Jafaripour encourages readers to think like citizens of the world in this debut collection of micro-essays.
The author asserts that humans have much more in common with each other than they realize. In this collection of 150 “discussions,” meant to be read in any order, Jafaripour seeks to highlight these commonalities while calling on the reader to remember those things that are most important in life. Discussion 9, for example, “Ordinary Joys,” calls on the reader to savor the moment: “Instead of quickly drinking tea, first look at your cup of tea carefully, say ‘wow, such a hot tea with a nice color.’ ” The micro-essays take the form of poems, anecdotes, quotes, affirmations, and other easily digestible bits of text. They are often accompanied by a small picture that illustrates some aspect of the topic. The overall effect of the book is similar to that of an inspirational desk calendar, mixing strategies for self-improvement with calls to tackle large issues in the world such as war, water shortages, heroin addiction, air pollution, and the problem of anti-Arab poems in Iran. The final 17 discussions are profiles of individuals from Iran and around the world, which give the reader some insights into the other Earth Country citizens who are out there. According to the introduction, this is only the first of a planned 20 volumes. Jafaripour’s first language is Persian, and his English is sometimes filled with grammatical errors and incorrect pluralizations: “We believe that 4 types of extremist fanaticisms made The Earth full of hatred (gender fanaticism, ethnicity fanaticism, nationality fanaticism, religion fanaticism)....We like peace, environment, happiness & social growth on Earth.” While it’s difficult not to sympathize with his project, the book’s simplistic worldview and tone lead to many moments of inadvertent humor. For an uncomplicated idea, the production values of the book are low, and it may be too idiosyncratic (and Iran-centric) to find a wider audience among “Earthians.” The author’s sentiments may be sincere, but the execution falls short of perfection.
An idealistic, if messy, guide to being a better citizen of Earth.