is why I feel so reluctant to leave home? Because outside - the whole earth - is now filled with the air of insecurity, resulting mainly from some kind of "schism," "us and them," "you and me" with no consideration for where this divisionism may lead us, and what an incredible high price it would have for not only humanity, but now with this 'nuclear business' for our beautiful planet.


When we feel insecure, a whole system of defense mechanism starts to function in our biological body. After September 11, the whole world feels insecure and not just the warring nations and threatened countries. So no matter where we live, this feeling of insecurity is now a part of our life. Feeling of insecurity causes fear, and when fear dominates our biological system, we all act the same, i.e. out of fear, because our logical system gets shut off. All this happens automatically and despite the fact that it is most probably due to our defected logical system that we have made the world such an insecure and hellish place in the first place.


The logical system which divides the world between an imaginary 'good and evil,' making us forget the fact that we are all of the same species, and a unique one; oh. not because of that one! That we are unique because we are the pinnacle of creation, created in God's image! Oh no, enough of that embarrassing title we have given ourselves! We are unique in the sense that we are the only animal species that can even kill members of our own species. I wonder whether this is something arising from our biology or it first stemmed from that defected logical system or ours, and gradually settled even in our genes and now appears like an instinctive behavior. A unique characteristic that is making the world even more insecure.


In any case, it seems that it is essentially our dualistic logical system - manifested in many different forms-appears to be the root of all conflicts - from interpersonal to international.  I am good, you are bad, you are right, I am wrong. I don't feel secure, so I have every right to attack you. You feel unsafe, so you feel it is all according to laws that I, i.e. the apparent source of your insecurity, should be retaliated and dead!


It is not the right time to be emotional and act emotionally. It is a 'strange time,' as sings Bob Dylan. Taking sides with any dualistic logical system will make us only one step closer to annihilation of our planet with this 'nuclear business' now being on top of the hidden list of the world's Stock Market.


Let's be aware and beware of this in the hope that our combined awareness - most probably they do combine because of having the same vibration and wavelength - will create the third reconciling force that might prevent the possible future catastrophe for our planet. Let's be aware and beware of anything that might interfere with the formation of this third reconciling force that wishes to stand beyond our traditional dualistic conflict-producing worldview.


Does it make any difference whether our planet is destroyed for the sake of 'goodness' or 'evil'? And can you tell me which is which and who is who?

[1] International Freedom of Expression Exchange, IFEX, Toronto, Canada

[2] A verse from one of Pink Floyd's songs.

[3] Among exceptions are those who feel more secure if they have TV or mobile phone, rather than a safe shelter.

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