The negative side of the American Dream comes when people pursue success at any cost, which in turn destroys the vision and the dream.
The crisis besetting America is not just an economic or political crisis; something deeper is wreaking havoc across the land, a mercenary and utilitarian attitude that demonstrates little empathy for people’s actual well-being, that dismisses imagination and thought, branding passion for knowledge as irrelevant.
It is amazing how, when all possibilities seem to be taken away from you, the minutest opening can become a great freedom.
That, of course, is what great works of imagination do for us: They make us a little restless, destabilize us, question our preconceived notions and formulas.
Look at Ayatollah Khomeini's revolution and the slogans that they used: anti-imperialism; anti-colonialism; the struggle of the have-nots against the haves; the state monopoly over economy, which was very much patterned after the Soviet Union. All of these things did not come out of Islam. Islam is not that developed.
The stories from Iran's present and past are reminders that freedom, democracy and human rights, or fundamentalism, fascism and terrorism are not geographically and culturally determined, but universal.
Those in the west who dismiss the repressiveness of laws against women in countries like Iran, no matter how benign their intentions, present a condescending view not just of the religion but also of women living in Muslim majority countries, as if the desire for choice and happiness is the monopoly of women in the west.
A novel is not an allegory.... It is the sensual experience of another world. If you don't enter that world, hold your breath with the characters and become involved in their destiny, you won't be able to empathize, and empathy is at the heart of the novel. This is how you read a novel: you inhale the experience. So start breathing.
I see people who talk about America, and then undermine it by not paying attention to its soul, to its poetry. I see polarization, reductionism and superficiality.
You get a strange feeling when you're about to leave a place, I told him, like you'll not only miss the people you love but you'll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you'll never be this way ever again.
Last Update: 3 August 2021
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