Death & Revolution

Response to comments regarding piece on my wife Ezzat Tabaian


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Death & Revolution
by Majid Naficy
10-Jan-2008
 

I think this is my best response to some of the comments regarding my last piece on my wife Ezzat Tabaian [see: Love and the Revolution]. This is the English version of my talk "Worship of Death before the Revolution" at a conference sponsored by The Cultural Foundation of Nima at UCLA nineteen years ago in August 1989 [1]. The Persian version was published as an introduction to my book In Search of Joy: A Critique of Death-Oriented, Male-Dominated Culture in Iran (Baran publisher, Sweden, 1991).

A death-worshiper sees death as the only solution to all problems of life, and his permanent war cry is, "Kill or be killed." We find death worship not only in the desire of the people for martyrdom but also in the methods and slogans of their struggle and sources of their inspiration during the 1978-79 Revolution in Iran. Especially, when the clergy who officiate the ceremony of death become politically active and after the "outside the zone [2]" movement in Summer 1978 and "the nights of poetry [3]" in Fall of the same year, gradually take the leadership of the revolution. For example: the well-known days of fortieth [4] (the eighteenth of February 1978 in Tabriz [5] and ...), marches of the shrouded, setting of bridal chambers on the streets for young martyrs, gatherings in cemeteries, especially in Behesht-e Zahra, Passion plays commemorating the day of the Tenth [6] and the slogan: " every and each day is the Tenth day, every and each land is Karbala".

The best example of this desire for death can be seen in the Rex Theatre arson in Abadan on August 20, 1978 killing more than 400 viewers which, according to my late comrade, Mostafa Abkashak [7], was instigated by the clergy. The pre-revolution anti-establishment death-worship after the collapse of the Shah's police state, becomes a state policy of the Khomeini's regime, and the religious judges and the cemetery deacons take charge of the political stage.. The death-worship in our homeland reaches its peak during 1980-89 with the execution of thousands of dissidents labeled "the evils of the earth", founding of "The Martyr's Foundation" and most of all "the blessing of the war" [8] During the eight-year Iran-Iraq-War, pan-Islamist Khomeini used "human wave tactic" and sent children on mines, in hope of paradise and Pan-Arabist Saddam used chemical weapons; more than one million Iranians and Iraqis were killed and many more injured.

Now before embarking on the analysis of cultural roots and social background of death-worship in the threshold of the February Revolution, it is necessary to see what death is and how it is related to life and what the notion is that cherishes life?

Definition of Death and Phases of Dying
There are different opinions about the medical definition of human death, but it is traditionally defined as complete stop of respiration and blood circulation. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross who has done much research on death and dying, considers that a dying patient goes through the following psychological phases: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance [9]. Of course, there are nuances for each individual within this universal scheme.

A Wish for Immortality
Escape from death has occupied the human mind from early on; As can be seen in the wish for immortal life in mythology of all peoples: the Islamic Khizr, The Iranian Esfandyar and The Greek Achilles. However, these myths usually end unhappily, because the heroes in most cases, have a vulnerable spot: Esfandyar is hit through his eye and Achilles his heal. Eos's lover, Tithonus whose wish is fulfilled and has become immortal when grows old and worn-out, he asks the gods for death, because immortality is not desirable without youth and health.

Religion and the Denial of Death
As Sigmund Freud says, in his book, The Future of an Illusion, religion appeared in order to remove the reality of death from the human mind. According to the doctrine of Resurrection in Abrahamicm religions like Islam, people after death spiritually or bodily will rise and become immortal. According to the Hindu doctrine of Reincarnation, every living thing after death, will be reborn in a new form in this world. However, the religious denial of death might defeat its purpose, because a religious person in hope of reward hereafter might spend his or her life observing ceremonies which in fact lead to obsession with death rather than escaping from it.

Mysticism and Self-Annihilation
In order to win over death mystics, such as Rumi and Attar, do not focus on the world hereafter. They try to snare the bird of death for life by way of self-annihilation and rejection of all characteristics of being alive such as eating, drinking and sex. However, the tangible outcome of mysticism is not immortality, rather it is the acceptance of little deaths during life and preparation for final end.

Hedonism and Forgetting of Death
Hedonism or "let's be happy" is the non-religious complement of religious death-worship. Epicure, Abu-Nowas, Khayyam and Hafez are not comfortable to wipe out the reality of death from their minds in a religious-mystical way. However, like adherents of religion and mysticism, they see life haunted by the fearful ghost of death. In order to resolve this fear, they take refuge in happy-drinking and its subsequent forgetfulness. As Khayyam says: "Because I am not immortal in this universe/ So it is a capital sin to live without wine and one's beloved."

Unfortunately, the hedonistic heavy drinking only leads to withering away of the human body and spirit. It degrades life and exacerbates the fear of death for the living.

The Philosophy of Absurdity and Suicide
In the modern world in which the role of religion has diminished tendency toward death usually follows a non-religious direction. For example, Albert Camus, the French Existentialist writer considers the concept of suicide as the essential problem of philosophy. In his book The Myth of Sisyphus, he compares a human being to Sisyphus who constantly has to roll a rock toward a mountain top, but the rock rolls back half way. It leaves him unsuccessful in reaching his goal, that is victory over death and finding a meaning for life. After weakening his reader with the poison of absurdity and temptation for suicide, Camus suddenly rebels and expects that the human being accepts responsibility. It is obvious that his death-stricken reader will not be able to carry out this mission.

Tendency Toward Life
The science of medicine has diminished the ratio of mortalities and journey to outer space has strengthened the possibility of longer life in the human mind. Nevertheless, death occurs and denial or disregarding it leads to the opposite result. Death is a twin for life, and one has to accept it. As long as people are alive they can use their creative powers and by leaving a piece of their creation, overcome the feeling of annihilation and death. Leaving a good name for oneself, a child, a bed of flowers, a piece of poetry, music, story and the like-- these are examples of immortalization of life and not the religious resurrection or hedonistic heavy drinking. The traditional example of the tendency toward life can be seen in the preface of The Rose Garden by the fourteenthe century Persian poet, Sa'di: "The flower only remains for five or six days / But this Rose Garden will always remain green.

Social Background
Some of the social background of death-worship is as follows:

1. Wherever the rate of mortality is high due to poverty, people are more vulnerable to death and they always feel threatened by it. Children in whose families or neighborhoods people die frequently, will get used to this concept and for the rest of their lives suffer by its nightmare.
2. In societies in which religion rules over the life of the people, the death-oriented culture is more dominant.
3. Economic injustice and lack of individual liberties create not only tyrannical governments and oppressor classes but also lead the oppressed people toward violence and futile solutions such as assassination and suicide-bombing.

In the Modern Society
In a modern society like the US the rate of life expectancy has increased, the separation of church and state has been established and even in some of the States capital punishment has been abolished. However, death-worship here, appears in new forms such as lack of gun control, glorification of violence and killing on TV and movies as well as the risk of nuclear explosion which can eliminate life once and for all.

Intellectuals and Death for a Cause
Now let us return to Iran. Alongside the existence of an apt background for growth of death-worship in Iranian society, one should not ignore the role that the intellectuals played in this respect in years before the Revolution. Starting fifteen years before the February Revolution, a shift took place in the thought and methods of struggle against the Shah's regime among the leftist and religious (including clerical) intellectuals. The desire for revolution replaced reformism and sacrificing one's life for a cause became the slogan of the day. There is no doubt that the social impact of the Shah's Land Reform and other factors like the political bankruptcy of reformist parties: Mossadegh's National Front and the Soviet-oriented Tudeh Party, the June 4, 1963 riot over the arrest of Khomeini, and the Cuban and Algerian Revolutions played a role in this change.

The Immortal Martyred
In 1968 a clergyman by the name of Salehi-Najafabadi published a book in the city of Qom, called The Immortal Martyred in which he presented a political view regarding the Imam Houssein's Tenth Day Rebellion. Another clergyman, Montazari, who later became vice-roy under Khomeini for a while, had written an introduction to this book. According to the traditional view, Imam Houssein became martyred in order to redeem his followers, the Shiis, on the day of resurrection. In return, the Shiis have to mourn for him on the anniversary of his death. In the political version of Salehi, first, Imam Houssein is not a defeatist; that is, he did not struggle in order to become a martyr. On the contrary, he wanted to take political power and restore the early years of Moslem golden age. Second, instead of mourning, the Shiis should be inspired by Hossein's radicalism and in order to take power, they should not be afraid of martyrdom for a cause.

Martyrdom
In 1971 a religious but anti-clerical intellectual, Dr. Ali Sharia'ti presented a talk on Martyrdom in Ershad Auditorium, Tehran,in which he gave a new political view on the Tenth Day Rebellion. According to Sharia'ti, Imam Houssein knew in advance that his uprising would not lead to victory. Nevertheless, he chose martyrdom to set an example for people and raise their political consciousness. Sharia'ti criticizes Salehi for not distinguishing between jihad (holy war) and martyrdom. In jihad, the Imam of the community declares war against the enemy in order to take political power whereas martyrdom is a voluntary act geared toward preparation of a social setting for jihad.

In this new view, one can see the impact of the current events of the day, because Sharia'ti delivered his talk a short while after the 8 February 1971 assault to a gendarmerie post in the village of Siahkal near Lahijan, and the emergence of urban guerilla warfare carried out by the Marxist Cherikha-ye Fedai-ye Khalq(The Iranian People's Fedai Guerilla Organization) and the Islamic-Marxist Mojahedin-e Khalq (The Iranian People's Mojahedin Organization). There was a similarity of thought between Sharia'ti's "Martyrdom" of Imam and "political agitation" resulted from the armed actions of the urban guerillas.

Mojahedin of the People
This Koranic verse is the organizational slogan of "Mojahedin of the People": "God has preferred those who fight over those who stay at home rewarding the former to a greater extent." (4, 95) Waging urban guerrilla warfare they tried to put their theory of "revolutionary martyrdom" into practice and, inspired by the Algerian revolution, they combined Marxist theories with Islamic ideas.

A Refutation to the Theory of Survival
Amir Parviz Pooyan, a theoretician of the People's Fedai Organization, and the author of a pamphlet by the above-mentioned title, was killed by the Shah's anti-terrorist squads in Tehran in 1972. Inspired by the Cuban Revolution Pooyan, argued that in order to eliminate two absolute factors of "political repression" and "the revolutionaries' lack of strength", the revolutionary intellectuals have to set aside the "theory of survival" and "slow-paced political work". Through armed political actions and sacrificing one's life, they should inspire the masses for a revolutionary uprising.

Coupled with the theory of "death for a cause" one can find other common beliefs among People's Fedais and People's Mojahedin intellectuals which together represent a death-worship culture. They include:


Philosophical Determinism

In spite of the fact that our revolutionary intellectuals accused their reformist opponents of determinism, they were determinists of another sort. They considered themselves as representatives of either divine or historical forces of evolution, and they willingly gave their lives for this cause. Indeed, this is the philosophical source of dogmatism in a death-stricken ideology.


Worship of One's Ideology
A Communist or a Khomeinist may both bravely welcome death for their cause. However, they both regard each other's death, not as martyrdom but as an "elimination". The reason lies in the fact that for them, glorification of a warrior's death stems from one's sacred ideology and not one's bravery. In turn, the ideology represents God or History and owes its sanctity to the holy divine or historical laws and necessities. On the contrary, I believe that we should make a distinction between ideology and ethics, and accept that bravery is good and submission to servitude is bad no matter who is the initiator. But a death-worshipper is also an ideology-worshipper and cannot see the human individual beyond the group-ideological boundaries. All individuals have the same human rights whether they are Communist or Khomeinist, rich or poor, female or male, disabled or abled body, criminal or law-obedient, and their rights should be respected at all times, and everywhere.

Stoicism
A death-worshiper regards joy as a sin, avoids sex and is reluctant to eat. For example, in 1972 Mehdy Rezaii, a People's Mojahed proudly stated in his defence at court that when he was underground, he had not eaten anything except bread and cheese. In a group called Revolutionaries for the Emancipation of the Working Class,(who joined the organization of the Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class (Paikar) in 1980), wife and husband were not allowed to have sex. Stoicism stems from mysticism.

Glorification of Violence
Our intellectuals had militaristic minds. They relied on violence and arms not only in their social struggle but also within the organization itself. One can remember the bloody ideological shift to Marxism-Leninism within the People's Mojahedin in 1975 and bloody factional conflict within the People's Fedayees(the Minority) in Kurdistan, 1986.

Playing with Death
In the seventies, the intellectual guerrillas while underground constantly prepared themselves for the period of detention, cross-examination, torture and execution. Their objectives were to be in control of their own death rather than allowing the police to manipulate them. To serve this purpose they always had cyanide capsules in their mouths.

As a result, the emergence of death-worship in the Islamic Republic is not only related to the economic poverty and high rate of mortality or political repression and the dominance of religion but it also depends on the thought and practice of the intelligentsia in the years preceding the Revolution. Today, too, the kind of responses which our intellectuals have for the question "why did we end here?", will undoubtedly affect the course of future events in Iranian society. Of course, we should not limit ourselves to the cultural criticism, we need an agenda for action as well.

The Abolition of Capital Punishment
Somewhere this vicious circle has to be broken. While in the Shah's prison in the 70's, Asadollah Lajevardi, the chief of the torture chamber in the Islamic Republic, undoubtedly dreamt of the present day fields of execution. Likewise, there are many people suffering from repression in this regime who envision the mullahs over the future gallows. We must set aside this habit of cannibalism and admit that through killing or being killed we cannot find a remedy for the pains of our society. We also should ask all the writers of political agendas to remove capital punishment for political opponents immediately and unconditionally. A few months after my arrival to Los Angeles on May 17, 1984 I started to collect signatures from Iranian emigre for this purpose. Capital punishment is based upon tribal revenge and religious retribution and should be eliminated from modern criminal laws. It does not deter criminals but rather it teaches brutality.

Marxist and religious intellectuals both have contradictory traditions towards capital punishment. For example, opposite to the medieval Spanish Inquisition and Khomeini's religious courts, we have in America the Quakers who, from the very beginning have been against violence and killing. Recently, some Muslim abolitionists use this Koranic verse to condemn capital punishment: "For that cause we decreed for the children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind , and whoso saveth the life of one it shall be as if he has saved the life of all mankind." (5:32)

Contrary to Lenin and especially Stalin, we have a free thinker like the Polish Marxist, Rosa Luxembourg who wrote an article for the abolition of capital punishment and published in Die Rote Fahne November 18, 1918. In spite of siding with the October Revolution she condemns the violent methods of Bolshevism. One can find the same contradiction in Marx's works as well. On the one hand, he condemns capital punishment in an article published in the New-York Daily Tribune February 17-18 1953 and on the other hand, by adhering to the dictatorship of the proletariat, he favored the execution of the political opponents.

The abolition of capital punishment does not lead to compromise with the theocracy but on the contrary, it attacks the real foundations of this violent regime. By killing oppressors one cannot eliminate oppression and by killing the clergy one cannot eradicate theocracy. >From somewhere this vicious circle of death-worship has to be broken. "humanistic execution" is nonsense just as are "good slavery". Let respect for human individuals grow in us, let love for life bloom in us, hello to life!

Footnotes
[1] The other speakers were Nasim Khaksar, Abbas Milani and A. Navid. See Ketab e Nima Vol. 3, Los Angeles, Fall 1990, p. 129
[2] In the summer 1978, people protesting the zoning regulations in Tehran stoned government buildings. This marked the beginning of the 79 Revolution.
[3] In the autumn of 1978, the Goethe Institute in Tehran sponsored Ten Nights of Poetry Readings in which intellectuals protested against censorship.
[4] A mourning day forty days after a death.
[5] Commemorating the riot which occured in the city of Qom forty days before.
[6] Commemorating the death of Imam Hossein, the great Shii martyr who is buried in the city of Karbala in Iraq.
[7] In a pamphlet in Persian published in Los Angeles titled: Who Are the Real Arsonists of Rex Theatre Holocaust? 1988.
[8] Referring to the Iran-Iraq War, Khomeini called it "a blessing", that is, for his government.
[9] Kubler-Ross, Elizabeth On Death & Dying New York Mac Millan Publishing Company Inc. 1969


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more from Majid Naficy
 
Midwesty

and...

by Midwesty on

I am sorry to shatter your dream about Psychology. If you were armed with proper knowledge you would never see the need to insult anybody.


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midwesty: Once again thank

by Anonymous11 (not verified) on

midwesty: Once again thank you for proving my point of your complete ignorance...Speculations belong stock markets and brokers on wall street...I couldn't care less how old you are...I just don't have time to engage islamists cells in the US because they are infuriatingly hopeless and there is no reasoning with such people.


Midwesty

Anonymous1

by Midwesty on

Since you are so much into Psychology I let you speculate on my age and knowledge. Good luck!


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midwesty: I think you have

by Anonymous1 (not verified) on

midwesty: I think you have gone to school in Iran and your constircted definition of science is a bunch of melarky accpeted by old geezers in fields of engineering a million years ago. You must have done most of their educagtion in Iran. In particular, your narrow description of psychology is instructive of your limited knowledge of abnormal psychology. Your sweeping generalization and fantastical defintion of life and death also displays your narrow intellect.

you're still as clueless as they come. If you need more help please go to UCLA's website on science of Cognitive psychology, Psychobiology, evolutionary biology, biological anthropology, cultrual anthropology, comparative psychobiology and social psycholoy and psychometeric. You must be very old....


Azarin Sadegh

to Mehdi

by Azarin Sadegh on

Thanks for your response!

Actually I am a pretty materialistic individual, maybe that’s why I did whatever I could to save Ali from the execution. Because I believe that after death there is nothing. That’s why I couldn’t stand to see an innocent getting hanged. This “nothing” made his destiny so tragic to me. Ali himslef is a true believer, and I am happy about it. It makes things easier for him, if anything goes wrong.

But in my case, I truly believe there is no justice afterlife, but it is just my personal opinion. I might be wrong, because it is not a scientific subject. (There is a specific definition for “science” and what is “scientific”. And as you know, the religion or existence of spirit are not scientific or provable matters.) I cannot prove there is no god and you cannot prove that there is one. So, it is not science.

But I respect the ones who believe in god, in heaven and in hell. As long as the religious people are not trying to impose their truth upon me, I wouldn’t really mind and I am able to live in peace with them. And I don't think i am alone. Most of the Iranian in Diaspora left because of this simple fact that they couldn't coninue living a certain way of life that was imposed upon them. Right?

Actually, most of my friends here are pretty religious of all kinds, but the most important for me, they are smart people with an open mind and with a huge sense of humor. So in our friendship, we don’t like to take ourselves that seriously, so we can function in peace and harmony.

Yes, I think that my heaven and hell are right here, in this mortal life, in this unique chance that I’ve got to grow. Now it is up to me to make something out of it; something heavenly or just pure hellish.

Thanks again, 

Azarin

 


Mehdi

Midwesty makes a very good point

by Mehdi on

Among very true statements he makes, he very importantly explains what the word "scientific" means. It is amazing how many people do not know that definition - even people with years of schooling! Most people that I have met think that "scientific" means anything that some "university" spits out - that anything that comes out of a university is scientific! Nothing can be further from truth. Today there is an amazing amount of nonsense that comes out of the most "respected" universities. The exact definition, in case you are interested, is what Midwesty described: "2+2 is 4 with no speculation whether on earth, mars or anywhere in the universe." Scientific means a statement that can be verified by anybody anywhere, anytime, etc. It is NOT something that only a certain elite can understand.


Mehdi

To: Azarin

by Mehdi on

Like I said, there is a huge propaganda machine about this. You have to get the idea that there is a lot of lies and false information about it. There are also a lot of people who have bought into this due to such huge propganda. There are even people who like the materialism viewpoint because deep down they are afraid of any "afterlife" or any kind of "jusgement day." Materialism promises that once you are dead, you don't have to worry about anything anymore. All you have to do is get yourself to death! After that no worries! Even though we all have a sense that that can't be true.

 

Computers can only immitate emotions. In other words they can only act as if they had emotions but they can never feel emotion. Only a conscience entity can feel, observe, sense, notice, be aware of - objects can't.

The main point I was trying to make was that if you start thinking "materialism," you cannot get anywhere. Just ask yourself, if you were just a sophisticated object, what does caring about the world mean? Would an object care if it turns into atomic dust? Why? Why should you stop a young man's execution? He's just a bunch of molecule, isn't he? And after "death" the molecules don't go anywhere, do they? So why do you bother and what does it mean at all that you bother? Is your attempt at saving that young man's life simply a motion of molecules? Are you just forced to do it because you are made of different set of molecules than those who want to kill that man? That is my main question.


Midwesty

Annonymous11,

by Midwesty on

None of the field of studies that you mentioned is science. Science deals with facts. Anthropologists and psychologists use science in their introduction but when they come to form some definitions they just purely speculate. However 2+2 is 4 with no speculation whether on earth, mars or anywhere in the universe. But you can't find two psychologists to agree on one thing. Despite of great advancement in sciences, you can't find one uniform definition about life and death. Some say any thing warm with motion is alive. A car engine has motion and is warm but is it alive? These fields of studies are not sciences they are philosophies. Darwin is yet to find his missing link. He used the science up to the stage where human race was but since he couldn't find his missing link he speculated for the rest. Now they are selling it as science.


Azarin Sadegh

to Mehdi

by Azarin Sadegh on

Maybe it is unrelated to this wonderful article, but after reading your comment, I thought you might be interested to know about the latest researches in the domain of Artificial intelligence and Cognitive Science: Creation of the emotions in computers. The MIT’s Media lab has a bunch of interesting projects going on in this exciting area of computer science. http://www.aaai.org/AITopics/html/emotion.html The day we, human beings, are able to write computer algorithms for frustration or sadness, joy or pride, (that would result to the creation of a real thinking computer in the real sense of artificial intelligence, similar to the fictional Hale from 2001 Odyssey) then I assume that our brain as our main engine and drive could be the only place where we could hold our so-called spirit. Have you ever seen a sad dead-brain man? Azarin


Midwesty

I can't commnet due to error in the webpage.

by Midwesty on


Mehdi

The Easy Part

by Mehdi on

These days it is rather easy to see that some of the religious beliefs and ideas of the past are invalid. That is the easy part. The hard part is now to define what should take their place. Currently the idea of "materialism" appear to be taking over. The idea that says we are nothing more than "advanced animals." Whatever that means. The idea really reduces to "we are advanced objects." This basically means we are no different than the brick in the wall, or a chair. This theory attempts to tell us that something called consciensness does not actually exist; something called spirit does not really exists. Today this theory is telling us that our emotions, happiness, depression, anger, hopelessnes, enthusiasm, etc, are just chemical reactions - they don't actually exists. If we feel pride, dissapointment, honor, embarrassment, etc, these are just chemicals or electric impulses going around in our brain. Of course this theory is laughable if you really consider it. If you start inspecting it, you realize that you can't even complete that sentence. Because what do we mean by our brain? Doesn't that mean that we are something separate from the brain? Are we a brain or are we somethin else? I can consider my brain, so where am I? Some of these guys go quite crazy in defending this nonsense and they keep going round and round in the brain. "Well there is a screen in the brain and that is conscieousness." Then we say well, who is looking at that screen? "Well, there is another screen that looks at the first screen..." It's just nonsense. You get nowhere with it. But of course it is producing billions for the psychiatrists and their with it's barberic techniques (electric shock, lobotomy, poisonous drugs) used today in prisons and in "hospitals" to "adjust" those who are not compliant to our sweet little civilization. Yes, the old religoin has been replaced and is in the process of being replaced by something far more sinister - psychiatry! And psychology is there just as an opening - a mild version so as to not scare people quickly by wild and stupid theories. So, my friend, Mr. Naficy, you have gone through the easy part. Now let's see if you can do the hard part. What do you say is death? What do you say we are? If death is just the stopping of bodily function, then how can you define all the values that are dear to you? If you are strictly honest with yourself, does a chair give a damn what happens to other chairs? Why would you even bother writing an article? Why would you want "improvement" of the society? What does "improving society" even means if we are all nothing but chairs - nothing but chemicals going round and round? You see? This IS the hard part!


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This article by a German

by Anonymousq (not verified) on

This article by a German philospher is an absoute must Read for educated people not brainwashed by a pedophilic and warmongering prophet:

The radical loser
Hans Magnus Enzensberger looks at the kind of ideological trigger required to ignite the radical loser - whether amok killer, murderer or terrorist - and make him explode
I. The isolated individual

http://www.signandsight.com/features/493.html

http://www.signandsight.com/features/493.html


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midwesty:You're a clueless

by Anonymous11 (not verified) on

midwesty:You're a clueless and arrogant. You need to go back to school and study evolutionary psycho-biology and biologoical anthropology...all the phenomenon you think you're disputing such as altrustim/love etc... in humans have nothing to do with value or religion but propagation of our speices. Alturism in psychology is the ultimate act of selfishness. I suggest you pick up some evolutionary biology, social psychology, and anthropology books.


Jahanshah Rashidian

Great article

by Jahanshah Rashidian on

Thank you for your infornative article. Medical death or stop of heart and lung to function has not yet found a general definition--what happens to our consciousness, if this latter can survive according to some NDE experiences (Near Death Experience). NDE happens in many hospitals for many patients who are considered death but after a while come back to life. Their perceived experiences in this "death" phase remain a scientific puzzle. If the conscuosness, under a form or dimensionality, survives, it needs another defenition for death. It is not a question of religion but a scientific definition. Considering some aspects of Quantum physics and General Relativity, there is a possibility of survival of conscousness probably linked with the mystery of concept of TIME in any direction. Pouyan's theory was also a Lenin's idea, who once said a bomb may have more influence upon masses than hundred non-violent political actions. Pouyan was a revolutionary Cherik, who like any Cherik had a life expectancy only for three years. His theory is not also decoupled from this bitter fact under Shah's regime. Abolishment of death penalty is a secular and humanist idea which cannot be understood by any religion. It should be established, once the IRI is gone and we have a secular democracy. IRI's culprits, even the massacre criminals of summer 88 must not be executed to give a lesson of humanity to our people.


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Reductionism

by Ali (not verified) on

You have an extremely reductionist view about all the concepts that you try to analyze in your article. Religion, mysticism, psychology, martyrdom, modernity...etc can not all be reduced to their relation with your personal materialistic view about death!


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Re: Midwesty

by Anonymous. (not verified) on

What an asinine, name dropping, pedestrian, Khamenei logic comment.


Midwesty

Mr. Naficy,

by Midwesty on

Friedrich Nietzsche the most critic of the religion in 19 century a leader of existentialism and postmodernism movement lost his life to save a horse. Was it an accident? Yes. Did he know he might die? Yes, because if he didn’t think that the horse was in danger he wouldn’t act upon saving the horse. Did he contradict his own philosophy? Absolutely! Why did he do that? Because there are certain sets of values that are engraved inside every human being, one of them is to die for those values. Some special occasions combined with magical accelerators can trigger that way before one’s logic be able to take over the situation.  Your approach towards the subject of death is very subjective. You have dissected the concept and took it out of its context. In Molavi's perception death is the continuation of life. It is another phase of life. It is life. Az jamdi mordamo nami shodam…vaz nama mordam ze heyvan sar zadam….mordam az heyvani o adam shodam ..pas che tarsam key ze mordan kam shodam…hamleye deegar bemeeram az basher…vaz malaaek sar bararam balo par…vaz malak ham bayadam jostan ze joo…kolle shay-en halek ella vajhe-ho…pas adam gardam adam chon arghanoon…gooyadam ena elayhe raje-oon…In Islam death is the most valuable commodity one possesses so he/she should be careful on how to spend it.In tribal and primitive societies, death is a survival mechanism. Some die to save others.I agree with you that death should not be preached nor advertised but virtues should.

 


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Interesting article and thoughts.

by The Fair Judge (not verified) on

This is a very interesting article and you have certainly gone some ways in answering my questions on your previous piece.

Although I would still like to know what you have learnt after your somewhat extraordinary life!!??
This, I am not seeking as a reflection of your personal achievement, or to use it to pass judgment on your person.
Indeed I have no interest in it at any personal level at all. But I do want it so that a lot of others with different political convictions and beliefs can analyse it and learn from it.

Finally you have touched upon one very important point, and that is the futility of capital punishment and that it should be banned worldwide.
This is a major step in promoting respect for human rights and the development of democracy.
The message has to be hammered home that
"Capital Punishment Must Be Banned Now".