Archive Sections: letters | music | index | features | photos | arts/lit | satire Find Iranian singles today!


Little people
I don’t mean the proletariat but the hypocrites

October 1, 2004

Little people. All my life little people have hurt me. Now, don’t get me wrong, these people are not necessarily physically small -- sometimes they are anything but. Nor are they little in the economic sense of the term as in “petit bourgeois,” or “menu peuple,” no, in fact their smallness, their littleness is deeply hidden behind either muscle and brawn or books and accomplishments or riches and achievements.

Regardless of the layers that might bury their littleness, little people eventually reveal their littleness in a big way. It is in their nature to do so. Trying to compensate for their hidden littleness they bury it deep and ignore it and set about to prove to themselves and others that in fact it never existed. But since it does exist, their littleness, sooner or later it wins. It erupts in one big blast of meanness.

The little person has a small soul. Because of some untruth that they feel like they have to prescribe for themselves, they suffer from the consequences of not being true to their natures. This shrinks their spirit, their soul. Often these people can be outwardly happy or successful because the more “happy masks” they have, the more they can hide themselves behind their accomplishments and not face or betray the truth about themselves.

You see this often in the immigrant’s mentality. The way he/she likes to forget his/her roots and blend in with society. In other words what the African-Americans call the “Uncle Tom syndrome”. In individuals it happens when they leave the truth of who they are, the core of their soul, and live in exile: in a reality that they have created to fit societal constructs and expectations.

Now, you can find little people, people who are not themselves, people who pretend to be other than they are, everywhere. But in totalitarian societies they abound.

In a place like Iran little people thrive. Because the system of rule is based on the triumph of the little people. I don’t mean the proletariat but the hypocrites. Those who vote so they can have the government’s stamp on their i.d so that they can win the approval of the authorities and make a buck while doing so. Those who appease and conform rather than leave, resist, or fight.

There are two kinds of hypocrites. Ones who do it for profit. Those hypocrites I call the practical kind. They are pragmatic hypocrites, ones who know themselves but choose for the purpose of efficacy to pretend to be other. Let's say Clinton or most politicians are like that. The other kind, the real little people, are not pragmatic hypocrites.

The real little people have lied to themselves for so long that their hypocrisy has reached pathological proportions. They have been hiding from their own truth for so long they can no longer even see themselves clearly--their truth is not something they live with. They hide it until it erupts sometimes with grave consequences.

The real little people can actually be mean. They cannot forgive or forget easily. They are sensitive towards what others think and say because they are so unsure of themselves, their masks. Now, if you think back to your school days, you will remember them: the bullies who cried quicker than the others if something did not go their way. If you think of the guy behind the passport counter who gave you a hard time just because he seemed to be enjoying it, you will see it, or, the rich friend who wallows in conspicuous consumption but is actually really miserly. The world is full of little people behind big people masks.

It is perhaps obvious to my patient readers that I am trying to take something personal to a universal level in order to empty myself. Surely, I stand guilty of that. But I am truly, like most people of the pen, trying to reap some lesson from this putting of feelings into words.

Having been hurt again by a little person, I ask myself what is it that draws me to them and them to me? I realized they, being hypocrites of the pathological kind, have a problem facing themselves. They are initially attracted to me because they admire me for being myself. They feed off of my confidence like some cure-all for their own weak souls. I become attracted to them because I have this need to feed people. The hungrier they are the better.

When I can help someone it is empowering. They often tell me how they like my open spirit and honest nature. But, eventually, they come to resent it. The closer I come to them, the more I see into their soul, the smaller they become. The smaller they become the meaner they get until their littleness erupts into one big burst of meanness and ends up hurting me. Me being hurt makes them feel big again. And so on.

.................... Say goodbye to spam!

* *

For letters section
To Setareh Sabety

* Advertising
* Support
* Reproduction
* Write for
* Editorial policy





Book of the day

Three volume box set of the Persian Book of Kings
Translated by Dick Davis

Copyright 1995-2013, Iranian LLC.   |    User Agreement and Privacy Policy   |    Rights and Permissions