About myself:I'm half Iranian and half American. I'm here to say what I think. If you came here to be pleased or flattered, you're in the wrong place. No one owns me. I'm a free individual. I don't bow to anyone's politics, here or in Iran. I'm my own person, and that's too bad if anyone doesn't like it. When people read my stuff, they'll get MY opinion. I alone am responsible for my opinion - no one else is. Likewise, I'm not responsible for your opinion, or your assumptions about me. You are.
The last blog entry in this series concerned what was REALLY in Cyrus the Great's cylinder.
Given all the false claims about it that Iranians were believing, it seems evident that none of them ever actually checked.
Iranians are good at making, sharing and believing rumors. The upper class "Westernized" Iranians are the best at it - better than their lower class religious countrymen.
They have a little "knowledge" economy. Its more advanced than the one Iranian villagers have. They spread rumors and gossip among themselves - across hundreds of kilometers!
With the aid of cellphones and computer chips! Their gossip spreads at the speed of light!
Aren't they superior?
In Iranian culture, knowledge is gained by listening to other Iranians. Since Iranians love to be at the top of their little totem-pole-like society, they want to be the "know-it-all" that everyone listens to.
They are masters at believing bullshit.
They even believe their OWN bullshit.
They made up that stuff about Cyrus's cylinder, and then they believed it.
But independent checking is beyond them.
In Iranian culture, knowledge does NOT come from investigation or research that is independent of authority.
While the Iranian reputation-dorks were busy consulting each other and spreading around bullshit, foreigners ignored them, and discovered things in Iran.
Above is a photo taken of the Behistun inscription.
Its discovery paved the way for ancient Persian to be read and translated.
How was ancient Persian deciphered and translated?
I'm no expert, and am really just beginning to learn about this. Anyone out there who knows more than me, please feel free to correct anything I say here.
However, it appears that the Behistun inscription - Iran's equivalent to the Rosetta Stone, which was an important discovery that helped pave the way for that language to be decoded and understood - was NOT discovered by Iranians.
Iran's past lay buried and forgotten for centuries and centuries - quite Ironically, under big oblivious self-important Iranian noses. Foreigners finally discovered it.
Iranians had of course known about the area before. Iranian poet Firdausi made up some interesting bullshit about it that wasn't true (In fact, it became a real hit. Iranians are good at something, at least).
But an Englishman named Robert Sherley was the first to finally bring it to the attention of Western scholars. He also made up some bullshit about it that wasn't true. (It seems to be part of human nature to make up bullshit about things that they haven't fully investigated).
Carsten Niebuhr published the transcriptions in his book in Europe, allowing Georg Friedrich Grotefend and others to try deciphering them. Grotefend discovered that ancient Persian was alphabetic, and that each word was separated by a slanted symbol. He succeeded in deciphering some of the text.
Sir Henry Rawlinson, a British Army officer, picked up where Grotefend left off.
Two foreigners - a British Army officer and a German scholar - played a key role in uncovering the mystery of ancient Persian cuneiform for the modern world.
Like the Rosetta Stone in Egypt, the Behistun inscription was decoded with the help of Western scholars using ancient Greek. The German scholar Grotefend was able to decipher some of it.
The British army officer - sir Henry Rawlinson - deciphered the rest.
It is thanks to this discovery - and the work of deciphering the characters - that we can read this ancient language Iranian language.
Without this discovery, no one would know what was in the cyrus cylinder.
So the usual question that everyone by now is wincing with anticipation at: why didn't Iranians discover this?
Once again, I'm going to state here that the majority of Iranians were probably living under extreme poverty. They didn't have the luxury to care about such things.
They deserve neither scorn nor criticism.
The Iranians at the top of their social hierarchy however probably had at least the material means to engage in things other than a struggle for physical survival.
If they could build palaces and enjoy their wealth, and throw parties for each other, they could have gone out and studied what was in their surroundings. But they didn't.
Perhaps they had to play their role, and couldn't deviate from it, otherwise their competition would gossip about them and overthrow them for being "strange".
Iranian upper class society - as primitive as it is - is very competitive.
The upkeep of pomp is almost a matter of life and death.
Each Iranian is a miniature Shah or Ayatollah, who needs to keep his hold on his domain or get overthrown. All their energy is devoted to controlling things.
So while important Iranian tribal leaders counted their gold coins, received flattery and homage from their underlings, consulted with each other, or frothed at the mouth over some stupid half-imagined insult from another official, foreigners inside Iran ignored the ridiculous Iranian social hubbub because they were never a part of it.
Therefor they had no trouble going out and investigating Iran's wilderness.
I didn't put the picture of either Rawlinson or Grotefend on this blog. An Iranian would have. That's because Iranians worship people. But Westerners are interested in the discovery itself.
This should be a lesson to Iranians who want to do anything similar. A pioneering spirit requires ignoring the distractions of the society and people around you.
Iranian society - with its petty obsession about politics - retards individual creativity and ingenuity.
The social prattle of Iranians is noise to people who are truly curious about the world. There is nothing more fascinating to an explorer than the world, and nothing less so than exchanging flattery with idiots who aren't interested in it.
Even the most upper class Iranians who live in the West and who fancy themselves to be the most well-endowed fruits of their country, are sorry specimens.
They remain Iranians, despite everything.
None of them have that spirit of discovery that Westerners have had. All they are good at is bullshitting, getting titles, recognitions, and the mundane sort of social prizes that bureaucrats get.
They live to get a pat on their little heads from others.
No discoveries and certainly nothing groundbreaking has been achieved by these Iranians.
They gather in flocks, and fight over their titles the way little birds fight over crumbs, and they prance about in each other's company, competing to see who has the best plumage.
Meanwhile, American eagles and Western falcons soar the skies alone, looking for things.
They avoided gatherings and flocks, and struck out towards the unknown alone.
Their friend was the sky, their domain the earth.
The thrill of discovery awaits them, not Iranians.
So there you have it.
Its the Persian paradox.
Iranian know-it-alls are the enemies of knowledge.
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