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By Roya Monajem, Tehran

Though it is still springtime, like a ladybird taking refuge into a safe corner to let the winter pass, i keep receiving these FWDs about what an apathetic, indifferent, selfish, unconcerned, in one word ‘none-entity’ we have become as a nation which Once Upon a Time....

Having heard more or less the same comments since childhood and now having experienced the “Age of Positive Thinking,” the first thought that crosses the mind upon reading these FWDs is naturally: No wonder. How can it be otherwise when this is our attitude and approach to ourselves; we harvest what we sow! Positively I took them as an evidence of continuous national self-criticism. Quite unique among us, as I haven’t seen any other nation being so ruthlessly self-critical toward themselves.

Yet, remembering our loooooooooong history and the number of times this land and her people have gone through more or less the same conditions, and their protests, rebellions, uprisings which according to an Iranian scholar happened every 20-30 years in this or that way, particularly in the last hundred years, and from a narrow perspective not achieving the immediate known goals, failing for whatever reasons, it appears that in contrast to what is said, our ‘shocking’ passivity may be due to our inborn wisdom achieved in the course of this long history. I say narrow perspective because as Nietzsche convincingly shows, the most we can see is only five steps further ahead. And now with the life-threatening air pollution of these days, it is evidently even less.

In this long history of regular uprisings against injustice, there is no doubt that all the conceivable ways have been tried by our nation. So looking at our seemingly shocking passivity and apathy positively, the inborn wisdom is maybe telling us that what we need is a new vision now, which is what our everlasting visionary poet Hafez advised seven centuries ago: Come and let’s spread flowers and pour wine into the cup/ Breakthrough the Heavens and create a new design.

Feeling happy and content for learning positive thinking, to stay relatively healthy and sound under the extremely pressing circumstances, the reason i see our apparent national passivity, apathy as a sign of wisdom, is that it seems we are no longer manipulated by others, west and east, north and south and even the very center, i.e. the ruling conditions we are living under quoting Steve Edwards, the American song writer and musician, (changing his first singular pronoun to first plural pronoun)

... there's no one now to tell us
what is real or what to believe
We are cast adrift on contingent existential seas
where you can know your position
but not, your speed
only your heart can follow
as it rests, and beats
and we are tortured by what has been
and we are frightened by what could be
and our little light is the only place
our heart, can be free

We know our position (news recount it), but we cannot know our speed. Who knows how much our apparent apathy, indifference, ‘silence’ has been speeding up processes in the region and the whole world? This is another perspective from which Iranians can be looked upon and analyzed. The first cult our people created was the cult of Mehr-Love (later embedded in Christianity, their temples (the house of mehr) were replaced by Islamic zoorkhaneh (house of manly strength) where knighthood has been taught), the first religion, best portrayed in Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra; they produced the first emperor Cyrus (described as mad conqueror by Gurdjieff as unlike all others, instead of plundering and raping, brought freedom to the conquered and forcefully drove all learned men to Babylon to see if he can draw out from them the secret formula of turning low metals to gold, which if he had succeeded may be by virtue of his genius he could change yet another path of human historical development), the first artist-prophet Mani, the first communist ideologue Mazdak, with an ever present strong under-current of Sophism (from Sophia, love of knowledge), maybe making the nation as a whole resistant to the temptation of power and wealth, and as natural consequences impelling it to keep ‘silent’ toward being ‘robbed’ of our history (thousands years being turned into legendary history over night, never mentioning Mesopotamia, Babylon, Sumer - significant cradles of civilizations - as part of Iran, the cheapest recently, deleting Persian from the Gulf) as well as of our wealth, from colonialists to digital neo-imperialists because from another perspective as our poet says: blasphemous sees everybody of his/her own cult... and our cult hopefully is deep down the cult of mehr-love...

From this point of view it is like this land has been the conceiving ground of ideas which need centuries and years to grow and actualize no matter where on the ‘contingent sea’ of existence. Internationalism is another characteristic of ours, originating maybe from the days of the Silk Road and strengthened by mothering all these different smaller nations of Persians, Turkmens, Turks, Kurds, Lors, Gilaks, Baluchs, Armenians, Assyrians, to mention the larger ones.

It is said from the time immemorial suffering brings wisdom and our youth brought up under incredible psychological, social hardship has earned another great virtue in addition to wisdom and that is patience. Our generation, as the old intellectuals still believing in the outdated ideals and utopias, finding it difficult to conceive of new visions can go on branding them (the largest part of the present population) as apathic, unconcerned, self-indulged and thiat (meaning this or that coined by the same aforementioned American poet-musician). After witnessing a war as children, they value life despite being maybe the most depressed, yet alert youth found in the world. But even their depression, despair is of a novel type. It can disappear overnight, because of their alertness as proved just recently. And inspired by their old history, culture, there can be little doubt that they are making their dreams in silence and they are looking for and finding novel ways to fulfill them. They seem and prove to be sick of shouting: “I will kill, I will kill, whoever killed my brother,” as our generation unfortunately did. This is the sign of wisdom and patience. With a little bit of meticulous impartial observation of recent events here, one can see how depending on their ‘little light’ they try their best to fill their fists with love instead, and “silently” jeering the ‘conspiracy theory’ their parents keep believing with nausea, “freeing their hearts, with that little light” hopefully to speed up the international quest for ‘humankind transforming into real humans’ with the help of all those who believe in love and compassion as the only way of saving our lovely blue planet.

“Those who have a place in other people’s hearts by virtue of their pure thoughts and beautiful natures never fear oblivion, because they are eternal.” -- Cyrus

... Payvand News - 06/21/11 ... --

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