söndagen den 31:e augusti 2008

The Gathas belong inside The Yasna

Dear Osred

Exactly!!!
Please note that there is also a THIRD option available:
This version is to endorse the Zoroastrian religion, tradition, culture and rituals as a WHOLE and still be pro both conversions and change (relativism). Its is for example not only the Gathas-only camp which is for conversions.
Actually this third option is probably the most popular and widespread in the Zoroastrian global community today. This view has for example been endorsed by the Council of Mobeds in Tehran and I have myself had my navjote (sudreh kushti) performed accordingly by mobed Kamran Jamshidi, involving more or less the full rituals according to the Yasna while still being accepted fully by the Zoroastrian community as a convert.
If I read you correctly, you yourself subscribe to this third option too.
The thing is that Zoroastrianism has always been a RITUALISTIC and relativistic religion rather than a "protestant faith of the book". A practice rather than a dogma. It is a culture and a way of life allowing for personal interpretation and disparate beliefs rather than a dogma set in stone. Do I understand you correctly if you've come to this conclusion too?

Ushta
Alexander

2008/8/30 osred90
- Dölj citerad text -


"One classic example of distortion worked by the "protestant
prejudice" is found in early Zoroastrian studies. The primary source
document in ancient Avestan texts is the Yasna (cognate to the Vedic
yajna or sacrifice). The Yasna is the primary liturgical text or
ritual manual (actually, the actual service) of Zoroastrian worship.
The Yasna is what is done.

Early scholars identified the Gathas embedded within the yasna, and
ignoring their ritual context, torn the Gathas out to study them
separately in the putative attempt to "reconstruct" the "pure faith"
of Zarathustra with no ritual. Some westernized Zoroastrians bought
into this treatment of the Gathas and to this day there is a raging
controversy within the Zoroastrian community between the
reformist "Gatha-only" advocates and the traditionalist Zoroastrians.
Meanwhile, western scholarship, recognizing the orthopraxic nature of
ancient Zoroastrianism has re-inserted the Gathas back into their
intended liturgical context in the Yasna and has found this helps
immensely in solving interpretative puzzles the earlier approach
could not solve. To make sense of much of the Zoroastrian material,
you have to see it ritually enacted over the course of the year as it
follows the religious calendar. Like elements of a drama that only
make sense and come alive when performed, scholars now study this
performance as the real "text". The Zoroastrian priest, Jamsheed
Choksy has a book, Purity and Danger: Triumph over Evil, in which he
documents how the ritual illuminates the mythic lore. The Zoroastrian
priest, Firose Kotwal (along with the University of Colorado??), has
been cooperating with academics in having the Zoroastrian liturgy
video-taped in order to study the living "text" or which the mythic
stories and ritual texts are only fragmented elements like script and
stage-directions. "

lördagen den 30:e augusti 2008

The Weight of Ethics vs The Lightness of Moralism

Dear Dino

Alfred North Whitehead is a brilliant old thinker!!!

But no, the Zoroastrian concept of "immortality" is not tainted by the Christian concepts of remorse, guilt and fear of punishment. Because those concepts are tied to the idea that there exists a Judge who is the center of existence, and to whom we are mere objects, mere toys, meaning that our actions and our very existence is only there for the Judge to judge us and play around with us. On Barhamic religion, this figure is the God-Father-Almighty, in psychoanalysis this is The Big Other, an illusionary but strong phantom with eormous power over our subsconsciousness.

None of this exists in Zoroastrianism. There is no such Big-Other-judge. Our actions get their value strictly to OURSELVES through what we do. We not only choose the actions, we also choose the valuations of these actions. This is why Zarathushtra does not specifiy WHAT is good about goodness, this is left to us and our our friends and our culture and our generation to decide. Ethics is, as always in philosophy, a SUBJECTIVE or inter-subjective experience rather than an objectively valid print in stone (such as Sharia Law or The Ten Commandments).

However, it is also true that Zarathushtra's ethics are not sloppy. In a way they are far HARDER than Christian morality. Because in Christianity, we are promised that God will alter our mistakes and forgive us and create a new world for us to live in when we enter Heaven. There are no such promises in Zarathushtra's ethics: This is why Zarathushtra is much HARDER about what we are supposed to do with our freedom than Christianity ever was. Ethics is not a sweet escape from moralism. Ethics is instead the confrontation of TRUTH and the willingness to avoid the escape to morality to avoid reality as it is. "We are our thoughts, we are our words, we are our actions" is an extremely TOUGH ethics. But it is the only ethics which is true and correct. We are ourselves and also the consequences of what we decide this being to be. No wonder Zoroastrians have been AGGRESSIVE about such ethical principles as keeping the world clean, recycling, and living in balance with nature. These are not things we as Zoroastrians take lightly.

Ushta
Alexander

2008/8/30 Special Kain

It is interesting, indeed, and it reminds me of Alfred North Whitehead's concept of man's immortality: The effects we cause will live on in future events, because the world is a web or a network of interrelated and mutually dependent events. Whatever we do, it's like leaving a footmark. Thus, whether we do good or bad things, it will remain in this world forever.
Bearing this in mind, why should we decide to do something bad when it's going to be a part of the world we're living in? It would always stay with us. It's perfectly logical to cultivate a constructive mentality.

Frankly, I'm not too happy with my own arguments concerning the ethical consequences of our actions's "immortality", since it seems to be tainted by the ugly concept of 'Christian remorse/guilty consciousness/fear of punishment'. And I truly dispise that. But I'll just leave it at this. ;)

--- Alexander Bard schrieb am Sa, 30.8.2008:

Von: Alexander Bard
Betreff: [Ushta] Ravan - An amazing concept!
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Samstag, 30. August 2008, 13:40

May I add that "ravan" is an amazing concept!!!
I have never heard of anything like it in western thought.
Perhaps with the advent of modern physics - and the realisation that time is merely another fourth dimension of existence - ravan can be introduced in a big way, since ravan now can get a far more direct sense of "being" rather than "just" being the pattern and influence left beyond by our bodies in existence as such.
Ravan is simply bodies WITHIN the dimension of time.
But then again, the concept of time has been far more thoroughly approached in Iranian and Indian philosophy than ever in western philosophy, where time was considered a given fact not to be given attention well into the 21st century and the late arrival of time-fascinated philosophers such as Henri Bergson.
Ushta
Alexander

2008/8/30 Parviz Varjavand

Dear Dino,

Your points are very elegantly presented and very correct. I am if full agreement with you.
Now hear my two cents on the Meaning of Ravan.
I take Ravan to be related to words such as Raftan and Raftar. It means Movement or Behavior. In our lives we move in certain directions and the paths we take do matter. They are our Ravan. When we die, our Ravan survives and it is the footprints of what we did when alive. As long as our Ravan is remembered well, we live on and that is what Ravan'ash Shad Bad means, may his/her Ravan be happy. Ravan is not Soul in the classic sense that a ghost-like vapor of us survives after the death of the body; I do not believe in that kind of a soul void of body in Zoroastrianism.

Ushta Te,
Parviz Varjavand

Ravan - An amazing concept!

May I add that "ravan" is an amazing concept!!!
I have never heard of anything like it in western thought.
Perhaps with the advent of modern physics - and the realisation that time is merely another fourth dimension of existence - ravan can be introduced in a big way, since ravan now can get a far more direct sense of "being" rather than "just" being the pattern and influence left beyond by our bodies in existence as such.
Ravan is simply bodies WITHIN the dimension of time.
But then again, the concept of time has been far more thoroughly approached in Iranian and Indian philosophy than ever in western philosophy, where time was considered a given fact not to be given attention well into the 21st century and the late arrival of time-fascinated philosophers such as Henri Bergson.
Ushta
Alexander

2008/8/30 Parviz Varjavand

Dear Dino,

Your points are very elegantly presented and very correct. I am if full agreement with you.
Now hear my two cents on the Meaning of Ravan.
I take Ravan to be related to words such as Raftan and Raftar. It means Movement or Behavior. In our lives we move in certain directions and the paths we take do matter. They are our Ravan. When we die, our Ravan survives and it is the footprints of what we did when alive. As long as our Ravan is remembered well, we live on and that is what Ravan'ash Shad Bad means, may his/her Ravan be happy. Ravan is not Soul in the classic sense that a ghost-like vapor of us survives after the death of the body; I do not believe in that kind of a soul void of body in Zoroastrianism.

Ushta Te,
Parviz Varjavand


Special Kain wrote:

Dear friends,

Maybe we should let go of such old dichotomies, such as either-meaningful-or-meaningless. What also striked me about Popper's reasoning was his idea to offer a THIRD option: the world is neither meaningful nor meaningless, it is INDIFFERENT towards meaning. But - and that's what Zarathushtra came up with so many centuries ago - the meaning we've created for ourselves DOES affect the world through our words and actions. It's common sense that convictions shape this world. Thus, we are co-creators.
On the other hand and in good Peircean spirit, I also believe that meaning is an open process. There's no end. Things mean what they cause. We can't foresee all effects, nor can we fully understand EVERY SINGLE effect today.
That's why I agree with Alexander that Zarathushtra was an existentialist. But we was also a pragmatist in a Peircean way.

My two cents,
Dino

The vanity and other human traits of Zarathushtra

Dear Parviz

Very good points! And all of this could perfectly well be true. If so, thanks for the honesty of the Gathic authors! Because, are we really the ones to moralize?
After all, we take a stand on whether we accept Zarathushtra's religion or not, we will not fall for any offers to change our faith even if others have done so in the past.
And why not join a religion because of the benefits it brings, at least if we decide to choose religion because of its culture and its loyalty towards its members? Have we not again and again stressed the everyday honesty of Zoroastrians as one of our own selling points? I myslf became INTERESTED in Zoroastrianism because I enjoyed the company of Zoroastrians I met in Holland in the 1980s. Their carefree attitude AND spirituality in combination attracted me immensely.
I think it's great that you point to the human side of Zarathushtra - his ambitions, possibly even his vanity. We need to get rid of the idea that Zarathushtra was a holier-than-thou perfect messianic figure. Far from it!
But no matter how immoral Zarathushtra may have been - it is his message as such, and the culture built on this message, we subscribe to and want to spread to others as faithful Mazdayasni.
The fact that our religion was "grounded" by a fallible human being is just fine with me.

Ushta
Alexander

2008/8/30 Parviz Varjavand

Translated Text:

Whoever among men pleases me, Zarathushtra Spitama with care,
becomes worthy of fame as an earnest person.
Wise God shall grant him life,
and promote his world through good mind.
We shall regard him as a good associate of Your righteousness.

(Gathas: 11-13)

Summary Substance: Zarathushtra blesses the people pleasing him by joining the Fellowship. He/she becomes noted for his/her earnest. Mazda Ahura grants him/her a new life that promotes his/her world and that too through his/her good mind - good thoughts that translate into good words and deeds. He/she becomes a good associate of righteousness, a good ally of what is proper and right. That is the recognition Zarathushtra and Zarathushtrians accord to such a worthy person.

Pondering Points: The Good Religion gives new sight, new life, new recognition - - a new identity.

(from "The Gathas, Our Guide," translated and annotated by Ali A. Jafarey,
Cypress, California, USA, 1989)

Parviz's Pondering Point,

It is all about a Takeover Plot; Zarathustra wants to take over religious power and the benefits that go with it away from the old priesthood. He promises the new converts to his religion more goodies from his divinity than they had from their old one. We do not know that the old order was bad because his new order destroyed the old. It is like Christianity that came and destroyed Mithraism and then all it had to say for Mithraism was ugly words. But from what little survives from the old order of Mithraism, we know that it is not what Christianity tells us that it was.

Parviz

fredagen den 29:e augusti 2008

The pragmatism of Zarathushtra

Dear Dino

I totally agree. Zarathushtra was most definitely a pragmatist. And I much prefer to refer to Zarathushtra as a pragmatist and an existenitalist rather than a relativist.
Zarathushtra viewed the world as a world that constantly opened itself up to observation, to constantly new and bewondering observation too. This is precisely where pragmatism takes off.
So we can find Zarathusha's thinking reverberating in all the great pragmatist thinkers, like Nietzsche and his American counterparts Charles Peirce and William James, for example. And most of all Gilles Deleuze, among the French 20th century philosophers. Plus of course Richard Rorty!

Ushta
Alexander

2008/8/29 Special Kain

Dear friends,

Maybe we should let go of such old dichotomies, such as either-meaningful-or-meaningless. What also striked me about Popper's reasoning was his idea to offer a THIRD option: the world is neither meaningful nor meaningless, it is INDIFFERENT towards meaning. But - and that's what Zarathushtra came up with so many centuries ago - the meaning we've created for ourselves DOES affect the world through our words and actions. It's common sense that convictions shape this world. Thus, we are co-creators.
On the other hand and in good Peircean spirit, I also believe that meaning is an open process. There's no end. Things mean what they cause. We can't foresee all effects, nor can we fully understand EVERY SINGLE effect today.
That's why I agree with Alexander that Zarathushtra was an existentialist. But we was also a pragmatist in a Peircean way.

My two cents,
Dino

Ethics vs Morality - The Subjective Experience

Dear Ron

I believe that we need to make some distinctions here. Because I seriously doubt that any philosopher proper would use the terms "ethics" and "objective" in the same sentence.

Zarathushtra is indeed ethical but he is ethical precisely because ethics is in itself subjective (even a subjective EXPERIENCE to Zarathushtra, which is why I refer to him as an existentialist). Zarathushtra defines that good is good (tautological) but he never defines exactly WHAT is good. He is not moralizing. This is what is brilliant about Zoroastrian ethics: It does not moralize, it understands that VALUES are relative, deeply dependent on the circumstances. This is why we DON'T have commandments!

I understand if Jews, Christians and Muslims are upset about "the dissolution of morality" in contemporary society. But this dissolution has occured precisely because science has shown morality to be unfounded and defunct. This is where ethics comes in: Whereas morality always deals with a Judge-God who gets upset with us if we don't do what the Judge-God wants from time to time, ethics deals with OUR idea of who WE are. Ahura Mazda is not a judge, Ahura Mazda is a living phenomenon IN DIALOGUE with us as co-creators of existence. This is how radical Zarathushtra's religion is!!!

We are the thoughts we have. We are the words we say. And more than anything, we are the actions we take. That is exactly what pure ETHICS is!!! No wonder then that the ultimate anti-moralist ethicist in western thinking, Spinoza, has inspired us so much. Spinoza is the western Zarathushtra. And Sufi philosophy is the actual link between these two formidable thinkers! Ethics is great, but moralism we can do without. As Nietzsche also understood, and consequently used Zarathushtra as his model.

In summary: I don't think we disagree on this issue. But using the correct terms makes it easier for us to direct our anger where it should be directed. We are not for or against the current views in the American debate on values and valuations. We instead stand for a third alternative as Zoroastrians.

Ushta
Alexander

2008/8/29 ztheist


Dear Shahrooz & Friends

The denial of objective values, ethical or otherwise , is rampant in today's world, so it is understandable that many people hold to this belief. What I find appalling is the inference that Zarathushtra did not spouse objective values , specially ethical values.

In fact Zarathushtra defines what is good as what is Asha like and, thus, makes no less than an Aspect of God and the Order of the Cosmos the standard for Objective Ethics!

That is what bothers me about this whole issue. Any one has the right to choose to be an existentialist and define what that means or anything else and define what that means. What no one has the right to do, in my opinion is define what some one else said believed etc, without actually taking into account first hand evidence from the source, when it is plainly stated and taught and disagrees from the would be definer's point of view.

This argument, if given validity, could open the door to all sort of contradictory interpretations, not of inferences or questionable points but, of clearly stated and overwhelmingly well supported doctrinal points.

Ushta te
Ron

On Existentialism - and the problem with the paper from Shahrooz Ash

Dear Shahrooz and friends

From a ZOROASTRIAN point of view, the basic problem with Shahrooz's ambitious text (which I understand can please many American university or college teachers) is that it divides ALL thinking into only two fields: Christian and Atheist!

As ZOROASTRIANS, we need to tell these university doctors that there are OTHER options OUTSIDE of the limited scope of EUROPEAN thinking and history.

Zoroastrianism is precisely such a THIRD option. It is neither Atheist nor Christian. Its idea of "divinity" is radically difrerent from the boring alternatives of The Christian God vs Not Having The Christian God.

The thing is that many of the smartest thinkers of the past 200 years - from Hegel via Nietzsche to Derrida and Deleuze - knew this fact very well and were WELL READ on such matters as Eastern philosophy and even Zoroastrian philosophy (Nietzsche as a professor of PHILOLOGY had read Zarathushtra). Most American university philosophers however are ignorant of this fact.

So the problem with Shahrooz's text is not the authority of Shahrooz's teachers but that Shahrooz's teachers should have taken a bigger interest in SHAHROOZ and the culture and history of ideas that Shahrooz himself comes from.

Nietzsche called his existentialism AFFIRMATIVE nihilism, NOT cynical nihilism (which to Nietzsche was merely a nihilism not properly thought through). There was nothing meaningless, hideous, purposeless or dark about his take on life at all, quite to the contrary. Read Nietzsche himself to find out more!

Ushta
Alexander

2008/8/16 SHAHROOZ ASH


Existentialism

Shahrooz Ash

Overview:
The existentialist views life as meaningless, hideous, purposeless, dark and absurd because the universe is Godless with no hope in sight for man. Existentialists claim that human Existence precedes Essence (essence is what makes things what they are). The universe has no intrinsic essence of its own. So, Existence > Freedom > Essence.

Prior to this thought, since the Middle Ages, humans had the view that God had existed first, then in the second stage God created an essence for its creation, and in the third and final stage God created existence. So, God > Essence > Existence.

Existentialism claims that if God exists, then God did not allow humans to decide the future, and so there goes our freedom of choice. Sartre claims we can create our own future. Generally speaking the existentialist is atheist, and if God does not exist, then God could not have created an essence for man.

Hence, we have absolute freedom to pick our own individual values. This allows us to make claims of subjectivity of essence and value. Therefore, our essence has not been established yet due to any rules; we set our own essence by making our own rules, all due to Atheism.

This gives humans all the freedom in the world to achieve their own essence; this means man is not limited or bound by anything, even in terms of ethical values. Ethical values limit a person's freedom to create his/her unique essence. In fact it means each person is allowed to commit any act; this translates to unlimited freedom.

So, each person decides for itself what it is right and what is wrong. Right and wrong in terms of values are relative/subjective for each individual. There is not even one, collective universal human ethical obligation towards any other person.

Furthermore, all ideas must be individual. We must not follow others in terms of our choices in life. This is a part of what makes life livable, the creation of one's own unique essence. What makes life livable is to live in a way which makes us feel real, because what feels real to a person is the only right thing.

People should be authentic when creating essence. According to Sartre, we must not follow any other person's essence if we are to remain authentic. The authentic person will never fit in with other people. In fact the most famous statement ever made by Sartre was, 'Hell Is Other People,' and this is why we must value our own individual values.

All that others do is to prevent us from what we really want to truly be. Others create hell for us and they do this by imposing their own morality on us. The rights and wrongs of others prevent and restrict our freedom. A person must be free of all things including values and ethics.

Sartre:
Sartre claims we do not choose our desires, and we are not in control of desires which enter the mind. However, despite all this, we do not need to act according to our desires. A person might have a desire in mind and want a desire, but to act according to your desire is a free action. Even if a person puts a gun against your head and demands money from you in a robbery, we still have the choice not to hand over the money. Even though one might get shot, it's a choice. It is still a free action to hand over the money. Anything which is not a reflex is a free action, because there is an alternative. Thus, Sartre thinks that not being in control of desires is not the same as having to act in accordance to our desires.

For Sartre, in order not to be held accountable, all we have to do is to take responsibility. He changes the meaning of the word 'responsible'. In other words you are responsible for everything you do, so you really better have wanted to do what you wanted to do. And taking responsibility is how one can deny accountability for all actions; this means in reality no person is blameworthy. Sartre is responsible for the term 'Take Responsibility', meaning no one is actually accountable. Taking responsibility is all that counts and then everyone should forget about it.

The problem of essence:
We create our own essence, but, the paradox is, we do not want an essence because we lock ourselves into being something. And we do not want that, because this means we have labeled ourselves and are no longer authentic. So we are constantly trying to escape what we just have become a second ago, which means a person can never identify or define himself. The minute we find an essence we need to get away from it, and we constantly recreate our essence.

So we never get anywhere. We never end up achieving anything. It is like going round and round. Sisyphus, in a meaningless effort, kept rolling a rock to the top of the hill. Every time he got really close to the top of the hill, the rock would roll back down. He did this all his life. The minute you think you are close to the finish line you have to go to the back of the line and start over again. Hence, there is no real objective, no real meaning. They protest, because the world is nasty and meaningless, and they do not need to like it.

Kierkegaard:
For Kierkegaard we can always get to God by a leap of faith. We live in an absurd world - so why not believe in the most absurd thing, and that is, to believe in God. If you want to be absurd, then believe in God. To believe in God is one of the most absurd things to do, and it fills the requirement of Existentialism. We can get meaning and purpose by a leap of faith.

Schopenhauer and Nietzsche's idea of Will:
Since Nietzsche gets his idea of the Will from Schopenhauer, it would be important to look at Schopenhauer to further our understanding of the will. Keep in mind that Schopenhauer was not an Existentialist. Schopenhauer's world is divided into Thing-in-itself and Representation. This is the continuation of the Metaphysics of Kant. Kant had the world of Things-in-themselves, plural, but for Schopenhauer it becomes singular, Thing-in-itself.

The other difference is, the world of Phenomena in Kant's Metaphysics gets replaced by Schopenhauer and it becomes the world of Representation. He thinks the world of Representation consists of objects, and objects are in experience, which are phenomena. Outside this is the will which has produced our consciousness.

Representation > Consciousness > Phenomena
We are living on the will, and the will represents our consciousness. The will is outside our experience, the Thing-in-itself turns out to be the will, and, its manifestation in nature. We are little boats on a raging sea. The sea represents the will which is outside of our control and it throws us around. So we must resist this in order to survive.

World as Will > World-in-itself
Schopenhauer claims a lot of suffering exists in this world because of this will. Suffering is bad, and he blames the will for suffering. Everything was not for the best in the universe because of evil, confusion and passion. This is unlike the optimistic view of Leibniz, who thought, "We live in the best of all possible worlds."

The body itself becomes the most manifestation of the will, a direct embodiment of the will-to-live. Desire causes suffering and it is because of the will. The will is willing to spit us out in order to survive. The will is merciless and uses us, and all this causes suffering. Like in Buddhism, Schopenhauer wants to end this by denying the will, which ends desire and therefore reduce suffering.

The denial of will, self and self-interest produce a theory of morality and holiness. Morality is the means by which self-interest is put aside for the sake of others, and Holiness is the means by which all will-to-live will cease to exist. "Morality means, do not contribute to suffering."

Furthermore we must renounce the world. Saints, for example, can deny the world and be completely free of things that make us unhappy. Monasticism brings us holiness. Hence we can escape from bad things in the world by renunciation, and obtain real value by denying the world. By denying the will we deny the world, and the highest reward for this is peace. The person who has reached this level knows something others do not. The complete abolition of the will achieves this.

Schopenhauer believes Art and Beauty (aesthetics) can quiet the will, and this provides us with some peace - because, while the mind is occupied by music, it forgets about suffering. The supreme art is music. So he does emphasize Aesthetic value as the means to deny the will. Art can help us to free ourselves from the will, and this is the only form of freedom. The Apollonian form of art makes one happy and lets one forget about the world.

Nietzsche uses the idea of the will, but the will for Nietzsche is a good thing. If it causes suffering then that is a good thing, as long as it is someone else's. In fact we should enjoy the suffering the will causes if we can. Nietzsche thinks suffering is a part of life, and he does not want to deny it. However, both Schopenhauer and Nietzsche agree that the Apollonian world is a way of fighting the Dionysian world. In Nietzsche the optimism exists only in the superman.

Nietzsche:
For Nietzsche the consequence becomes the predator, and the lust for power. All men want power, and we use our will to obtain power, will to power. The predator does this by killing anyone for any personal reason, this is the real life, mother and child included, a world where right and wrong is subjective/relative, and not objective/absolute.

Justice and compassion is against life and a threat to man's existence. The human world is similar to the jungle. The strong and powerful can eliminate the weak. Anything in terms of action is allowable; even when not a thing is utilized, actions have no recourse. Certainly if power precedes everything else, it would mean ethics cannot limit your freedom in order to gain power.

In Zarathushtra we see the opposite (as demonstrated in Yasna 29). The Cow complains because it is under constant attack by predators. The cow and the soul of the living world ask Ahura-Mazda for a protector, someone to protect them against unwise, unethical and mindless predators. The predators' behavior and action in Yasna 29 is wrong and condemned by the living world. But not in Nietzsche's world. In the book Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche states that Zarathushtra made a huge mistake claiming there is such a thing as ethics.

Nietzsche states Zarathushtra started the battle between Good and Evil, and Nietzsche wants to end it. It is here in this book that Nietzsche kills God. He claims God is dead, and with God's death ethical values are also dead. In Zoroastrianism life is good, so killing life for enjoyment, fun and power is wrong and thus, not ethical.

Ubermensch (Superman):
For Nietzsche we get meaning from will. Systems of value were created by people like Zarathushtra, Moses, Jesus, Socrates, and so on. The way value has always been created is no longer going to work. We must take our will and create our own value, through our will. He calls this person Ubermensch. The Ubermensch does not get his/her individual values from anywhere else and anyone else. They create their own values.

Death of God and the consequence:
Nietzsche, in his book Thus Spoke Zarathustra, claims God is dead. This leads us to Nihilism, which means that the world means nothing and is without meaning, purposeless and therefore absurd. In the same book Nietzsche claims that, since our idea of morality comes from God and God is dead, then right and wrong are dead. So we can do whatever we want.

Eternal Re-Occurrence:
Time being infinite and all things being possible mean, our life might repeat. Whatever you want to do, you'd better be sure you want to do it because you will be doing it over and over for eternity. So create your own self, values and essence. This way, you can face your life and be able to relive it again. Create your own dream and painting, not someone else's. Because if not, then you will regret that you were not yourself and did not live a life of your own desires.

Nietzsche's Argument In Support Of Moral Relativity:

1. What is considered right changes over time; this observation is based on history and anthropology. Over time different cultures have had different rules and values. And why is it that they have changed their values over time? This is also evident with the Jewish-Christian morality of the past 2000 years. This shows that what is right is just the view of people. So, if views change over time, so does what is right.

2. If what is right changes, then we can change it by choice. Once again, Nietzsche relies on anthropology to support his claim. The Jewish-Christian morality of the past 2000 years shows that we have changed right and wrong when we have chosen to do so, arbitrarily. We see this pattern of changing right and wrong in other cultures throughout human history. Every culture has done this, and because of this, we can choose what is right.

3. We can change right by choice: (This follows premise 1 and 2).

4. The natural force of all life is towards power and will to power. Any species has will to power in it. If it's a vine growing, it will start taking over a wall, and animals do the same. All organisms have will to power. This is a biological claim. And, we must not suppress will to power. There is an underlying reason for this. Nietzsche claims humans have made a mistake caring for the poor and the weak. Compassion undermines this natural force. A selective group will compete for resources for better or worse. This is the underlying force.

5. Master morality reflects the natural power, will to power. So the real value is power, ruthlessness and selfishness. Plants are not ruthless but they behave that way, Master morality is natural, like other species. Master morality is a biological observation related to survival.

6. If right changes by choice and natural force is power, and because Master morality reflects power, then we should change what is right to Master morality. We should do what is natural; we should not suppress nature because nature is good for the species. And because Master morality represents nature, this means Master morality is good and not the Slave morality of the Jewish-Christian. We ought to adopt Master morality because we have a moral obligation, and our obligations can be fulfilled this way. What is moral is what is good for the species, and that is Master morality. Nietzsche claims that this eventually leads us to UberMansch (superman).

Counter argument to Nietzsche's argument, if he is a Relativist

Counter to #1, (Absolutist Counter):
We are not even sure if the view of what is right has changed, so never mind right itself. The Hindus do not eat beef. This is because they believe our ancestors live within them, and that eating our ancestors is wrong. It is because of this that we should not eat beef. But no culture disagrees that eating our ancestors is wrong. The real point of contention is whether or not our ancestors in fact live within cows. This requires empirical proof; however, this shows our view has not changed over time as to what is right and wrong.

Counter to #2 (Absolutist Counter):
Even if right changes over time, is it even true that we can change it? Is it when someone stands up and decides to change right? Can I change my mind about what is wrong and right about raping a two-year-old child? It seems that we cannot just change what is right when we want to.

Counter to #4 (Empirical):
Nietzsche's premise #4 requires empirical evidence because it is a biological claim, so it must be proven scientifically.

Counter to #5 (Altruism):
How do we know that selflessness is not the natural way? How is he concluding that what we are doing is not natural? Maybe our survival depends on our selflessness and altruism; there are other species which have selflessness. So this is not a good claim, even on biological evidence in nature. Why is our morality not natural? In fact, maybe morality is a part of human nature and we depend on it for our survival. Maybe our species is different?

Counter to #6
If premise #1 is true, then why should I do what he says? There is no morality on relative grounds, so why should we change to Master morality? He cannot tell me there is no morality and rules, and at the same time ask me to do something on moral grounds. This becomes a logical contradiction. Nietzsche does not want any universal rights in terms of morality. If he does not want moral-rules, then he cannot tell me or any other person what to do because of moral-rules. We have no obligation to bring about the existence of superman, because there are no moral obligations.

Counter argument for Nietzsche's argument if he is an Absolutist.

Counter to #6
If he is not a relativist and he is an absolutist, then he is going to have a hard time convincing us that we have made a mistake about not raping two-year-olds. It is hard to support the fact that, what is good for morality is good for the species. We don't do everything that is good for the species. If raping kids or killing the weak was good for the species, should we do it? What is good for the species is not the foundation for morality. We ought to do what is right for morality and not the species. Morality has a different category than that of species. One category is more scientific with a foundation that is different to the foundation of morality. So, it is hard on absolutist grounds to convince us that we made a mistake about right itself. If right itself does not change, then we have not made a mistake and should not get on board with Nietzsche.

The Argument for the absence of Moral Object:
1. If morality is absolute, there are moral objects that can be observed.
2. The proclamation of God would be moral objects.
3. There are no other conceivable objects.
(1 & 3) gives, therefore: 4. If morality is absolute, God exists.

In the above argument, Sartre and Nietzsche have a common view in terms of God and relativity of ethics. They appear to be Materialist, claiming we have no Souls, and God does not exist. If morality has been God's proclamation and if God does not exist, then we must have a different view towards morality. How we ought to act, politically or socially, in moral terms is relative and the choice is up to us. Thus, thanks to death of God we have relativism. We have no values which already exist because we have no moral objects, and this is what is required. Since there are no moral objects then we must choose our own values.

God did not give us values ahead of time, and if God had given us such values, then it must be observable by moral objects which do not exist. God's morality is the only claim to morality we have. So, we can conclude, if morality is absolute, then there must be God and moral facts to observe. Since there are no moral facts it also means there is no God, thus, morality is not absolute.

Counter to premise # 1.
Logical methods are not claims of psychology. All bachelors are married is the same thing. This is regardless of our existence. The existence of rocks on earth has nothing to do with humans existing on earth. Raping kids for fun is morally wrong. This is not a psychological claim. If everyone on earth thought there is nothing wrong, it still makes it wrong, but we can say, 'What a horrible and evil world this is.'

Just because the majority, or even everybody in the culture, thought it was OK, does not make it OK. Everyone thought the earth was round and that turned out to be wrong. The truth of this fact did not depend on what humans thought. There is a truth in itself, as it stands alone, by itself, regardless of human opinion or existence, it either is right or wrong. Ultimately there is only one truth regarding the matter. So, the beginning point and the absolute fact outside of us and the truth of the fact itself is logical, and absolute, regardless of human observation.

Counter to premise # 2.

1. Morally wrong = df (by definition) prohibited by God

Option one: Option two:

2. God prohibited rape because 4. Rape is wrong just
it is morally wrong. because God prohibited it.
3. God prohibited rape 5. If god said rape is okay
because it is prohibited it would be.
by God.

Option # 1 (on the left). Premise # 3 is false. This is because premise # 3 will lead God to say that he prohibited itself, this seems to be self-contradiction. So if premise #3 is false, then this would mean that premise # 1 is also false, So, morally wrong is not what is prohibited by God in this case.

Option # 2 (on the right). Premise # 5 is also false. Rape is wrong because it feels wrong to our senses and our consciousness. Do we follow God's proclamations or our own sense, regardless of what God said, that rape does not feel right? In either case, because both premise 3 and 5 are false, it makes premise # 1 false also.

Socrates reason is that rape or murder contains the quality of wrong, and one can feel and understand this quality to decide that it is wrong. Because this is an innate quality of rape which tells us it is wrong. Socrates says a horse can pull a cart because the cart has the pulling ability and quality. It is unlike a mountain, which does not have the quality of a cart. Therefore a mountain does not have the pulling quality but a cart does. Furthermore, we can identify the quality which permits the cart to be pulled by the horse. The horse is not pulling the cart. Instead the cart is being pulled by the horse.

So rape, like the cart, has the quality of wrong, and we can detect this, just like detecting the cart's quality. This is not a choice just made up by man. Thus both option 1 and 2 in Socrates' argument suggest we are dealing with a dilemma. This puts a hole in premise #2 of the main argument presented by Sartre. His premise #2 can only be true if morally wrong = bd (by definition) prohibited by God. But because this is not the case, it would have to follow that the conclusion of the argument is also false.

torsdagen den 28:e augusti 2008

The material mind

Dear Mehmet

Of course "mind" is a feedback loop of phenomena over time.
But to understand when a "mind" materialises in our bodies, we need to grasp that the building stones that a "mind" uses are the elements of language. Beyond the words, and beyond our consciousness, there is of course the whole mine field called "the subconscious" (or "the unconscious" as Freud called it), but the subconscious is subconscious precisely because it is not within the reach of language.
I agree totally that this is all MATERIAL. There is no non-material substance anywhere to be found. Not even where Descartes thought he could find it, inside the brain. ;-)
And please note that MIND and CONSCIOUSNESS are both abstractions. We are probably not even discussing the same two things when you and I discuss this. We can not even agree what we mean beyond the idea of mind as being "that which is active within us when we perceive ourselves to be conscious".
But who am I to know what your "perception" is? How do I know that you see "white" when I see "white" in front of me, other than the fact that we seem to agree that we both see something which we by social convention refer to as "white"???
So to not complicate things more than necessary, we will have to agree on "something" when we refer to as mind. And to then ascribe minds to puppies and rocks and God knows what else clearly does not help us clarify the issue one bit. So we will have to tie mind to language until we come up with a better idea.

Ushta
Alexander

2008/8/28 mehmet azizoglu

Dear Alex,

you say "However, consciousness is a product of language, nothing more, nothing less..", are you sure that this is so?. what if language is a product of consciousness? I think that egg-chicken paradox is a great challenge to the science today. Honestly speaking I have read some books about consciousness (Dennett, Searle,Chalmers and Edelman) but can't have a solid idea of what it looks like to be. what is certain in my mind is that consciousness is a product of our brain and has a materialistic root (not what Decsarted claimed to be that it was linked to soul in the brain)

The notion that we acquire mind through talking to ourselves is not satisfying in explaining the formation of mind. I guess there are many other things that play roles

Ushta
Mehmet

----- Original Message ----
From: Alexander Bard
To: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Thursday, August 28, 2008 1:43:25 PM
Subject: [Ushta] M. is for MIND

Dear Parviz

I understand that you would like your puppies to "have minds". We always try to anthropomorphosize our pets. Which is funny in a way, since your puppies do their very best to try to turn you into a dog like them. Only when you behave in a "doglike way" will they pay attention to you. So the attempt to change reality is at least mutual, which is sweet.

However, consciousness is a product of language, nothing more, nothing less. This is why new-born children do not have a consciousness. Sure, puppies and little babies express "wills". But willing something is not the same thing as having consciousness and then in extension having a mind. A river "wills" its way down the mountain slopes towards the ocean. This does not mean that the river has a mind. At least, a human baby is born with the potential for a mind which is what explodes from the moment the baby picks up his or her first miraculous words. It is by talking "to ourselves" that we develop a mind. The memories of these very reflections are the stones we build our minds on.

Ushta
Alexander

M. is for Mind

Dear Parviz

I understand that you would like your puppies to "have minds". We always try to anthropomorphosize our pets. Which is funny in a way, since your puppies do their very best to try to turn you into a dog like them. Only when you behave in a "doglike way" will they pay attention to you. So the attempt to change reality is at least mutual, which is sweet.

However, consciousness is a product of language, nothing more, nothing less. This is why new-born children do not have a consciousness. Sure, puppies and little babies express "wills". But willing something is not the same thing as having consciousness and then in extension having a mind. A river "wills" its way down the mountain slopes towards the ocean. This does not mean that the river has a mind. At least, a human baby is born with the potential for a mind which is what explodes from the moment the baby picks up his or her first miraculous words. It is by talking "to ourselves" that we develop a mind. The memories of these very reflections are the stones we build our minds on.

Ushta
Alexander

2008/8/28 Parviz Varjavand

Dear Martin,

Even if you are not mad at me, act as if you are! Otherwise I will subjugate you to more of my stupid mails.

Your friend always,
Parviz (or Pervez as Musharaf would say it)

M. for MIND

>>> M. that stands for Mind also stands for Mazda.
If to have a mind is only limited to Man, then the only thing in all universe that has Mazda-power is Mankind. So M. would stand for Mazda, Mind, and Man. <<<

I have my serious doubts about the correctness of my above statement. My dog gave birth to ten puppies three months ago and I still have six of them on my hands. (Do you know anybody who might want puppies in Tehran? Please!!??) To find them good homes, I decided to train them a little also. These puppies each have a mind of their own and it is hard for me to say that they are not conscious and have no minds. If these puppies have no consciousness and no mind, then I would venture a guess that at least eighty percent of humanity also has no mind and no consciousness.

Animals use their brain to push away from what might cause them harm and go towards what can cause them benefit. This is exactly what the passengers on every car being driven on the congested highways of this planet are going to be doing all day. They are what termites are to wood, the planet is the wood and they are the termites. So in what way would they be having a capacity above and beyond what the animals have?

Parviz Varjavand


Alexander Bard wrote:

According to Wikipedia:

Mind collectively refers to the aspects of intellect and consciousness manifested as combinations of thought, perception, memory, emotion, will and imagination; mind is the stream of consciousness. It includes all of the brain's conscious processes.

Since animals are NOT conscious, animals do NOT have mind.
While I love animals almost as much as human beings - and consider them sacred in their own right - they do not have mind. This is an important distinction.

Ushta
Alexander/mind worshipper, wherever "mind" appears, it is sacred...

2008/8/27 Parviz Varjavand

M. is for MIND

Our recent discussions on the meaning of Mazda showed us that it is the Ma part that relates linguistically to words such as Mind and Mental. It would be good if we now try and discuss what "The Mind" is and how it functions. Do animals have a Mind?

" THE M. MANIFESTO " should be written.

Mazda and Mazdayasi key phrases will not cut it as we will have a whole group of religious Zoroastrians enter the game and dominate the discussions with their "After-life" preoccupations.

Parviz

The birth date of Zarathushtra - and its importance to religious teleology

Correct!!!
What is important however for the history of religions is to place Zarathushtra - correctly! - before Akhnaten in Egypt (1,300BCE) and Moses (1,000BCE). So regardless of WHAT we believe Ahura Mazda is, we can agree that Zoroastrianism is the original monotheistic religion. Which it is. This makes it less important as to whether Zarathushtra lived 3,500, 3,700 or even more than 4,000 years ago. It is the teleology that should be our main concern. This since the reason why Christian historians tried to place Zarathushtra at around 700BCE (right before Cyrus The Great) was of course to deliberately place Zarathushtra AFTER the Egyptian monotheists and Moses. This should be pointe dout as CLEARLY incorrect and a falsification of history.
Ushta
Alexander

2008/8/27 ztheist
- Dölj citerad text -

Dear Zaneta, Ushta

About 2 years ago, some RussiansArcheologist found a burial site in Kazakstan where they found buried horses and a buried rudimentary chariot They dated it to 2000 BC and beyond so , do not take 1500 BC as a date set in stone.

Ushta Te
Ron

----- Original Message -----
From: Zaneta Garratt
To: Sam Kerr ; ushta@yahoogroups.com ; zoroastrians@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Wednesday, August 27, 2008 1:48 AM
Subject: RE: [zoroastrians] Re: [Ushta] Reply to Arman re The Date and Place of Zaratu...

hi Jehan, Ali Jafarey, Parviz & Dina,and Sam Kerr,
I would like to write what Mary Boyce says on the subject of Zarathustra's origins-in Zoroastrianism,its Antiquity and Constant Vigour-p.33- 35, 44-45- she feels that Zarathustra and his people lived on the Asian Steppes during the Nomadic period before 900-1000B.C.She consulted Russian archeologists and the people who lived there had horses and light chariots and therefore it cannot be before 1500B.C.-horses and chariots are named in the Gathas,often as metaphores. Also the names mentioned in the Gathas, many end with -aspa which means horse- Also there is no class system in the names of these people and not in the Gatha names or society either. The people mostly kept animals and did a little farming also-maybe about 1100 B.C. or even before this the East Iranian people moved South-so she believed that Zarathustra lived on the Central Asian Steepes between 1500 and 1200 B.C.on the Central Asian Steppes before his people migrated South-she feels that the picture of the society in the Gathas is like the society of the people in the second half of the second millenium B.C. North of the Jaxantes River- which is now modern Kazakhstan- they have found horse drawn chariots from the graves, these people were farmers who mostly had animals and they lived in closely packed large houses, Best wishes from Zaneta

To: zoroastrians@yahoogroups.com
From: smcn534@bigpond.com
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2008 13:39:46 +1000
Subject: [zoroastrians] Re: [Ushta] Reply to Arman re The Date and Place of Zaratu...


Hello Jehan, Ali Jafarey, Parviz & Dina,

Your contribution to this rather elusive subject matter makes rational reading. I could not resist coming in. Please bear with me.

According to my humble searches (which are not looked into in details and discussed often) the most telling historical data pointing to the Age of Zarathushtra is around 1,700 to 1,750 BCE : -
Here is a short summary of 2 main reasons why my inquiries lead me to believe in this date. It is, I think, worth looking into.
1) The 'Book of Genesis' (composed posterior to 1,500 BCE to 1, 600 BCE) in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible talks of the Maadaai people [Avestan- the Maa(n)dan people. The (n) is nasal] meaning "Medes" in Greek. In the Old Testament as the name of a son of Japheth. He was the ancestor of the Medes, 'an ancient people related to the Persians. They spoke a different tongue.'
"Philology" - the science of the structure and development of language, has discovered three parent groups of languages and peoples (by the authors of the old Testament: Aryan, Semitic, and Turanian -- Japheth, Shem, and Ham. Family traits are evident in the languages of the different groups as language determines or reflects the way men conceive of things. The Japhetic or the Indo-Europeans have maintained the evident relationships in their particular family of languages.
Remember that when a group of people migrate they (initially try to but) don't always accumulate at the same place.
People in various areas called themselves by the name of the man who was their common ancestor. They also called their land, and often their major city and major river, by his name wherever they settled (Navsari, New York, Newfound land, Nova Scotia.....etc). They intermarried and grew in population (with the general exception being our kind on the Subcontinent, since those who did were ostracized).
Those who settled in Palestine (Philistine of the times) rubbed shoulders with the Hebrews and some intermarried. It was a long time before they became consolidated enough to think of the incorrigible Avestan trait - 'Conquest'. Often they went back 'home' to their Avestan lands and returned with new ideas, arms and fresh concepts of life compared to their ''olde' Avestan ways' of entrepreneurship just as the post-war British migrants in Australia did in the 1950s and 1960s. In Australia it was easy - the British migrants paid only 10 Pound Sterling to travel back and forth (the Australian Government subsidized the remaining). My Secretary was one of them. They were even provided with a place in a 'migrant hostel until they were well settled.
As the Maadaai people gained confidence and studied the flaws in the local Semitic culture and its structure they began to think of 'taking over' like the British India Company did (thru' local intrigue and use of mercenaries and deception + return to Britain and import of arms, warriors and know-how.)

Here is a short genealogy tree which is a vital part of the actual text from my Book 'Cyrus the Great - Celestial Sovereign' (with a few changes)
Maa(n)da (Gk: Media):
Groups of the 'Madai' people have been recorded posterior to 1500 BCE in the 'Book of Genesis'. They have reappeared many times in history. It took a very long time for them to regroup and build up enough strength to capture strategic territory to form an Empire of their own.

The exact chronology of their movements is unclear due to constant invasions for supremacy and change of hands of the 'Gateway'- the Capital city, Hagbatana

After centuries of pitfalls and downsides of his migrating ancestors the conqueror/founder of Maa(n)da (Gk: Media) as an Empire; Dai-Aukku 747 BCE (Gk: Diocese) made Hagbatana (later Parthian & Sassanian -Ekbatana; present City of Hamadan) independent of Assyria. He fought the Battle of Harhar against Sharrukin (Sargon II) in 702 BCE to capture this vital Port. Documents show that it was Dai-Aukku who established the 'Guild of Maghavans in Hagbatana'. They travelled long distances to propagate the religion of Zarathushtra as was done at the time of and after Zarathushtra (in the olde Avestan lands) This fact that this occurred is clearly mentioned in The Avesta. The Maa(n)dan people were thus the first to establish a Zarathushti dynasty and propagate the Faith, its culture and establish a power to reckon with outside their homeland.

Then, again this was followed by years of uncertain documentation

Dai-Aukku was captured in 715 BCE and deported to Asshur (Gk: Assyria) by Sharrukin (Sargon II)

Son Fra-Vartish (Gk: Phraortes) 685-634 BCE died in Battle against Asshur Ban Apal in 634 BCE

Son Kai-Khsharish (Gk: Cyaxeres) 634-584 BCE fought Battle of the Broad Plains, Katpatuka 585 BCE against Allyattes of Saparda which was stopped by a total Eclipse of the Sun, ending in the Treaty of Sardis.

Son Ishtu-Vegu (Gk: Astyages) 584-558 BCE married Mandana (Gk: Mandane) daughter of Allyattes and sister of Croesus of Saparda (Gk: Lydia).

Conquest of Hagbatana and Manda 558 BCE by Cyrus the Great. Ishtu-Vegu died in captivity 553 BCE.

2) The Gathic/Avestan concept of Family name-titles - Horse title - 'aspa' and later, the two-humped Bactrian Camel title 'ushtra'. The latter title came into vogue (as history, later Pahlavi texts and our Avesta shows) around 1,700 BCE. Pourush-aspa, the father of Zarathushtra gave the name title to the prophet as well as to Zarathushtra's two elder brothers thus: - 1. Rata-ushtra 2. Rangha-ushtra & 3. Zarath-ushtra. Immediately, the meaning of 'Zarath' becomes an enigma. The olde referral to the Gathic/Avestan word 'Zarenu' as gold may become not applicable (or does it still remain so).

Sincerely
Sam Kerr

tisdagen den 19:e augusti 2008

Mazda vs Varuna as concepts

Dear Ron, Osred and friends

This seems highly likely.
The pre-Pagan divinities in Scandinavia (another set of Indo-European tribes with a likely common heritage with the Iranians and Indians) were also ABSTRACT but later replaced with the popular anthropomorphic divinities of folk religion. It seems the original divinities of pre-Pagan religion were tied to the forces of nature (the forces being worshipped, which should make sense in a nomadic pre-scientific society). Only with PERMANENT SETTLEMENT did the anthropomorphic divinties take root and become more popular. Including figures like Odin, Zeus, Jupiter and their equivalents in the Asian polytheisms.
In this sense, Mazda is actually a monotheistic concept with roots in pre-Pagan culture, whereas the other monotheisms have their roots in Pagan anthropomorphisized religion, usually it was the Sun-God who was separated and risen to the status of the ONE god (like Mithras in Mithraism, God/The Father in the Abrahamic faiths, Aton in Akhnaten's Egyptian monotheism etc).
While Zarathushtra attributes a "fatherhood" or a "parenthood" to Mazda in The Gathas, this should be seen metaphorically. We have no reason to believe that Mazda would have any anthropomorphic characters in itself (as I prefer to say, while Ron prefers "himself"). Since this was not the religious background which Zarathushra came from and saw himself "reform".

Ushta
Alexander

2008/8/19 zrenovators :

Ushta Osred and All

Asuras and Ahuras were the original aryan gods. They were abstract
incorporeal and invisible. Then there developed nature based gods
called daeva, perhaps imported from Dravidian or Elamite sources,
which were not abstract but rather represented anthropomorphically.

The cult of these grew in popularity and eventually surpassed that of
the Ahura, in India but not in Iran, which supports the theory that
Zarathushtra's doctrine of the ONE Ahura which he says in the Gathas
( Jafarey 's version) that he calls by a new name; found sympathetic
ears among ahuric worshipping Aryans and not so much among daeva
worshiping ones.

It does also give some support to Moulton's theory that
Zarathushtra's teaching might have been instrummental in the
separation of the Aryans.

In any case, it is extremely unlikely that there ever was a Mazda
cult among Aryans prior to Zarathushtra. Not only is there no god in
the polytheistic pantheon named the Wise One , but if Jafarey is
correct, Zarathushtra himself addresses God by a new name and that
new name MUST be Mazda since Ahura was already a well known name for
God.

Moreover while in the polytheistic cult there was a difference in
kind between asuras or ahuras and Divas or Daevas, in the Gathas
Zarathushtra speaks only of daevas and only using the generic term.
Plus he uses the word daeva in a peculiar sense to mean only illusory
or false deities AND their followers. Thus the inference in the
Gathas its clear Zarathushtra considers all gods and entities but
Mazda Ahura illusory deities.

In fact Zarathushtra states (in Jafarey's translation) that all
others but mazda Ahura are 'mental repugnants'. In addition he calls
them "products of an aka manah" or bad mind

Ushta ve
Ronald G Delavega

lördagen den 16:e 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.
Ushta
Alexander

2008/8/16
- 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
monotheist!
M

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

torsdagen den 14:e augusti 2008

Zoroastrianism and The Word Incarnated

The concept of "The Word Incarnated" is based on the belief that form exists before materia.
Basically, God has to first pronounce something for that thing to come into existence.
The concept of Jesus Christ as Logos is basically the belief that God had the idea to himself become incarnated as Jesus Christ even before the world came into existence.
So Adam and Eve and Jesus Christ were all ideas that God came up with at the same time, so to speak.
It is one of the strangest ideas ever and certainly not something I believe in in any way whatsoever. But it is absolutely fundamental to all Christianity.
However, we know now perfectly well that "words" and language began to exist only 150,000 years ago when humans became capable of talking and is a human phenomenon and not really anything else. Written language has existed for merely 7,000 years at most.
And the world is far older than that. About 14 billion years to be precise.
But then again, I'm not a Christian, I'm a Zoroastrian. And we don't have problems like these to deal with. We don't need incarnated "words" and "prophecies". The future is OPEN in our religion. And WE are the co-creators of that future.

Ushta
Alexander

2008/8/14 Zaneta Garratt

Hi Dina, As far as I know it means the same thing-John speaks of Jesus as Logos -the word in Greek in John Ch:1, but you can check out this with Ron if you want, best wishes from Zaneta


To: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
From: DINAMCI@aol.com
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 12:03:09 -0400
Subject: Re: [Ushta] The Word Incarnate

Dear Zaneta,

I understand that in Christian theology, the idea of Christ coming to earth as a man, would reflect the idea of the divine incarnate. But what I do not understand is what Christian theologians mean about the "Word" incarnate.

Wishing us the best,

Dina G. McIntyre


-----Original Message-----
From: Zaneta Garratt
To: ushta@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 12:25 am
Subject: RE: [Ushta] The Word Incarnate


Hi Dina, as far as I know the word incarnate-it means that God, the first part of the Holy Trinity, came down to earth in the form of His Son, Jesus, the second part of the Holy Trinity-the Third part of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit, Jesus had sent down to help His followers when he ascended to Heaven.The Holy Spirit came down as tongues of fire on the day of Pentecost and the desciples could speak in other languages-the gift of tongues, one of the gifts of the holy spirit-the others are gifts of healing, prophesy etc-Saint Patrick when he preached Christianity to the Irish in the 400's compared the Holy Trinity to a shamrock which has 3 leaves joined together yet seperate-the three in one and one in three. I see some similarities to the Holy Spirit and Spenta Mainyu and the concept of the Holy Trinity to Ahura Mazda and the 6 Amesha Spentas. Best wishes from Zaneta

onsdagen den 13:e augusti 2008

Determinism and consciousness

Dear Dino

Again, the problem is that we can NOT talk about determinism or consciousness without first defining what we mean with these abstractions. Sloppily assuming we are talking about the same thing just because we use the same words makes for sloppy philosophy. I seriously doubt that there is such a thing as consciousness to begin with (just as I refuse to speak of unconsciousness unless we speak of people who have simply plassed out or died). Perhaps all we know of is a constant state of subconsciousness where things that SEEM to have become phenomena to us by being associated with words appear to us as "conscious". We already know from psychology that there is no now, the now we seem to experience is always already a thing of the past. I much prefer the Zoroastrian take to just speak of a MIND which can be any way we like, regardless of whatever brain or even body activity we may have. And as for determinism, the world is NOT deterministic in itself, if it was there would be no such thing as Heisenberg's uncertainity principle. But then again, there are several forms of determinism, some of them including the unforeseen (such as Daniel Dennett's take). This is why these issues as so complex. What's important is for us as Zoroastrians, Zarathushtra regarded will to be a force within a feedback loop where each stage affected all the others. Thoughts affect words affects actions which in turn affect a new set of thoughts. And this opens up for an ethics of THE BODY as a unit which I find extremely interesting.
- Dölj citerad text -


Ushta
Alexander

2008/8/13 Special Kain

Dear Alexander,

One more thing I forgot to ask: Where does the consciousness come into play, given the body as a whole having a free will within a certain freedom? There's much talk about conscious and unconscious decisions taking place. And it seems that Mazdayasna is more about wise choices that are grounded in one's learning ability. This IMHO also includes consciously made decisions.

Kind regards,
Dino

--- Special Kain schrieb am Mi, 13.8.2008:

Von: Special Kain
Betreff: AW: [Ushta] Freedom of choice and "brainy determinism"
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Mittwoch, 13. August 2008, 14:12

@ Farida: A very beautiful poem! :-))
@ Alexander: So your point of view on the issue is rather compatibilistic, isn't it? Free will and determinism not being mutually exclusive, but compatible ideas instead. To choose within a given range of possibilities. That's what I consider true, at least. And I also believe that we can expand that range of possibilities and attain more freedom. And maybe Mazdayasna is another way to attain more freedom?

Kind regards,
Dino

Free will and determinism?

Dear Dino

Jan Söderqvist and I are writing on "free will" in our next book "The Body-Machines" which will be released beginning in Swedish from next year.
The problem with these endless discussions is that people do not dfine what they mean with "will" and "Freedom" but rather assume that these abstractions are universally agreed on. However, they are not, most definitely not.
We end up with a world in which THE BODY has will and that this will operates within a certain freedom. So Zoroastrian free will is completely compatible with modern science. In this sense, there is both freedom and will within a mainly but not completely deterministic universe.
However, it is impossible to argue for the existence of a soul separate from the body and for free will at the same time. Which is why Zoroastrian dualists wll find it very hard to argue for free will with say a modern neurobiologist.
But then, I'm not a dualist, so that is not my problem. I always speak of the free will of the body as a whole when I speak of free will in Zoroastrianism. As did Zarathushtra, when he UNIFIED thought with language and action. To Zarathushtra, thoughts, words and actions are activities of ONE UNIFIED body. This is what is sooo important to us as Zoroastrian ethicists.

Ushta
Alexander

2008/8/13 Special Kain

Dear Ushta community,

This topic is highly complicated and no solution has been scientifically confirmed. It is currently quite fashion to say that people lack the capacity to make decisions consciously. There's no free will, thus there's no freedom of choice. But this very freedom of choice is key in Mazdayasna. Some scientists claim that someone acting to his/her own deliberate wanting is a mere illusion. Other scientists have a different point of view. Benjamin Libet's experiments have always been used as a striking example to demonstrate that, while the body already prepared to act in one way or another, the decision to act occurs to us a few seconds later. But Libert was firmly against this misreading of his experiments.

It's a scientific puzzle that hasn't been solved yet. What do you think? Are we merely acting out decisions that were made unconsciously and reduced to a second-hand reaction? Or are we able to choose freely? There's no unconditioned choice whatsoever, but where does consciousness come into play? To Zarathushtra, it seemed obvious that there truly exists freedom of choice. Any feedback? Or should we step aside and discuss other issues, since there's no official solution? I don't think so.

Kind regards, Dino

tisdagen den 12:e augusti 2008

The Word - The Bible vs The Gathas

Dear Osred

The big difference is that The Bible says that we should believe blindly in The Bible.
Or rather, the first chapter of The Gospel of John says that God is "The Word" incarnated.
There is no such text-centered imperative anywhere in The Gathas. The concept of The Word does not even exist (it was rather invented much later by Plato and the Greeks in the concept of "logos").
The Gathic imperative is instead to think critically for ourselves and use our sacred minds to do so. Even to the extent that we are free to question the theories of The Gathas regarding other matters in The Gathas besides this foundation.
This is why we have no tradition of slavishly following "The Word" in Zoroastrianism. It is a very recent and limited phenomenon probably inspired by the centrality of holy scriptures in Islam, Christianity and Bahai.
And many of us are opposed to such text-centrality as principle. As you've probably noticed already.

Ushta
Alexander

2008/8/11 osred90


RE: Bible-thumping

Ideally we should test religious statements out for ourselves.
However what if we don't have the critical abilities - or what if our
cultural environment so blinds us that we can't find the way forward
by ourselves. In that case we have no choice but to look for some
authority outside of ourselves to help us. I think this is one of the
justifications for Protestants to say that the Bible is the literal
word of God. It gives them an anchor - one which can indeed be a lot
of help, even as it can be misused.

The same applies if we make the Gathas the sole authority. It is a
problem if people interpret them to fit their point of view and then
claim their ideas are uniquely sanctioned by Zoroaster.
On the other hand giving the Gathas such importance at least provides
some external reference point for people to measure their own ideas
against.

Osred.

måndagen den 11:e augusti 2008

Celebrating the good mind

Dear Osred

Happiness and suffering are both subjective emotions, not objective facts. There may be objective facts underlying these experiences (say a lottery jackpot underlying an emotion of goodness, or an earthquake underlying an emotion of badness) but the mere fact that one man's fortune is another man's loss proves that objective goodness and evil do not exist, what we are left with are the subjective emotions. Asha and druj are in this sense, scientifically speaking, mental and not cosmic realities.
The things is that these emotions are experienced by YOU, in your mind, as a subject. Not perceived by the outside surrounding world as objective facts. The outside world will only view your emotions as chemical reactions in a brain.
This is where we in Mazdayasna refer to an imperative to SEE the world as good in itself (rather than as an evil place for suffering or a sinful destroyed world which needs to be replaced by another world). It is an imperative directed to us as subjects, to see the world subjectively in this way. The thing is that Zarathushtra was totally preoccupied with the power of the mind (as we should be). He understood that the experience of the mind is what is of interest to us as human beings, and that the capacity to have mind to begin with is absolutely essential to the human experience, and is therefore what should be celebrated in our religion.
I hope this clarifies the issue for you.

Ushta
Alexander

2008/8/11 osred90
- Dölj citerad text -

Alexander,

I'm completely lost with your latest posts!

Surely there is objective good and bad - happiness and suffering.
Happiness represented by 'ushta'.

Arta is 'Rightness' (not Good exactly) - and 'Dreg' is deviation from
Rightness.

When we respect the law of Arta and choose to follow a course which
is Spenta (Life-promoting) then we reach Harverty (Health/Harmony).

In a state of Harverty we feel Ushta (Happiness) - the ultimate good.

Osred.


--- In Ushta@yahoogroups.com, "Alexander Bard" wrote:
>
> I agree with Mehran but I would express this belief differently:
> While there is nothing OBJECTIVELY good or bad but rather just asha
(as
> opposed to that which does not exist), we SUBJECTIVELY construct
what is
> good (asha) and bad (druj) for ourselves. Asha is indeed what is
> constructive and druj that which is harmful for us and the world.
> I believe this is precisely what Mehran means (and this is radically
> different from the concepts of good and evil in the Abrahamic
religions).
> But perhaps this is a better way of describing this Mazdayasna
insight.
> We are concerned here with the INNER truths of existence, with the
Mazda
> within ourselves, with our minds which we celebrate.
> Ushta
> Alexander
>

Dear Ron and Mehran

I believe Zarathushtra's whole point is that the laws of the
universe - which at first appear neutral to us - for him and for us
as Zoroastrians are GOOD simply because we celebrate that which
EXISTS. This is the primary point of being a Mazdayasni, this is at
the core of our faith: The fact that something exists, the fact that
something gives substance to asha (rather than something which does
not exist outside of our mere imagination) adds a quality to it and
this quality is the attribute of asha and should be celebrated. So
consequently Zoroastrians hold the material and immanent world as
sacred.

Just imagine how radically different this worldview is from the
degrading view of the world we find in both eastern and western
thinking, with their aims to reach extinction or wait for another
better world to come. Zarathushtra's ethical imperative is therefore
to live within this world, love this world as much as we can (which
will in turn make us behave well towards the world) and hold it as
sacred. This is not - prinarily - a world of neither suffering nor
sin, this is a world we are compelled to positively interact with.

What Zarathushtra THEN adds is the fact that within this world of
asha, the capacity to reflect on the world af asha has arisen. This
capacity, which we as human beings collectively give substance to, is
the other second element of the Zoroastrian celebration. This is why
Ahura Mazda has both the Ahura and the Mazda component, used
seperately and together. Asha is spread thorughout, our minds also
operate within the realm of asha. But Ahura as that which exists and
Mazda as the wisdom of that which exists does cover all angles quite
nicely, don't you agree? And it also makes Mazdayasna truly unique
among religions as it celebrates both that which exists and the
capacity to reflect and enjoy that which exists.

Ushta
Alexander

And the people who were NOT influenced by Zoroastrianism

2008/8/10 osred90

Yet what should be more amazing is the lack of acknowledgement of
Zoroastrian influence among Christians and Jews and everybody else -
despite the unequivocal agreement that there was this influence from
almost all the scholars who look into the matter.
Even if it sometimes goes too far a bit of Zoroastrian enthusiasm is
needed to counter all the false history that has been concocted.









I basically agree.
But this is why it is also important to stress where Zoroastrianism has NOT been influential although often assumed to have been so. Take for example the much talked about Essenes sects of Judaism around the time of Jesus who have often been assumed to be strongly influenced by Zoroastrianism.
I however believe this influence was no more than the label "Sons Of Light" which the Essenes attached to themselves. Very little else in their ascetic messianistic lifestyle signals any genuine Zoroastrian lifestyle. Rather the opposite. They despised "the civil society" which has always been central to Mazdayasna.
Perhaps Peter Schogol knows more about the Essenes and whether I'm too negative here about their possible attachment to Zoroastrianism?
Because the strange thing is that Jesus was clearly very "Zoroastrian" in his ethical rather than moralizing teachings. The problem of course being that we must admit the opposite of St Paul who later largely shaped the Christian religion where moralism is instead key and center. Christianity should correctly be referred to as Paulinism in my opinion. ;-)
Ushta
Alexander

söndagen den 10:e augusti 2008

Asha and Goodness

Dear Ron and Mehran

I believe Zarathushtra's whole point is that the laws of the universe - which at first appear neutral to us - for him and for us as Zoroastrians are GOOD simply because we celebrate that which EXISTS. This is the primary point of being a Mazdayasni, this is at the core of our faith: The fact that something exists, the fact that something gives substance to asha (rather than something which does not exist outside of our mere imagination) adds a quality to it and this quality is the attribute of asha and should be celebrated. So consequently Zoroastrians hold the material and immanent world as sacred.

Just imagine how radically different this worldview is from the degrading view of the world we find in both eastern and western thinking, with their aims to reach extinction or wait for another better world to come. Zarathushtra's ethical imperative is therefore to live within this world, love this world as much as we can (which will in turn make us behave well towards the world) and hold it as sacred. This is not - prinarily - a world of neither suffering nor sin, this is a world we are compelled to positively interact with.

What Zarathushtra THEN adds is the fact that within this world of asha, the capacity to reflect on the world af asha has arisen. This capacity, which we as human beings collectively give substance to, is the other second element of the Zoroastrian celebration. This is why Ahura Mazda has both the Ahura and the Mazda component, used seperately and together. Asha is spread thorughout, our minds also operate within the realm of asha. But Ahura as that which exists and Mazda as the wisdom of that which exists does cover all angles quite nicely, don't you agree? And it also makes Mazdayasna truly unique among religions as it celebrates both that which exists and the capacity to reflect and enjoy that which exists.

Ushta
Alexander

2008/8/10 Ronald Delavega

Ushta Mobedyar

Although I do agree with many things you say below, Asha, its good! In fact not only it is good, but, its benevolent and loving per Jafarey's translation in where Asha is called loving and per the Ashem Vohu where Asha is defined , among other things, as Vohu.

Furthermore when one eliminates evil/wrong one is said to deliver it unto the arms of Asha. You see Asha has an aspect that is ethically neutral, that is, Asha is the Physical laws of the Cosmos which appear to be neutral. (actually they are good as well since they support Creation and make life possible) But, Asha is also the ethical laws of the Cosmos.. The law of rewards (ashi) is part of Asha, for example, as is the Principle of Choice.

Ushta Te
Ron

lördagen den 9:e augusti 2008

The centrality of Asha

Dear Friends

While Ron and Dina and I may have our disagreements from time to time, I must say I strongly agree with Ron's assessment that Asha takes precedence to everything else in the Mazdayasna faith. Even Ahura Mazda is subordinated to Asha as principle. The laws of the universe are there as facts, primordially, and Ahura Mazda is the uniquely among "divinities" the divinity of the possible rather than the impossible, as Ron correctly points out. It qould be quite understandable if outsiders considered us as worshippers of asha, as worshippers of science etc. That is how strong the pathos for truth is among us. Truth is not only good for being truth, it is also what liberates us and WILL define us, if we so choose.

The consequence of this is precisely why TRUTH is an existentialist experience to us as Mazdayasni. A founding choice and gesture! This is also why Science takes precendence in our everyday experience of the world and why we are more or less allergic to beliefs in superstitions (usually the driving force of other religions). To put Zarathushtra's achievements on this issue correctly is to recognize him as the first rationalist in history. Albeit more a rationalist of Spinoza's vivid kind rather than say Descartes' stodgy kind. This is rationalism with a twist, but what a beautiful and meaningful twist it is!

Ushta
Alexander

2008/8/9 ztheist


Ushta Dina

You said below:

" If I understand them correctly, Dr. J and Ronald do not see Mazda as immanent in the universe in being. They see Him as immanent only through His characteristics. Both see Mazda as a conventional creator. Both see Mazda as a "God" who is separate and apart from His creation, was always perfect, but (inexplicably) created us imperfect, so that we must struggle and suffer to obtain the perfection that He already has and always had. "

Dr Jafarey may speak for himself, however in several points you have, indeed, not understood me correctly.

1. While you have failed to identify what you consider a conventional creator, it seems that you consider myself as believing in some sort of a ex nihilo creation, if that is so, you are wrong I believe that the Gathas probably infer creation by emanation.
2. There is absolutely nothing inexplicable about creating us imperfrct . Indeed the whole creation is imperfect and is designed like all life to mature. Why did MA chose this method? Well, in my considered opinion, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that this was the method chosen because it did not break Asha. Mazda is the God of the possible not of the imposible. Miracles in tis corporeal realm, in the sense of breaking Asha, are impossible because Mazda cannot deny Her/His self and Asha is an integral part of His /Her nature.

Thus, far from being inexplicable, the Perfect , because of His perfection chose to create a creation that would progress to perfection! Because, to make us perfect by his fiat, would break his own nature and purpose which is, partially, made up of the same laws that helped and sustain the creation of this corporeal dimension of existence. In other words, to explain it in very simple terms, Mazda created what was possible to create within the framework of Asha and His/Her nature, ( which can be resumed AS PERSONALIZED MAXIMUM WISDOM) period. That is the explanation of what you find so inexplicable.

3 Mazda did not create us to struggle and suffer, rather, S/He gave us all the tools necessary to choose according to Asha. But in our immaturity and ignorance we must learn how to use them. It is, we who make ourselves struggle and suffer. That is why, IMO of course, we are supposed to achieve and experience an ushta moment, a radiant dawn, an eureka moment if you will, and realize the TRUTH. Which is:We must learn to choose asha like choices and carried them out in asha like deeds or we will indeed suffer the consequences of our own errors.

Until we do this, until we internalize it, realize it and accept as THE truth; we are hopelessly lost in our ignorance, error and selfishness. And, as you can see, mankind is still in that state , precisely because, we have not achieved even a modicum of ushta and are still groping in the dark swayed by manipulators and speculations of our own design as well. Z's message is meant to liberate us from this self inflicted evil kingdom of our wrongful minds , but we have failed to grasp it and spread it; we have made it into a an ethnic religion , or an intellectual exercise instead of realizing it is a living dynamic thing; a process by which and through which we can liberate ourselves

This is in fact the reason why the Message MUST be spread and why is so frustrating that is not being spread as far and as fast as it should.

Ushta te
Ron




----- Original Message -----
From: DINAMCI@aol.com
To: Ushta@yahoogroups.com ; zoroastrians@yahoogroups.com ; zoroastrianfriends@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Friday, August 08, 2008 10:09 AM
Subject: [zoroastrians] Reply to Alexander

Dear Alexander,

At the end of your post below, you refer to Dr. Jafarey, Ronald and me as panentheists.

There is quite a difference between what I see in the Gathas on this issue, and what Dr. J and Ronald do.

If I understand them correctly, Dr. J and Ronald do not see Mazda as immanent in the universe in being. They see Him as immanent only through His characteristics. Both see Mazda as a conventional creator. Both see Mazda as a "God" who is separate and apart from His creation, was always perfect, but (inexplicably) created us imperfect, so that we must struggle and suffer to obtain the perfection that He already has and always had. Neither Dr. J nor Ron have explained why, if it is such a good thing for us to suffer and struggle towards perfection, why "God" is exempt from this good process? If it is good for us, why not for "God"? And if He is a conventional creator, and if it was good for Him to always be all perfect, why did He create us imperfect? Why didn't He create us as all perfect from the beginning? And is perfection really worth anything if it was not earned? And is "God's" perfection really all that great if it was never possible for Him to be any other way?

I respect respect the right of Ronald and Dr. J to think as they see fit, but it is not right for you to ascribe their views to me. Their views on this issue are not wh at I see in the Gathas. Nor are their views (on this issue) my views. In the Gathas, and some later texts, I see a "God" who is immanent in the universe in being (not just in characteristics). And one who attained "His" perfection the way we have to as well, choice by choice, experience by experience.

But based on your definitions, I am not a pantheist as you define that term, because I do not think that existence (whatever that may be) is limited to the physical universe.

I do like and agree with your approach of tolerance for a diversity of views, because on so many of these issues, Zarathushtra does not express himself explicitly, but through inferences and the metaphor of poetry (which is what the Gathas are), so that reasonable minds may differ as to what inferences should be drawn, or what certain metaphors mean (or if they are metaphors at all).

One of the difficulties is that we all (me included) tend to think in compartmentalized ways -- a function of using language, a given word becomes a compartment -- and sometimes we miss that these compartments (word concepts) are interconnected in kaleidoscopic ways.

Wishing us the best,

Dina G. McIntyre.


-----Original Message-----
From: Alexander Bard
To: ztheist
Cc: Ushta@yahoogroups.com; zoroastrians@yahoogroups.com; Zoroastrian Friends
Sent: Thu, 7 Aug 2008=2 012:05 pm
Subject: [zoroastrians] Pantheism vs Panentheism (was: A question of making somone an outcast)

Dear Friends

I believe what Ron is describing in such detail is what is called PANENTHEISM.
Parviz Varjavand and I instead propose PANTHEISM.
Both beliefs have existed in parallel within Zoroastrianism for centuries and I believe we have all adopted an acceptance that our religion of tolerance can include both beliefs.
For example, Dina McIntyre has come out as a Panentheist and Arthur Pearlstein and several Parsi mobeds in Mumbai and Pune have come out as Pantheists.
I will always listen to the arguments of the Panentheists but have so far seen no reason for me to accept Panentheism, neither in my own beliefs nor as if there was any Panentheism evident in The Gathas.
We may even have to accept that Zarathushra might not have cared less and considered such distinctions meaningless or unimportant. I frankly don't think the difference really affects the everyday lives we live and which Zarathushtra chose to focus on in his teachings and poems. So we should be able to live with both beliefs in parallel for many more centuries to come. I guess we are just going to have to leave it at that and friendly agree to disagree. Our religion is all the richer for it.
Please let me make one clarification/correction though: Pantheism does not imply that God is material (if we can even speak of God, I prefer to speak of Mazda). Instead Pantheism implies that God and The World are one and the same thing and that this one thing is then ONE substance. So if The World ultimately turns out to be spiritual rather than material (let's see where physics will take us next), than so is Mazda. The important thing in Pantheism is instead that God and World are one and the same substance, regardless of whether thos substance is material or spiritual or eventually needs some other label.
Other Pantheist belief systems are those found in Zen and Chan Buddhism (which are both offshoots of Zoroastrianism, introduced to Japan and China by Persian traders and philosophers), Brahmanism in India (the philosophical aspect of Hinduism), most schools of Sufism, large parts of Shia Islam, and in Spinoza's philosophy in the west (which had Sufi orgin, while Sufism of course has Zoroastrian origin).
What makes Mazdayasna Pantheism unique is the division between Ahura and Mazda, as Existence as divine and sacred in itself (Ahura) and the mind of this existence as the truly divine (Mazda). This explains why Zarathushyra ararely uses the terms Ahura and Mazda together. He stresses different attributes of the one substance when he speaks (God or The World is one substance with an infini te amount of attributes).
So let's emphasize that the Pantheist school of Zoroastrianism is not just any Pantheism.
I'm also convinced that Zoroastrian Panentheism has many unique qualities compared to say Christian, Judaist or Islamic dualism. But I prefer to leave it to well educated Zoroastrian Pantentheists, such as Jafarey, McIntyre and Delavega to explore these possibilities. But it's all very interesting to listen to and learn from.

Ushta
Alexander

2008/8/7 ztheist

Ushta Mobedyar

I ha e warned you about PV before and you did not listen But forgetting about PV , very easy for me,. let me just say that we have finally come to 100 % agreement when you say below :

"Sohrevardi's statement does not mean that God is material, as you have explained in your AleParMism or PAlMism(=new cult of Alexander and Parviz or Parviz and Alexsander version of Mazdayasni). Sohrevardi does explain that world is a part of Spiritual unique God, the thing that is taught in gAthA,=2 0not directly but indirectly."

Not only are you right about the cultic nature of the so called Mazdayasna that POV talks about but does not really define it, but you have said precisely what I have said in regards to God. Creation is part of God , this of course means :
1 God is greater than creation ,
2. God is not creation neither is creation God .
3 Creation is part of God and God is beyond it as well

This is what Sohrevardi and Zarathushtra said , at least that is what it is inferred in the Gathas and taught directly by Sohrevardi.

So, I believe, we have come to happy harmony as far as I am concerned.

Ushta Te
Ron