lördag 16 augusti 2008

The Bard-Schwartz Conversation

In short:
What people like myself and Arhur Pearlstein and Parviz Varjavand and many others are DOING is to remove Philosophy from its current eurocentrist domain and re-introduce THINKING into a truly global perspective for the 21st century.
We are in other words drawing ever so abstract LINES between Thinking in various parts of the world and at various times to find patterns that appear and re-appear that are CREDIBLE to us today.
Spinoza originated in Spinozism (therefore his controversial break with European Judaism - AND Pre-Enlightenment philosophy - in the 17th century), Sufism in Zoroastrianism. As did Japanese Zen, originating in Chinese Chan. Chan was originally Persian philosophy (Bodhidharma was a Persian and not an Indian, Broughton's big and to us not so surprising discovery in the 1990s) from pre-Islamic Zoroastrian Central Asia, mixed with Daoist and Buddhist thought.
It seems we constantly return to Iran here. Pre-Islamic Iran. Where the dominant paradigm was what we refer to as Mazdayasna (Zoroastrianism).
The Gathas has only played a part in Zoroastrian theology/philosophy after its re-discovery by western scholars (the Ali Jafarey and Dastor Dhalla schools of thought). Most Zoroastrians are rather uncomfortable with this recently developed "text-worshipping", it seems rather alien to their own philosophy towards existence (rather a relative to Brahmanism, for example explaining the ease with which Parsees have adopted to the Indian caste system and Hindu life).
So there is a BIG picture here which is most interesting. And explains why people like Arthur and myself and Peter Schogol and many others converted to Z-ism.
We COULD have chosen Daoism or Zen too. But Zoroastrianism is the CULTURE which is at the ROOTS of our thinking. And of course we are all Spinozists!
But then already Nietzsche definied Zarathushra as the original ethicist in "Ecce Homo"...
Zarathushtra apparently did not believe that Ahura Mazda (or Ahura, or Mazda) was a monsterfreak superhuman. That's enough for me. He merely opened a debate on where we place our metaphysical focus. Which we as humans always have to place SOMEWHERE. So why not in Zarathushtra's divinity applied as a Pantheist concept (a concept which is tied to the concept of asha)?
Call me a post-atheist or a successful case of Lacanian psychoanalysis if you like. But that's where I'm at.

- Dölj citerad text -

Dear Alexander,
Thanks. A recap and a few more words.
I was asked abt etym. of mazdaa- (and had to reject some false l
explanations which accompanied the inquiry). I said it is a compound
meaning "having the property of putting mind into action or presence:" I
shd have added; It amounts either to "Wise/Intelligent" or
"Wisdom/Intelligence" (which of these two options is correct is
debatable.) and is thus either a masculinization of an expectably fem.
noun (as are nouns in -aa- generally fem.), or a masculinized adjective
referring to ahura- "lord', which is grammatically masculine; either way
the grammar indicates a kind of personification. In saying this much I
am only saying what anyone who works in Indo-Iranian linguistics would
say, whatever that scholar thinks about Zarathushtra and the Gathas; here
i am sure Insler, Humbach, Kellens, Skjaervo, and H.P. Schmitt, to name
just a few prominent figures , would agree with me, whatever other
differences of opinion there are among us, and there are many.
You then extracted the word "mind" the compound in my account of the
etymology (which I naively thought wd only satisfy linguistic
curiosities, rather than be a whetstone for religio-philosophical
advocacy axes--pl. of ax, not axis), and used me (who merely affirmed
the common scholarly opinion) as the great authority (I love
compliments, but, sigh, thanks but no thanks in this instance) who
supprrs your view that there is no personification of mazdaa-, which is
merely mind,nor evidence making mazdaa- a creating divinity.
When I offered evidence for both features as Gathic doctrine, you asked
if I ever heard of metaphor. I indicated (slowboil with steamy, snarly
hisses) that I did, and that much of personification in rel. texts is
merely metaphor. I doubt (personally) that Zr. thought that MA has
hands, and the like. I doubt it too. Or a beard (no pun on bard
intended). More on that below.
You then attributed to me the belief that Zoroastrians should worship
the Gathas. Hey, for all, I care, one can worship gathas, fathas,
mothas, pentheus, panthea, panties, garters, gardenias, cardinals,
Cardins, or Korans, tauruses or torahs.
As the local local youth say, WHATeverrr, dude. But I am a bit
curious: does one need gathas, Zarathushtra, or Zoroastrian cover to
embrace independent critical thought? or be pantheists or see all as
manifestations of MInd )a human trait, mind, but never mind), i shall not
accuse you of anthropomorphism)I stilll find the idea of Zoroastrian
Pantheists chimerical, but some of my best friends are chimeras.
You were fishing for my religious background; my name could be that
of a German Lutheran or Catholic, but as you probably suspect, you'd
do better fishing in those shoals where oysterbeds
such as that which produced Mr Pearlstein are to be found. I'm form NY
working class, Jewish (i'm only superficiallly assimilated as American,
as my every gesture attests), Canado-Bessarabian paternally, and
Belarussian (Brestlitovskian) maternally, and Yiddishspeaking.background.
Time out now for dinner; more later, meanwhile do not say aha! Judaic

Haha, Martin, you're the best!
> Well, being an ardent student of Nietzsche and Foucault etc I would be
> carefully to state that "we know" how other generations before us "have
> believed". Whether they really believed forces were persons or not is
> something we may never know. Perhaps they did both. ;-)
> It seems we have enough of a job to find out what we believe ourselves (or
> rather how we are to interpret what science presents to us as reality).
> My interpretation of Zoroastrianism is read through the glasses of
> somebody
> coming from a Brahmanist perspective vieweing Zoroastrianism as an
> Indo-European rather than a proto-Abrahamic faith.
> I would say that contemporary Zoroastrianism is divided between the two
> camps (which should not surprise anyone considering Iran's geographical
> location) with apparently the Pantheist camp winning most favors these
> days.
> Whether this has to do with The Gathas or not is a second question. It's
> Zarathushtra's imperative to think ciritically for ourselves, his
> anti-dogmatic dogma, which interests people like me in The Gathas.
> Zoroastrianism is apprently a faith where the conditions for belief are
> more
> important than the current beliefs themselves. And so I have been told by
> Zoroastrians again and again over the past 20 plus years.
> So we are rather Spinozists who have simply found the origin of Spinozism.
> With perhaps Cyrus The Great being as important as Zarathushtra for our
> understanding of Mazdayasna (rather than Zoroastrianism). It's about
> Mazdayasna as a "practice" and not as a "faith" in the commonly understood
> term.
> Ushta
> Alexander

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