Very well said. I agree with you on just about everything you say below.
I would just be a bit careful to refer to The Gathas as a text of teleology or eschatology.
Sure, if we read The Gathas with our post-Abrahamic and post-progessivist glasses we would easily be tempted to think of The Gathas asa teleological and partly also as an eschatological text.
But the emphasis on our free will and the ethics originating from our free will contradicts that history should be determined in any strong sense. Which is why (and you don't have to agree with me here) see the eschatology as poetic and perhaps possible rather than determinated and definite.
So I would say that there is a weak teleology at play and a weak determinism if anything in Zoroastrianism, tied to the concept of asha (which does not mean "truth" as in "scientific truth" but rather "truth beyond truth" or "noumenal truth", "how things really work beyond our knowledge of things"). This leaving the perfect room for the ethical identity of BEING the Mazdayasni who wants to do good, who wants to co-create the future world and identify with this world as such.
- Dölj citerad text -
Dear Alex & Dino, Ushta!
In this field, the field of historical events and change, we are all
arguing from insufficient verifiable knowledge, we lack certainty and
such is the nature of the beast, because, we are dealing in areas that
cannot be reproduced either in toto or, in some ways, in particular.
Instead of speaking of truth and certainty we ought to be speaking of
validity, possibility, likelihood, probability.
However, I have 2 things to say. Change based on free will can be
used for denying the free will of others and that change, IMO, cannot
be termed as good as it is at odds with itself (I am not talking of
abstract change caused by physical laws)that is if we accept the idea,
( which I do) that Alex hints at, of linking free will to change as
one of its agents.
The other thing I want to state is that, IF, we are discussing the
Gathas and what they say (regardless of whether it is , or we think it
is, ultimately true or not) then there is no question that there is
teleology and, perhaps, escathology as well, in the Gathas. I mean
there is just too many passages that explicitly support this.
IMO, the fact that change may subjectively seem purposeless to us does
not, necessarily, mean that there is not a general and objective
purpose at work nevertheless. Bear with me for a second. If we but
realize, that there are different fields of change ... I mean the fact
that some day the star we call the Sun will become a red giant , is
change, yet, it seems to be programmed as one of the possible outcomes
of a star's existence. Programmed, in the sense that we are observing
many stars that have undergone a set number of changes that are
identical to observations of change in other stars, that is.
Wow! Is this then determinism? No its what is possible and is within
Asha! That is Asha sets the possible variations of change. It is the
framework within change occurs! Furthermore outside the physical laws
Z posits ethical principles : The Fundamental Principles of Life or,
as Jafarey calls them, the Primal Principles of Life. These were later
reduced and joined together into what the latter religion calls Amesha
Spentas , and are Principles and Goals but also essences and/or
Attributes of MA.
In other words, since change can only occur within Asha and since
through the application, the rule if you will, of these ethical
Fundamental Principles of Life, ethical change (again according to Z)
can be directed , how can we then rule out a directed good outcome,
eventually, just because the means of achieving it may seen to
indirect, unrelated and subjective to us?
The thing is, though, that this ethical change depends on our informed
and free choices. If this change is not forthcoming or its not
forthcoming with due diligence, we may find that, as a species, we
might just run out of time. Because one thing we know, (Again,
according to Z)) this reality is unstable and finite (In the sense
that it lacks a Ameretat)
Thus, it all comes back on us. Its WE that have to make the choices We
have been giving the 'tools' to achieve MA likeness, we can't blame MA
if we are just too ignorant , too selfish or too lazy to do what is
--- In Ushta@yahoogroups.com, Alexander Bard
> Dear Dino
> I completely agree with you, and on both accounts.
> I would say that strong determinism (which teleology and eschatology
> require) is incompatible with any notions of freedom of choice.
> a Judeo-Christian-Islamic idea which I find no basis for in
> Zarathushtra of course presents many ethical IDEALS in The Gathas
> recommends that we follow, but he most of all insists on our ultimate
> freedom (and our identity as free entities and co-creators of
> the absolute essence of his non-moralizing ethics.
> We need to understand the difference here between dogma and poetry.
> the grand overall picture.
> 2009/2/26 special_kain
> > Dear friends,
> > Maybe Zarathushtra believed in the perfection of the world at the end
> > of time, maybe he didn't. But let's see if teleology and eschatology
> > really make any sense in the light of modern science.
> > Teleology states that everything that has happened so far and
> > everything that is currently going on is directed at one final result.
> > Everything matters, everything has a purpose that is causally related
> > to the perfection of the world at the end of time. Just think of
> > something that is continually getting better. This is similar to
> > eschatology, which is a little more religious in nature and can be
> > found in Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, the 17th century Enlightement
> > movement and even transhumanism. There's a linear progress towards a
> > goal set by God, nature, people's inner needs etc. So paradise is not
> > only a possibility, it's the future that we're heading into. Now some
> > of us think that this is also part of Zarathushtra's message, others
> > don't. I'm one of those who disagree in general with such
> > eschatological views, and I'd like to explain why.
> > Firstly, evolution is a non-directed process. There's coincidence
> > (variation and mutation) and necessity (selection), but there's no
> > goal, no purpose, no planning involved. Secondly, societies evolve
> > discontinuously. We never know in what kind of society our children
> > will be living in. We cannot anticipate the future of our society, we
> > can merely guess and discuss how plausible certain trends and
> > countertrends are. In this sense the world is creatively open. All we
> > have is a tangle of non-directed and interrelated changes and events.
> > It's a limitlessly creative process with no clear beginning and no
> > clear end. Any social theory that is saying otherwise has been
> > falsified in the past 20 years. So it seems that there are no
> > metaphysically predetermined or desired final events. All we have is
> > change, which is good in itself, because we're obliged to enjoy and
> > worship existence as such.
> > Any comments?
> > Ushta,
> > Dino // slowly waking up