مرکز مطالعات ايران و بالکان
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Interview with Dr Reza Davari Ardakani By: Vladimir Mitev

Interview with Dr Reza Davari Ardakani By: Vladimir Mitev

Doctor Davari, You are in Bulgaria on an official visit and have meetings with officials from Bulgarian institutions. What are the results of your visit?

During my visit to Bulgaria, I met with Academician Vodenicharov, President of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, and his colleagues. We also visited a number of affiliated scientific institutions. I hope our visit would be the initial step of our academic cooperation and scientific exchange of views between the scientists of our two countries. The president of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences had some proposals in this regard and my colleagues in Iran are studying these proposals to see how they can implement them.


After the nuclear agreement between the Islamic Republic and the West has entered into force, there is a more intense political and economic communication between them, than it was during the sanctions. Are Iran and the West truly in a qualitatively new stage of their relations? What are the characteristics of the current stage of relations?

As I am not a politician, I may not be able to answer the question precisely. However, I do not think that the political and economic tension between Iran and the p5+1 has increased.  By lifting the UN sanctions on Iran nuclear program, the main cause of the tension does not exist any longer. Whatever has been reflected in the mass media is related to the difficulties in the implementation of the nuclear deal. Naturally, we are disappointed to face these difficulties although they are not unexpected.

Undoubtedly, nuclear negotiations have been a starting point of a change in the relations between Iran, the US and Western Europe. However the talks did not initiate with the aim of starting this change. For both sides, the need for these talks was felt. So, it would not be surprising to see no major change in the relations. The talks did not aim at changing the relations but resolving the occasional problems and easing the sound or unsound concerns.

The nuclear deal between Iran and p5+1 is such an important matter that will have an impact on changing the relations between Iran and the other countries of the world. Obviously, there is a demand for efforts in the implementation of the items of the nuclear deal and removing the obstacles by means of negotiations and cooperation. The characteristic feature of the present state of the relation is that the sides cannot let it go. On the other hand, the two sides do not expect much improvement. The relation that has begun with unwillingness will not have any result soon.


You write in your books about how the Western man has proclaimed himself a God on Earth, a condition, which is described by your teacher Ahmad Fardid as “garbzadeghi” (occidentosis or westoxication). How can humanity save itself from occidentosis? What is the solution that is offered by Iran and what is the price that is paid for this solution?

 I have not said in my works that the Western man has proclaimed himself a God on Earth. Perhaps I have quoted Sartre, for instance, as saying that man is God.  The principal feature of the modern European philosophy is subjectivity. You have rightly mentioned that Prof. Fardid describes a dimension of this subjectivity as occidentosis. It is hard to say how humanity can save himself from occidentosis.  This is not a problem that would be resolved with political patterns and plans.  As a consequence, no country can find a solution for leaving a world and establishing another epoch in history. Thinkers must reflect on such matters. There will be no principal change in history unless people are prepared for it. After all, the contemporary Europe has its root in the Renaissance!   If this world is planned to be changed, it should be by means of revolutionizing people’s manner of thinking in different areas including philosophy, arts, politics and religion.

Regarding the solution that is offered and the price that is paid for this solution, the answers will be revealed in the future. As you are aware, no country has any plan for the transition to modernity. The path to post-modernity is not through modernity either; rather it is a stage of it which is commented on in modernity. However, there are occasionally mentions made of the end of modernity within it.  In Iran the problem has not been the manner of dealing with modernity. Here, life has religionized. This is particularly hard to do at a time when secularism has influenced the whole world and captivated the lives and souls of people.  

You are considered a Heideggerist in Iran, just like Fardid. Martin Heidegger himself criticizes technologies and believes that they are a basic cause for occidentosis – for the loss of roots in the modern man and for the nihilism that plagues humanity. However, in today’s world it is the adoption of technologies that allows a number of countries, including Iran, to resist the Western-centric world order. To what extent does the Islamic Republic manage to develop technologies without being plagues by nihilism and without falling into occidentosis? What is the secret that allows an Islamic country such as Iran to simultaneously be true to its traditions and develop nuclear, space and biotechnologies?

Regarding the influence of Heidegger and this thinking manner, I think that certain groups may refer to Heidegger to justify their own political behavior, but Heidegger has had little influence on political behaviors and decisions, and those who tend to exaggerate this influence, may have fallen into a hallucination which regards politics as an absolute matter in its social democratic and liberal democratic forms.

The Islamic Republic if Iran is neither a social democracy nor a liberal democracy. Since Heidegger does not have a positive view about these two forms, it is concluded that there must be common points between them. This is apparently true but not very much sensible. It is noteworthy that occidentosis is not a view or an idea that could be accepted or rejected through reasoning and analysis. Occidentosis relates to the manner of our relationship with the contemporary world, its foundations and principles or the outcome of this relationship. As a consequence, it will not go out of the scene through preaching, teaching and discussion. We can reflect on the existing situation of mankind in the world, the current trend of the world and the direction of the modern history, and we should see where we are going and what the future of mankind will be.

The political figures of the Islamic Republic of Iran see no incompatibility between religion, science and technology, and a great number of them are interested in developing science and technology. The Islamic Revolution has not been a revolution against nihilism and the world’s technological order; it has been a revolution against aggression and tyranny, and for independence by means of observing and following the Islamic principles and rules.

Occasionally, certain daily papers and magazines ask how it is possible to bridge between scientific and technical development and religious traditions. This has nothing to do with the government. Even if certain statesmen and administrators reflect on these matters, these are related to their personal or professional lives. They do not mingle these matters with political affairs. In the future, our government might encounter the problem that you have mentioned, but so far this matter has found no place in the political affairs of our country.                 


You use the notion “haqq” (Truth or Absolute) in your writings to mark what the Iranians should be loyal to, so that they could be free from occidentosis. How would you define the truth that makes man free? How does today’s times of internet, technologies, hybrid warfare, transitiveness and dynamics in social relations influence the philosophical truth about life and the meaning of the science of philosophy itself?

It is hard to answer this question. When I was young or a middle aged man, I used to think and still believe that the present world has no future since the modern man has seen himself in the mirror of truth and has thought of himself as truth. As a consequence he has no glimmer of hope or future; he is at the service of his own body. Once this idea is related to modernity, it will have political dimension as well. In the history of modernity, man considers himself as truth and measure for everything. Why doesn’t man ask himself what and who he is and what authority has proclaimed him as truth? We should reflect on this matter. Then we may realize that we have had vanity. It is as a result of this vanity that the world is on the cliff edge. At the time when everybody can have access to the most dangerous weapons, if the world affairs are going to be done through pride and vanity, and the world is going to be improved by the slaughter of innocent people and by means of turmoil and insecurity, it would be impossible to avoid great disasters.


This year the Islamic Republic of Iran marked 37 years from the Revolution that lead to its inception. Geographically Iran has always been an important crossing point between the East and the West, but what is the country’s role on the philosophical map of the world? What are the ideas that define this role?

At the time when philosophy was wandering and homeless, Iran, as the only country outside of Europe, was prepared to acquire and expand the Greek philosophy. As you are aware, during the 7th-19th centuries, no country outside of Western Europe, except Iran, had philosophy(The philosophy of the world of Islam was the follower of Iran’s philosophy; it also had link with Spain).   Of course, in India, China, Japan, Egypt and the other parts of the world, there may have been certain forms of thinking, particularly religious thinking, but philosophy or the so called metaphysics of Greece came to Iran and its scholastic form was realized in Europe in the Middle Ages.

Philosophy existed only in these two places. We Iranians have over 1200 history of philosophy. This philosophy has had a peculiar trend and has come closer to the religion over 1000 years. The link between religion and philosophy in our history is of prime significance. But we have not paid due attention to it. If we do, a movement of philosophy may emerge. But its prerequisite is that Islamic philosophy professors consider the current situation of the world, history of philosophy, and particularly the philosophy of the modern era. Those countries which have no history of philosophy can merely share the western thinking in order to have a place in the thinking of the future. But as Iranians have a history of philosophy, they can refer to it. Lastly, we must reflect on the situation where the futureless contemporary world is situated in, and hope for a glimmer of light in the horizon of the future.







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