Here is the danger in reading somethig literally that is meant metaphorically:
The idea of PROGRESSIVISM, that history progresses from one plane to another plane of ever-increasing excellence, belongs in 19th century romanticist Germany (Hegel, Marx etc) but has nothing to do with Zarathushtra in Iran 3,700 years ago.
Zoroastrianism is not progressivist. Such ideas were completely unheard of at the time of The Gathas and for another 3,500 years.
"Haurvatat" should probably be left as it is and not translated. When translated to "perfection" we miss the point of the word. Zarathushtra was clearly not a Platonist 1,200 years before Plato. "Haurvatat" is merely to live and exist in accordance with asha. It is a state we can achieve in the hear and now, as Zarathushtra claims to have done himself. The more haurvatat there is, the more civilized we are. That's all. It's consequently an ethical imperative and not an historicist claim.
>>But the question is whether we really want a religion that encompasses all aspects of human life?<<
I can see if one means alot of rules and dogma, but I can't see how having a faith in a religion wouldn't end up encompassing all aspects of one's life.
>>What we are left with to solve as Mazdayasni is how our ethics is constituted and our ethics is philosophical: Live life to the fullest, enjoy existence in all its variety, cherish the fact that there is something rather than nothing, and identify yourself with your thoughts, words and actions,thereby making yourself responsible for how exciting (or dull) you are!<<
It seems to me that the Gathas are asking alittle more than that. They seem to be asking to improve the world and to help in making it progress towards perfection.
--- In Ushta@yahoogroups.com, Alexander Bard
> Dear Parviz
> Very good points!!!
> But the question is whether we really want a religion that encompasses all
> aspects of human life? Perhaps the best we can get is a religion which
> provides an ethical framework for us and then stays out of the way of our
> cultural undertakings. I'm not so sure I want my religion to be present when
> I go to the theater or the circus or the opera or to an art exhibition.
> Rather my religion should be what helps me HANDLE life in all its variety
> when it has been exposed to me (something art does not do, art only tells us
> how things are but not how to handle them). This is why I have always
> promoted Mazdayasna as The Philosophical Religion. Not the religion of art
> (please keep those two things apart) but the religion of philosophy and
> ethics. And Zoroastrians are not dull, you are the perfect example of a
> not-dull Mazdayasni yourself!
> Having said this, primal principles mean very little to me unless they are
> specified. Something I believe science does better than religion. What we
> are left with to solve as Mazdayasni is how our ethics is constituted and
> our ethics is philosophical: Live life to the fullest, enjoy existence in
> all its variety, cherish the fact that there is something rather than
> nothing, and identify yourself with your thoughts, words and actions,
> thereby making yourself responsible for how exciting (or dull) you are!