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Dar Essarat E Farhang

Author: Tahere Sheykholeslam
Publisher:
ISBN: 9781545028124
Size: 52.71 MB
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For a long time, the people of Iran have been living in fear. This has been a triple fear: political, social and economic. To survive and function in this culture of fear, Iranians have developed many adaptive characteristics -some good and some bad- and over time, characteristics formed in response to circumstances have become habit, and habit has become culture.Authoritarian regimes give rise to a system where those in power can dominate the lives of others, and injure or impair the livelihood of an ordinary person at whim. In the absence of human rights and social security, the response from the population is flattery - obedience, self-abasement, fawning compliments, idolatry, and bribes or "gifts" offered to "superiors".Neither party to this transaction finds its reality psychologically palatable, and so both conspire to create a cultural fiction to mask the unpleasant truth. Power becomes "distinction" and sycophancy becomes "politeness", and thus, the social negative weight of atrocity and cowardice vanishes. The powerful man loses the stigma of his repressive position and instead becomes a man of earned distinction who naturally warrants compliments and gifts. The servile man loses the stigma of cowardice and presents himself as a man of impeccable manners. Since no-one could object to such innocuous cultural habits as respect and politeness, this behavioural fa�ade spreads like a plague throughout society.Other adaptive characteristics of this nature also spawn. Since compliments and politeness are a mere fa�ade, people are understood to be "two-faced" - any display of kindness is suspect, and there is a pervasive lack of trust. Taking "compliment as respect" also develops a lack of tolerance to criticisms, and extreme difficulty in accepting mistakes, offering apologies or changing behaviours.This culture of sycophancy empowers the authoritarian regime by acting as the "velvet glove" around its fist. By combining genuine respect and camaraderie with "pleasing others", the people become trapped in a system in which resistance is seen as a sign of bad manners which detracts from personal virtue.One cannot fight against repression while accepting a cultural framework that treats obedience as a virtue and resistance as incivility. Hence the title of my book, "Enslavement to Culture".