Mind it!

Getting into a typical Iranian’s mind


Mind it!
by Midwesty

Although there are many reasons we should believe that Iranians are very bright, intelligent, and ambitious people as individuals, but based on my limited observation and in contrast to my usual way of thinking I respectfully have to admit that most of us are socially stupid.

Forgive me! I try hard not to generalize since it is the generalization that is the root cause of our social stupidity. To know how I have reached to this conclusion I should go back and give you some background materials. In addition, I am sure we can find the same or worst symptoms among other nationalities and ethnic groups but neither it is my business or my interest to be worried about them.

Let’s get into a typical Iranian’s mind. It doesn’t matter how sloppy an Iranian is on outside, inside of his/her mind things are as clean as compartments in an operation room, as organized as a public library shelves, or as sanitized as a manufacturing floor of a pharmaceutical factory. In Iranian mind, things have their own places. Everything is arranged in the shelves and packed in the nice boxes. We don’t like the clutters in our mind to linger around, the things that are not attached to something or not labeled right. We get nervous when we see an “unidentified sitting object” is hanging in the middle of our mind.

That is why the first thing we want to know about people is their names. What‘s you name? Jon? He must be a f**king Jew. You said Seyyed, He is a bastard Arab. You don’t need to work for Iranian intelligent services to know about any ordinary Iranian anywhere in the world. You just have to give a call to your relatives in Iran and give the prospective person’s name then within 48 hours you will most likely be able to draw that person’s family tree with closed eyes.

However, if god forbids, for any reason we can't get to the name of that person, we could not sleep through the night and stand still during the day until we connect that person to something. The first thing that comes to our mind is to look at or read about him/her. If he in his writings mentions Soviet he is a communist, if she mentions the Shah, she is definitely a monarchist. Talking smoothly makes you a homosexual otherwise a Hezbollahi, where talking rough makes you a Laat.

Ironically, one's nickname is as important as his/her real name,sometimes it works even better. Perhaps her dad called her Shirin to force her to become a sweet person but now as an adult she can choose a more appropriate online nickname such as “Ghamar Soltan” maybe to emphasize more on her big boobs.

Are we done yet? Definitely not! As soon as we feel comfortable that a name or label fits almost someone we get ready to shelve them. We literary bend their knees, and fold their arms then squeeze and shove them into a small shelf under the title such as “NY Taxi Driver/ Iranian Colonel”, “Dehati Scientist in Silicon Valley”, “Confused and Horney Reformist”, “Fat Sadegh Hedayat”, “Single Jeeshoo”, “See it but don’t touch it”, “Touch it but don’t taste it”, “Taste it but don’t swallow it” and so on.

You might assume that this is the end of the story but it is not. As we grow older or add to our education or raise our social status we add more shelves and more titles to our collections however one thing stays always consistent.  Once someone in an Iranian mind is shelved under one label he/she will be never reshelved under another label no matter how hard the subject tries to change his/her shelving status.

All of these contributes to the fact that’s why conspiracy theories are so popular among us and nevertheless almost all discussions around Iranian politics end in a conspiracy theory of one kind or another. Even though I found this quiet amusing seeing ordinary people in the midst of a hot debate based on sheer fictional stories, though, it is depressing to see our educated and experienced ones are not sometimes any different. Or perhaps it is the excessive emotion that shuts down our logic and common sense sometimes and makes us to carelessly call each other names.

I believe there is nothing that can’t be changed in human being. It has been never late and it will never be to have, see or cause changes. I know one thing that if there is an intelligent supreme being exists, he or she is the ultimate judge of what we’ve done not any other human being who is not any better than any of us. Consequently, as long as we live we change so we won’t fit in each other’s little boxes or can’t stay on the same shelf forever.

Maybe some of us don’t see the need of kissing each other’s asses since we are not as connected as we used to be. As a matter of fact we need each other more than ever. The surrounding environment embracing Iranians has becoming increasingly hostile and there is no sign of ease on the horizon either. Iranian.com, the all Iranian on-line magazine is one of the few things that connects us everyday. It is our virtual Café Naderi. It is our legacy we leave for our kids. It is our free visit to a psychological therapy session everyday. It is our adventure land to set our passion free. It is where we cry together and laugh together. Let’s not take it for granted and appreciate it by not labeling each other and degrade one another. However never be too shy to disagree and let’s teach our kids to be that way. 


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To Annanymous 2008

by All the Best to you (not verified) on

I think you as well as my wife are qualified for

More to the point, you do not need any ones assurance
but the love of your husband.

Best to you with love.



To Annanymous 2008

by God Himslef (not verified) on

You won't be nominated for Nobel Prize simply because there is no category called "Mistake". However, the good news is, you will go to heaven, for enduring hell on Earth....


In view of all the above so

by Anonymous2008 (not verified) on

In view of all the above so excellent articles and comments could anybody please tell me if as a non-Iranian woman being married to one Iranian man for 30 long years I could possibly seek nomination to the Nobel Peace Prize (for endurance in mind reading perhaps) this year?


Iran Loves Russia

by Iran Loves Russia (not verified) on

Here Is my dance Therapy



Sloution - Zar Dance

by THRESHOLD (not verified) on

Trance - dance Therapy

My BROTHERS AND SISTERS I will bring you out of trance ....


Say after me Down with USA!


We are judgemental, because

by psychologist with no degree (not verified) on

We are judgemental, because we are weak, we are weak because we are insecure, we are insecure because we do not have knowledge!
Judging belongs to the realm of survival, it is an instinct that remains the dominant factor in our personality until we replace it with knowledge and rational thinking.
A confidant person has overcome the fear of psychological survival and is in the stage of progress where judgment is tamed and moderated with knowledge and wisdom. There, it is no longer a negative factor, fight or flight, but an assessment tool for further progress and discovery.
We judge because we do not have the self esteem to make us strong so we wont be in need of judging for psychological survival.
When we are in need we constantly look into others to see if they have what we don't have in personality traits. In this scenario the more overwhelming the need, the more intense is the the judgemental attitude.
It is not in our genes but in our culture and our ineffective education.
After all an idle mind will focus its energies on things that are readily available and are equally idle like over judging or extreme preoccupation with others, since we are not motivated to attend to ourselves.


THRESHOLD, let me tell you

by Farhad Kashani (not verified) on

THRESHOLD, let me tell you what the U.S is…The U.S is the country who gave refuge and peace and prosperity to 500,000 Iranians like you , many of them IRI supporters and leftists, just for them to come back and bash, not criticize or constructive criticize, but bash it, just as soon as citizenship ceremony was over. And as for Mr. Bismark, the same “Bad” U.S was the country who freed his nation from Nazism and helped it recover and become a major world power.


We are Iranian

by Honest Hassan (not verified) on

Oh yeah...we are IT, baby!
We are hot, we are cool, we are cute, handsome, sharp, 'baahaal', 'teez','mehmoonnavaaz',...you name it!

Oh, wait a minute,...I thought we were shallow, racist, obnoxious, self-centered,'efaadeh ee' and 'az khod raazee'...!

Or, is it, that we are like everybody else...?!


Midwesty: I hope you've read

by n.zanincanadai on

Midwesty: I hope you've read the article "Iranian Identity Under Fire". When I think of a typical Iruni, I think of art and literature. I think of the Iranians' will to keep his language and culture alive. I think of his/her determination and will. I think of his ambition!!! My God, what ambition! Think of all we have acheived in all fields, in all countries, across all language barriers. I think of laughter and fun. I think of a never ending desire to party. I think of bandari music and the smell of Ghormesabzi as an Iranian tries to explain to a non Iranian that PedarSookhteh isn't a mean thing to say to a child. I think of a guy/ a girl fully open to other cultures and other people. When I think of a typical Iranian, I think of someone who has some paranoia that is rooted in all the wars and rapes his ancestors endured. And his/her desire to be cautious. And his/her struggle between wanting to be modern and being afraid of letting go. Consipiracy theories are very popular among us because we are smart. We question things. We don't take things that are just handed down to us. We are not pulp!


Midwesty: Good article. I

by Anonymous22 (not verified) on

Midwesty: Good article. I wish you had dug a little deeper though. Why are Iranian so quick to judge others and sometimes pathologically judgmental of others? What is about our child-rearing and internalized value system (belief system) that give rise to such character traits?

What are Iranian value system? What kind of ethics and principles we instill in our children? How do we teach our children their self-worth? Why are we so status and money-oriented? Why are we so materialistic even more so than the Westerners? What do we respect most in others? Money, education, status, or their humanity???? something to ponder on.



by THRESHOLD (not verified) on

"God has a special providence for fools, drunks, and the United States of America," German statesman Otto von Bismarck is famously alleged to have said

Just a reminder ….
Do not forget "Uncle Sam is listening" - This site is a chatter listening post.

DoD bypassed the very laws put in place to protect Americans against widespread government eavesdropping. The reason may have been to tap the NSA's capability for data mining and widespread surveillance.

I have been looking at this site over several years. And I have some anecdotal evidence not worth mentioning.

The Dweller of the Threshold guards the door to the temple of truth and must be conquered before we can enter.

The Dweller of the Threshold, the Dragon of mediaeval symbolism, is nothing else but our own lower semi-animal, animal or perhaps brutish self, that combination of material and semi-material principles which form the lower ego, which the great majority of men blindly and lovingly hug and caress, because they love themselves.

Do not forget the big Elephant in the room; USA, courtesy of whom we have this web site to thank for.

Do you love Iran ? Than plan your retirement ...
Go to Iran and do some good ... in a remote "dehat"
perhaps ...

Javid Iran.


Thank you to...

by persian cat (not verified) on

Midwesty and Mr. Ali Parsa for their logical and wonderful words. This is a great example of a true educated descent Iranian being. You too made me feel so good tonight by teaching me something that I personally struggled all my life to digest properly. Yes indeed, so THANX again to you both :)


Getting into a typical Iranian mind

by Ali Parsa (not verified) on

I admire your interest in social issues such as this. I love the beginning and the end of your article, but not the middle. First you try to single out Iranians for possessing some attributes that are common denominator of all human beings. The interesting thing is that you admit that other people may have the same traits but 'it is not your business to worry about them!' I do not see why not. People, regardless of nationality,race, color and gender are curious about others they meet. Those who are not educated or less educated use stereotyping and associate anyone they meet with similar persons they have seen or heard about. They mostly stop at that because of their narrow scope of mind. The more educated people, on the other hand, refrain from stereotyping and generalizations and reserve judgment until later when they have can use more evidence and facts. That is not to say that all educated people do this. No, in fact you can find some educated people who are more narrow-minded than uneducated ones. Unfortunately our 'modern' education system puts an increasing emphasis on teaching technology and less on social science, history and humanities.
Speaking of associating people's name with who they are and what they believe is universal and not only Iranian trait. For example in these United States there are millions of people who disqualify people only on the basis of their name. Just look at how Barack Obama is discreditedd because his middle name is Hossain. There is a conservative columnist called Ann Coulter who always calls Obama B. Hussein Obama to scare people from the name Hussein! Examples abound. Many of us Iranian-Americans refrain from using our Arabic names. We use nick names or Westernize our names, hide our identities and the country we are from just to be on the same side especially when we look for a job. I am not criticizing our fellow country people to do what the environment has taught them to do in order to live in peace. I recall when I first came to America and I was looking for a job one friend told me 'look at our misfortune. We lose 50% of our credibility when we open our mouths to speak!' and how true it was and still is. As I understand we have to count our blessings for being in America as the situation is much worse in European countries.
I also argue the fact that we as Iranians have organized mind. In fact, we have much to learn from the West in that respect. Our educational system in Iran, known as Farhangeh estemari, never encouraged organization and you can still see the remnant of that culture. As we know ancient Persia's record keeping and organization and communication were exemplary for the region.
I love how you end your article and praise iranian.com for the opportunity of preparing us to cope with the hostile environment we are living in. All in all, I think you have done a good job and I thank you for your thought provoking article.

Rosie T.

Thank you so much, Arezu

by Rosie T. on

I wish I could have more dialogues with women.  I've followed your postings very closely but I've never answered you because I know that I'm an artist, not a sociologist or a political analyst, and all I can contribute to the discourse is my sense of the underlying patterns and the overarching trajectory.  I leave the particulars up to you all to resolve.  I just want you to make peace among each other. That's all.

It's very lonely here among all these men.  To be honest with you if it weren't for Sasha (Nadia), who has become a very close friend of mine, I would have given up so long ago...

Thank you so much for writing to me.  It means so much to me, and it gives me so much hope and faith...




To: Midwesty Thank you for the article; To; Rosie you are great

by Arezu (not verified) on

Dear Midwesty:

I really enjoyed reading your article. You definitely pinned it down quite well. I don't understand if there is something in our genes because even those of us who have lived most of our lives abroad carry these traits! By the way I have always found you to be tolerant, polite, and pragmatic.

To Rosie T. I have to say, I have read alot of your comments on this site, you are a lovely person, and have a great personality. In fact you are a good role model for us to emulate. Very rare indeed!!


Niki Tehranchi

Good article

by Niki Tehranchi on

Funny yet sad

Saeed Kafili

Friendly Advise

by Saeed Kafili on

 While  critisizing Iranians, you may want to follow  Mohammad Ali Jamalzadeh's style, and refer to their ways and customs and mindset, as "our way, our customs, and our mindset". It just comes across less condescending and is more likely to be received warmly. After all, there are many of us, Iranians, who , when asking your name, just innocently want to know your name, so they know what to call you, and not to stereotype you in any shape or form.

Rosie T.

Thank you so much Midwesty..

by Rosie T. on

unfortunately my experience has corroborated your observations. But Rosie T. will never give up! Iran is the soul of Eurasia. Iran is the place of the wound. Iran must heal itself. And I have ABSOLUTE faith that she will. And I am HONOURED to somehow participate in this process. And I'm going to stick it out, no matter what. Without Iran there would have been no "West." Ancient Greece was only forged as an entity in response to the Persian "threat" at Salamis. The entire conception of the "West" exists because of Persia. Without Iran there would have been no Renaissance. The entire Renaissance rests squarely on the shoulders of the Persian scholars of the Abassid caliphat, which salvaged the classical texts from the ruthless book-burnings of the early Christians. Without Iran, the perceptions of Wholeness of the non-dogmatic spiritual tradtions could not exist. The traditions of the Far East are too abstract. It is Fitzgerald's translations of Khayyam, and the various translations of Rumi (Molanaa) making him the most widely read poet of this most unpoetic nation, Amrikaa, that havw succeeded in salvaging whatever dregs remain of an American "soul" (or if you will, you "atheists", "American spirit.") Americans cannot read their OWN poetry..they can't read Walt Whitman, they can't read Carl Sandburg, or Eliot, or Auden. they can't even read a cereal box...but Molanaa and Hafez they CAN understand. And I have absolute complete faith in Iran. Iran will heal the wound, the gaping wound of Eurasia, which is now the global culture. Yavaash, Iranzamin, yavaash. Patience, patience, patience. Zen Buddhist proverb: Oh snail, climb Mount Fuji, but slowly, slowly...


PS Midwesty, We've never had any direct interactions but I'm pretty sure it was your blog I "lurked" on two months ago which gave me such valuable insights into Khatami.  I thank you for it.  He's a GOOD man.  A very good man.  It's HARD to be a great man...but he's a GOOD mean.  Mullah shodan asaan ast.  Adam shodan moshkel ast.  That was the very first complete Persian sentence I ever learned...Thank you so much for your valuable insights.  


"Be the change you want to see in the world."  Gandhi.





by Abarmard on

very interesting observation. I believe that this shows Iranians in their infancy stage, as time passes you probably will notice that people will socially mature and treat one another differently. The majority do not appreciate their Iranian American status: that they can benefit the best of the two world and naturally be one step above the Iranians inside Iran. When we cherish our positives (only when we can recognize them), then we can help the Iranians inside the country also. Many seem to think the situation is either/or, where they either have to agree with IRI or US, not knowing that there is a third option, the right side is conditional and not static. Sometime one side is right and sometime another. To some, US is always right or Iran is always wrong and vice versa...

Sorry for the long comment. Thanks for the article.


Love what you say!

by Anonymous - Patriot (not verified) on

LOL! Love what you said. As a life long exile, I empathize and understand that "you can take the man out of Iran but you can't take Iran out of the man --or woman if you please!"

Keep writing and keep posting to this wonderful website -our home away from home!