I believe we have to credit PERSIAN thought with the origin of both monism and dualism.
My point is that one does not make sense without the other. They share origin as the very definition of one includes the other as its dialectical opposite (there is no point in talking about men unless you also have women in mind, etc).
In Greek thought, Plato was the great dualist and Heraclitus was the great monist. Both were clearly inspired by Persian philosophy (for good or bad, Greece was a small country and Persia its neighboring empire at the time).
Whether Zarathushtra is a monist or a dualist is something we can discuss forever, regardless of which he was clearly a rather sophisticated sort. So Zoroastrian culture has always included both interpretations and seems all the richer for it. It is after all more of an intellectual exercise debating the issue and not really an important division. out ethics (rather than our moralism) and our beliefs in a conscious or non-conscious or even non-existant after-life is not dependent on the monist/dualist discussions.
So Plato may have learned from the Persians, or rather, that is quite likely (even Zoroastrianism's total opposite Manicheism has Persian origin) even though his heriarchization is un-Zoroastrian. Ideas are not superior to physical existence, regardless of whether they are of the same substance or not, they are of equal value. Mazda and Ahura are of the same value, only together do they have value to begin with.
Very well put!!!
I'm sorry I can't comment on the Zarathushtra-Plato connection. I
don't know if there was any. But I don't think that we should stress
any dualism between heaven and earth, because Asha applies to all
which is. So there's no major difference between any worlds.
--- In Ushta@yahoogroups.com, "ztheist"
> Ushta Dino
> No I am not , but if there is a mental dimension or plan , ... maybe
> they could. I believe Plato was highly influenced by Zarathushtrian
> thought, but that he adapted z thought to other beliefs that have
> nothing to do with Z.
> In general , while I may agree that Z treats abstract ideas as persons
> or personalities, which in turn have led some to a greater reality
> made up of live ideas, I think that what Z is doing is something else.
> First he teaches by a unique method, inference. He infers, hints and
> suggests the same things from totally different angles , like a spider
> weaving a web. In this case, he weaves songs that make up the patterns
> of his doctrine.
> So he wants us to think of these abstractions as being alive but alive
> in the sense that they are Objective and part of the Supreme ( ahura)
> Wisdom (mazda) That is one of the things I believe he is saying.
> Another is that he uses these Essences, Aspects and attributes , to
> both show us a the very wide scope of MA's nature plus the immensity
> of His complexity. In other words he is inferring that MA is so
> immensely complex that we can only hope to understand Him/Her through
> understanding His Aspects and Attributes
> And again from a different vantage point he is telling us that these
> aspects make up , not the full divinity like Dina suggests, since MA's
> power is never said to given or made accesible to us , BUT his
> ethical nature and its attributes. And, in a less subtle sense, that
> in order to share this ethical nature with our divine 'soul mate'
> (Urvatho) we must choose His/Her Attributes and Essences, which Z
> calls the Fundamental Principles of Life, (latter writers call these
> the now famous Amesha Spenta) by and for ourselves and leave by and
> through them harmonizing , through them , our life choices with Asha
> I am a theist unlike many hamdins here, so I would agree, with Helen
> and Dina, let alone with Zaneta, on the very real possibility of life
> continuing after what we call death. And like Dina I don't think this
> is preaching Xianity. In fact it does not teach Xianity anymore that
> believing in Monistic Atheism teaches Buddhism , Hinduism or Taoism,
> for example.
> If we are to accept that there is a possibility that Z thought can be
> interpreted as both Monistic Atheism and Panentheistic, or even as,
> Dualistic Theism . Then we must respect those that disagree with one
> or the of these interpretations.
> Moreover, I do not believe that Helen has been spreading Xian
> teachings. (obviously her like all Westerners, even atheists, and
> even including me, have been influence by Xianity but, let us remember
> and acknowledge that Buddhists, Hindus and Taoists have been influence
> by a Monist paradigm as well) Again, let's stay away from what
> separates us. We have much common ground and indeed more in common
> than not.
> The day you, Helen, I, Alex, or whomever, teaches 'another' religion
> or philosophy from under the covers of Ziism; that would be the day to
> oppose it. But not before and, in her case, I fail to see how Helen is
> teaching Xianity, by just expressing her views on the so called 'after
> life'. Tolerance my dear friends, tolerance.
> Ushta te