Philosophers of Filth

My son wakes up screaming every morning at 4:30 am.  After a pat on the head and tucking back in under the covers, he’s out again and I get back in bed, stare at the clock and try to will myself to sleep. Eventually I give up and lie awake worrying about money.  The other morning was a rare exception – Simon slept through his wakeup call. I, however, awoke as usual and, having nothing better to do, started thinking about ‘Eshqi and his utopian vision of mob rule.  I felt I’d been too harsh on him. He wasn’t crazy,  just really angry. He also had the disadvantage of being in his early twenties when he composed that piece.  I can only imagine all the crap I would have written had the internet existed in any usable form when I was young and stupid.

‘Eshqi was far from stupid. His writing is clear-eyed and straight forward. He was aware of the absurdity of his ideas yet felt no compulsion to water down the severity of his vision. The essay sounds almost like Nietzsche in tone, with lots of “O Man” this and “O Nation” that.  And he wasn’t the only one to think in these extremes, as just a few years earlier, a band of really ticked off nationalists had formed The Punishment Committee (I love that band!) with the intent of killing off the enemies of the Iranian nation, however they might be defined. They managed to bag a few before being sent up the river.  Stories like these drive home the despair felt by Iranian nationalists who had seen all the advances made during the Constitutional Revolution a decade before reversed by the onslaught of WWI and foreign machinations. It’s depressing to think about, frankly, and I got out of bed in a foul mood that morning.

Anyway, on with the story…

[The second article opens with another allegorical discussion of the need for winding watches and keeping the gears of machinery clean and running smoothly. Also, the necessity of bathing regularly, so our bodies are not “polluted with germs, sweat, and filth.” ]

“It is the same with the public “body”. Every society that allows filth to accumulate in the machinery of its laws, clogging the gears completely or making it work in a way other than originally intended without being repaired, eventually encounters elements in the body politic which are the equivalent of those noxious germs on the body of a person who has not bathed in three weeks.

What elements are these? These enemies of civil rights, of the public interest? Enemies of the people’s happiness, of their comfort, their well-being? These are the people to whom I, in my personal notes, have given the name “Philosophers of Filth.”

[…] The Philosophers of Filth are those elements who, as a result of greed and malice, consider all human kindness to be nothing but a figment of the imagination or, at best, a tool for deception.

They consider mercy a weakness of spirit or a symptom of a trembling heart. To them, compassion is nothing but a defect in the natural disposition of the compassionate person. […] If this sort of Philosopher of Filth saw a family in the wilderness, a mother and five or six kids,  who had only fifteen kilograms [five man] of flour for their monthly provisions and for whom no hope of meeting their needs for the next month could be seen…why, what would restrain this Philosopher from taking those fifteen kilograms of flour by force for himself? It is certain that through these actions, the family would be dead from hunger in a few days. The Philosopher of Filth would laugh at their deaths and not regret taking that flour in the least.

The Philosopher of Filth would consider such a theft a highly rational act, since it did not endanger his own well-being at all!

[…] The great Philosophers of Filth, those we call “experienced”, are those who, when they occupy positions of authority in a government, sell off all the nation’s resources to foreigners in order to enrich themselves.  If [Prime Minister] Vosuq al-Dawleh sold Iran, there is no doubt he would be considered one of the great philosophers of his time! Because Vosuq al-Dawleh laughs in the face of mercy, honesty and integrity.

The Philosophers of Filth will be sacrificed in the Festival of Blood.

[More after the break…]

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About M.C. Smith

translatingpersian@gmail.com View all posts by M.C. Smith

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