♫♪  Saint Abdullah - “Vivid Persian Dreams”

In the past decade of half-truth and disinformation, the imperative to build safe worldviews and frames takes on new precedence. That is not to say escaping reality and rationality hasn’t always been a thing. Yet living in a society where uncertainty is more palpable than in recent memory, I can’t help but notice the lengths to which Americans in particular will go to convince themselves of their respective truths. Being a history teacher has me examining these worldviews we build, how I can spin them or dissemble them to communicate cultures and the past in general.

Even as I convince myself of my own objectivity, it inspires cynicism within me, bordering on reverential indifference. As I analyze and learn, a monolith of time gets bigger in my mind. I feel shrunken, detached from the circumstances of history even though I feel as though I understand cause and effect. These cultures which have persisted and will persist feel greater than I and it’s not unnatural to feel inconsequential. Centuries degenerate into mists of fragrant conflict, flowing from incense cones that are but brief periods of note that we commemorate with a book I suppose; they are golden ages or some other sand castle myth.

In the collective view of history, we see rise and collapse. Civilizations fail, that is a universal truth to the field perhaps. Maybe it’s that fear of collapse that buoys are own uncertainty of our future in the West. I’m not so certain of that. People persist, ravaged by struggle and change but there is continuity in experience. If any piece of civilization has reason to “collapse”, it is Iran. Straddling the divide between East and West and shredded by both sides infrequently, it persists as a monolith in its own right. Depending on which wavelength of the zeitgeist you’re tuned in to, some say they are even thriving.

You can glimpse at the world in places like Iran and see that bewildering monolith of history, casting the opaque shadow of permanence across states, institutions, and centuries-old conflicts. Erasure, conquest, and the resolve of existence, are all a part of that shade. I can’t blame anyone for feeling uneasy about the present (and crafting defensive perspectives) but there is reassurance in stepping back and viewing the abbreviated moments, seeing genuine, cultural survival. With such nations as Iran, the imperative of survival confronts near mythical history, tamed only for chapters. Consequently, we see beautiful cries of triumph and failure, wholly eternal, and endorsed on the tapestry that is timeless Persia. Perhaps we just need to step back and view the whole thing, as our perspective. No half-truths, just respectful and reflective awe.

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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