Gelareh – Day 3

Gelareh – Day 3 150 150 Culturistan

Strategizing manipulation

Inside the Grillemont castle, even on a sunny day presents itself with a coldness hard to redeem even with a hat, woolly shawl and 3 layers of clothes. We are all now used to this temperature, where at first seemed impossible to sit through. A detail where now if gone would take out the familiarity of the place we have come to call home. Our morning sessions began.

“…The mind that is not baffled is not employed
The impeded stream is the one that sings”

– Wendell Berry

The poem, for me, seemed repetitive on how our mind honors “time or energy” with how we question our decisions. Due to this constant reminder, my mind turned off towards the full poem. It frustrated me that again to show concern of thought my mind had to be consumed or baffled as it stated. Maybe like the cold that we had become accustomed to, the reminder and practice of streamlining thoughts would no longer prove to be a task. There is much that we can easily dismiss, as it is repetitive or cliche, but as Ahmad Kiarostami pointed out – “The obvious is never told, therefore it is forgotten”. Now that truly resonated – how in so many occasions I have let the obvious go, an obvious that could have shown compassion and interest.

We were back at Truth, it seems to somehow go hand in hand with authenticity. For whenever we aim to see that truth, we look at what’s authentic, separating any influences, conditioning, nuances, and accents that have come forth through in our individual practiced cultures. I thought back to the Zagros mountains, the Bakhtiaris, what our survival instincts generated, our acceptable cultures, who I formed into then and who I am now. How each reality presented itself with its own set of protocols (culture), and if I changed within each culture does that then make me inauthentic? Would I be then manipulating those who have not seen me in other cultures?

“She learned from the brief exchange that the way men were able to accept women in politics was to associate them with motherhood. … She began to see that her gender, a liability in many ways, could actually be an asset. To accentuate this opportunity to gain influence, she began to dress and comport herself in a way that reminded men of their mothers…”

– Kristin Downey

“Birnbaum and Finkelstein’s work has provided a new model for attack politics in this era of global division. …’It always helps rally the troops and rally a population when the enemy has a face’ Birnbaum explained.”

– Hannes Grassegger

The two excerpts above were taken from two articles, each highlighting individuals that strategized their goal, potentially ‘manipulating’ their associates in the process of reaching that goal. The first a woman whose intentions was to bring positive change via men and circles that proved shady, corrupt therefore in a way manipulating that circle as to be accepted for this change, while the second was two men who spread lies, also manipulated people as to sway elections. Both held strategies which involved manipulation – but can we say as one was for the greater good then no longer can the word manipulation be used?

I related much to the woman, not that I am doing some greater good but that in most circles that I have worked there was a certain amount of disguise in oneself, in who I was representing, no lie in my intentions yet potentially a manipulation of my authenticity. Yet I knew without these changes in the true sense of who I represented. I wouldn’t even be spoken to, let alone to do the job which in the long run proved beneficial for both parties. How much are we manipulating or strategizing with our decisions in the process of our goal? How much can this be weighed negatively?

Would a chameleon then be a manipulating creature if its essence, is to adapt through change of skin?