I agree with you 100%.
But Dino was testing the hypothesis that Zoroastrian ethics would also include a responsibility for the outcomes of our actions. I disagreed with this hypothesis and so do you.
Furthermore, I believe that it is precisely because Zarathushtra connects thoughts, words and actions in a feedback loop, each part relating to the other two - the fundament of Zoroastrian ethics - that he also excludes the outcomes of our actions as part of our self-identity (within which ethics belongs).
It is therefore the intentions that we identify with. I am that within me which does what I desire to do, rather than I am that within me which is causing everything that happens to me to happen.
Desire (or even drive) is what is ethical, occurance is not.
In the world of ethics - as Dino correctly pointed out - this is called soft deontology.
- Dölj citerad text -
I agree that Zarathushtra does not say that we are responsible for the outcomes of our choices, where such outcomes are beyond our control, or caused by others. I do not think any one would disagree with that.
Essentially Zarathushtra's teaching is one of individual responsibility for our own choices. So far as I am aware, he does not explicitly get into intent vs. outcome, as articulated by you.
In the law there is the concept that a person is responsible for damages that are proximately caused by his negligence, where he knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known, that his action would result in such consequences. In the law, there is no concept of responsibility for outcomes caused by other factors. Zarathushtra does not use the vocabulary of American civil law, but I think his ideas are consistent with them in this regard.
Wishing us the best,
Dina G. McIntyre.
From: Alexander Bard
Sent: Wed, 22 Oct 2008 9:14 pm
Subject: [Ushta] Identity and responsibility
Yes, we are reponsible for that part of what happens to us which comes back to us as a direct result of our own actions. We are even obliged to identify with those outcomes of our actions.
But far from everything that happens to us is directly caused by our choices. And there is no indication anywhere in The Gathas that Zarathushtra holds us responsible for that which happens to us which is outside of our control. This is the major difference between an ethics of intentions and an ethics of pure effects. The whole concept of ethics based on intentions is what Zarathushtra launched historically, which was Nietzsche's point when choosing Zarathushtra as his main character (as he declared later in "Ecce Homo"). This is also what Jesus mainly preached, although St Paul later reintroduced moralism from Judaism into Christianity where it has since remained a central dogma. Not so within Zoroastrianism, however.
Dear Dino and Alexander,
I see Zarathushtra's thought a bit differently from Alexander in this respect (although it is possible that I have misunderstood Alexander).
As I understand it, we are indeed responsible for our choices in thought, word and action. And this has nothing to do with a judgmental "God". Zarathushtra teaches that everything we do comes back to us -- that we reap what we sow, the good and the bad -- but this is not done for punishment. It is done for enlightenment, as part of an educational process. Part of an evolutionary process, whereby our understanding, compassion, etc. are increased. One of the unique aspects of Zarathushtra's teachings (in my view) is that his solution for the defeat of evil (or destructiveness, as Alexander prefers) is not punishment, but changing minds and preferences, freely, from within, based on our choices, and on earned and unearned experiences.
Wishing us the best,
Dina G. McIntyre.
From: Special Kain
Sent: Thu, 16 Oct 2008 12:33 pm
Subject: AW: [Ushta] Identity and responsibility
This is a very important note, indeed, and absolutely not minor at all!
We become our decisions, our thoughts, words and deeds.
So is there no responsibility, whatsoever? Why does the concept of responsibility always rely on a judgmental god? I'm sure that we're partly responsible for the things we happen to experience, because we could've made a different choice before, whether most events are out of our hands or not.
--- Alexander Bard
Von: Alexander Bard
Betreff: [Ushta] Identity and responsibility
Datum: Donnerstag, 16. Oktober 2008, 18:56
A minor but perhaps important note here:
You will not really find any support for the idea that we are responsible for the outcome of our decisions in Mazdayasna. We ARE our decisions, we identify with our decisions. But that is not the same as saying that we are RESPONSIBLE for our decisions. First, because such a concept reintroduces an Abrahamic judgmental god through the backdoor - if we are responsible for something we also need somebody to be responsible before - and there is no such judgmental divinity in our faith. Second, existence is CONTINGENT, lots of things happen and interfer with the outcomes of our choices that are outside of our control. Zarathushtra constantly returned to this theme, that existence is contingent rather than a set of necessities. So I would be careful and not use the term responsibility here. Identification with our choices is strong enough and coherent with Zarathushtra's teachings.
2008/10/16 Special Kain
I partly agree!
We punish ourselves through bad thoughts, bad words and bad deeds. But I prefer to say that we're responsible for the outcome of our decisions. We are responsible for our own good and evil, for heavenly and hellish experiences. "Punishment" is a nasty word that is important to people with a Manichaean background or who masochistically enjoy to suffer from a guilty conscience. And that's not my cup of tea.
Please read the other members' postings CAREFULLY: I haven't written about a physical heaven and a physical hell as physical places in this world. I described those two places in psychological terms as two different states of mind. Neither heaven nor hell exist.
--- Ronald Tell
Von: Ronald Tell
Betreff: Re: AW: [Ushta] We the Mazdeans
An: Ushta@yahoogroups. com
Datum: Donnerstag, 16. Oktober 2008, 17:15
in accordance to the gatha there is no physical place like heaven and hell.this is my opinion and maybe this is wrong, but zartosht nevers told us about a physical punish place like a hell.
there is no punishment like in islam or christianity. we punish ourselves in this life, in frotn of bad actions we do.
----- Original Message ----
From: Special Kain
To: Ushta@yahoogroups. com
Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2008 12:09:48 PM
Subject: AW: [Ushta] We the Mazdeans
As far as I know Zarathushtra was aware that people do not learn through punishment and reward. That's why their stay in hell is only temporary. If he knew that people don't learn through punishment and reward, why should he stress it? Heaven and hell are not astral theme parks beyond the physical world. They are two different states of mind, caused by the outcome of our thoughts, words and deeds. Our mindsets shape the experiences we're making. And the experiences we're making will always hunt us down. There's no sacred justice beyond the petty games we're playing.
Frankly, I don't see why there should exist such places like heaven and hell, when all people are born equal and are granted the gift of freedom of choice. We may choose as we wish and account for the long string of experiences and events that this process entails.
Why should I not make mistakes? Being wrong also incites a learning process. Why should I not want to learn anything more about this beautiful world?