lördagen den 28:e februari 2009

Change vs. final events of history (part 2)

Dear Ron

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.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/2/27 ztheist
- 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
needed.

Ushta te
Ron


--- In Ushta@yahoogroups.com, Alexander Bard wrote:
>
> 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.
Teleology is
> a Judeo-Christian-Islamic idea which I find no basis for in
Zoroastrianism.
> Zarathushtra of course presents many ethical IDEALS in The Gathas
which he
> recommends that we follow, but he most of all insists on our ultimate
> freedom (and our identity as free entities and co-creators of
existence) as
> the absolute essence of his non-moralizing ethics.
> We need to understand the difference here between dogma and poetry.
And see
> the grand overall picture.
>
> Ushta
> Alexander
>
> 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

fredagen den 27:e februari 2009

The depth of play - according to Zarathushtra and Nietzsche

I absolutely agree.
The Avesta arrived to Germany in the 1850s and Nietzsche was actually a professor of philology and not of philosophy. So he knew perfectly well WHY he chose Zarathushtra was his character Zarathustra, as he also later confessed in his book "Ecce Homo". Zarathushtra was the inventor of ethics, according to Zarathushtra. There is nothing deeper than "play" according to both Zarathushtra and Nietzsche.
Ushta
Alexander

2009/2/26 special_kain

If we see the universe and all of existence as a tangle of such
non-directed and interrelated, we can develop a playful child's
attitude - the child that Nietzsche described as the third stage
(after the camel and the lion) in "Also sprach Zarathustra". And since
life is an open-end process, I like to think of Zoroastrianism as the
religion of creative openness. Creating stimulating environments for
like-minded people is far better than accepting things as they are. So
I say that DEFEATISM is the opposite to Zoroastrianism.

torsdagen den 26:e februari 2009

Change vs. final events of history

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. Teleology is a Judeo-Christian-Islamic idea which I find no basis for in Zoroastrianism. Zarathushtra of course presents many ethical IDEALS in The Gathas which he recommends that we follow, but he most of all insists on our ultimate freedom (and our identity as free entities and co-creators of existence) as the absolute essence of his non-moralizing ethics.
We need to understand the difference here between dogma and poetry. And see the grand overall picture.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/2/26 special_kain
- Dölj citerad text -

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

onsdagen den 25:e februari 2009

Mind vs Wisdom (What is Mazda?)

Dear Dina

I must offer friendly but immediate disagreement.
It is true that Mind can be used for both good and bad.
But what we mean with the concept of Mazdayasna is that THE VERY EXISTENCE of Mind in itself is what is worth celebrating.
It is the existence of mind which is sacred to us, not what these minds produce. And there is an enormous difference between the capacity of something and the outcome of something.
So it is indeed MIND we mean with Mazda and not wisdom even though wisdom is of course preferrable to nonsense.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/2/24

Dear Maneck,
So far as Zarathushtra's thought is concerned (as best I can determine it from the Gathas), I do not think either 'mind' or 'intelligent mind' is an adequate description of his notion of "god" because both mind and intelligence can be either good or wrongful.

torsdagen den 12:e februari 2009

Sraosha Part 2

I totally agree.
Please note that the second of the three parts in Zarathushtra's formula concerns precisely this issue: Language. We think what we SPEAK what we act.
In other words: The language, the message, the communication, is what unites thoughts with actions, what binds our ethical identity together. So what we speak is or should be in unison with our thoughts and actions as they together form our identity. Communication is not only communication, communication is also that which ties thoughts with actions and thereby MANIFEST the divine in us.
Which is what I would refer to as "the presence of the divine in our lives as a flow". This is what I read into sraosha.
Ushta
Alexander

2009/2/12 ztheist

Ushta Alex

Yes it is something like the presence of AM or perhaps of His mind, I
agree. I think that what is basically saying though is that you get
like a communication and that it has to do with the message , not
necessarily the Gathas alone I believe it lso includes the
message/evidence in nature for, at least, Asha and manah standing
behind the reality of what we experience. Its a difficult concept to
grasp, but a very interesting one.

Ushta te
Ron

onsdagen den 11:e februari 2009

Sraosha (or seraosha)

Dear Ron

Very good question!!!
First of all, Zarathushtra certainly did not mean to personify sraosha, as we would both agree on, that is a much later habit from within folk Zoroastrianism. Rather sraosha seems to be the state of "rightness" when thoughts, words and actions are in harmony with each other and therefore a presence of the divine can be experienced. As such, sraosha is that which unfies us with Ahura Mazda, or if we prefer, that state when we experience our connection with Ahura Mazda, as a "presence" of the divine. I just don't think we can find one word for sraosha in any western language, since the concept itself is alien to western thought.
According to Zarathushtra, good thoughts, good words, good actions, constitute a feedback loop. I believe that is what sraosha is all about. It is when the loop prolongs itself so that the loop itself begins to guide us right. And our emotions etc then go along with the flow of the loop så that staying within the loop becomes the natural, the easy thing to do.
What do you think?

Ushta
Alexander

2009/2/11 ztheist


Ushta ALEX

What is seraosha to you then? I mean it certainly is not obedience ,
with all due respect to Insler, Dina, et al. It seems to be related to
the Gathic message, the Manthra, and Jafarey translates it as the
Divine Voice, which might be going too far. It seems to be something
like inspiration or contemplation of the Gathic message that leads to
inspiration, but what is you opinion? It does have an inference of
communication hinting some sort of feeling of the presence of AM in
the Gathic message but this seems to be secondary, IMO.

Ushta te
Ron

söndagen den 8:e februari 2009

Ashem Vohu

Exactly!!!
There is a POINT to why Zoroastrians for 3,700 years have spoken of Asha as something to respect and hold sacred and Ashem Vohu as something to do and to love. The world operates the way it does (according to asha, according to functionality, according to that which fits or that which works) and No 1 is to find out what is asha (natural) and what is not (the supernatural, which we as Mazdayasni are not interested in) and THEN make a decision to act upon this knowledge (to think, speak and do good asha, ashem vohu, to be proper cultural beings). In modern philosophy this is called pure ethics.
I also believe that Asha is what conmects with Ahura and Ashem Vohu connects with Mazda in Ahura Mazda, the most genial divinity ever invented.
This is also why I have always said that Zoroastrianism is a purely ethical and not a moral religion.
For the sake of Ushta and Haurvatat
- Dölj citerad text -

Alexander

2009/2/7 Parviz Varjavand

Dear Alex,

Thank you for doing it to me anyway what I begged you not to do in my P.S. What you write now is exactly the point I have been trying to make for so long. You were taking off in the direction of Functionality as a definition for the Best of Asha last. Functionality may not be the Best Of Asha. Fascism may be a more functional form of government than Democracy, but it is not the Best. Neither is the Absolute Asha, the "There is only ONE path and that is the path of Asha" kind of Asha the answer to the riddle of what Asha- Vahishta is in the mental world.

The answer, as far as I am concerned, is that there are many Ashas out there in the Minoo (Mental) world. You line them up and choose the best that you think will give you your best Ushta. The most Functional one may not give you your highest Ushta. That is what I think the meaning of Ashem Vohoo is and this is also why I think it is the most sophisticated declaration of freedom of thought that anybody has come up with yet.

A very Functional Asha be upon you, and may it have much Ushta in it for you too!
Parviz


--- On Sat, 2/7/09, Alexander Bard wrote:

From: Alexander Bard
Subject: Re: [Ushta] Functionality, rather than truth
To: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Date: Saturday, February 7, 2009, 6:13 AM


Actually, theft is far more common in cultures where hands of thieves are being cut off than it is in countries like Japan and Switzerland where tight communal bounds bind people together in a feeling if interpendence and responsibility for each other. I believe Japan and Switzerland illustrate better what is good asha. Even if it seems the good asha towards the issue of thievery comes at the price of an uninspiring culture artistically according to our dear Dino. ;-)
Ushta
Alexander

2009/2/7 Parviz Varjavand

Dear readers,

Theft is a bad thing. We all wish to stop thievery.

There are courts that based on instructions from sacred sources have found an Asha that cures theft!? In lands where this Asha or Law is applied, theft stops dramatically and abruptly. The Asha they have discovered is very simple, they cut off the hand of the person who steals.

Yes, there is Asha in the mental realm. I claim that cutting off the hands of thieves is one such Asha. It is very very Functional too. I challenge anybody to show me why it is not an Asha.

Ushta,
Parviz
P.S. Don't give me that it is Asha, but it is not the Best of Asha. It is more than ten years that I have been trying to illustrate this one point alone ;-(

lördagen den 7:e februari 2009

Functionality, rather than truth

Dear Dina and Dino

Functionality is indeed not subjective, rather it is a scientific term more than anything and as objective as any term will ever be. It is also an at least as good a translation of asha as truth. And Dina, I never said there is no absolute truth, there certainly is, it is called asha (for example, it is absolutely true that there is something rather than nothing etc), but only as long as you stay in nature. However, in the cultural environments of our minds, dependent on a linguistic interpretation of the world, there can be no absolute truths. Mental asha (the patterns of our thinking) is radically different from physical asha (the laws of the universe). Please keep the two apart even if they are both expressions of the same one substance of existence.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/2/5 Special Kain

Dear Dina,

Functionality isn't subjective at all. It's just a different concept. When two theories disagree on every important point, but applying both of them leads to intersubjectively testable results, we're dealing with functionality, rather than truth. Because in this sense both theories are "true". And the accumulative process you're describing is exactly what Nietzsche coined as perspectivism, which is far removed from truth (and was heavily criticized when postmodernism and poststructuralism were popular). So we should make a pragmatic decision and replace truth with functionality, and objectivity with intersubjectivity.

Ushta,
Dino

--- DINA MCINTYRE schrieb am Do, 5.2.2009:

Von: DINA MCINTYRE
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Functionality, rather than truth
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Donnerstag, 5. Februar 2009, 17:11

Dear Dino,

Possibly because "functionality" is subjective.

I offer friendly disagreement with Alexander and those who think truth is not absolute. In my view, it is our perception of truth that is not absolute -- that is subjective. But as we grow in understanding, our perception of truth becomes more and more accurate, until eventually, truth, and our perception of it, is the same. That is the Zarathushtrian "heaven" -- the House of Good Thinking" -- a state of being that comprehends truth. That is also his notion of the divine -- a state of being that is Wisdom personified, (another way of saying a state of being that comprehends truth).

My two cents.

Wishing us the best,

Dina G. McIntyre.

onsdagen den 4:e februari 2009

Asha vs Logos

I believe the crucial point is that WE are PART OF ASHA.
Asha is not something external to us, it is not a pre-set law that we have to abide with and relate to.
We are within asha too, this is the Zoroastrian "freedom". Not a freedom from something, as is the case in western thinking, but a freedom to be part of and get involved with.
This is why mental asha involves our own actions, ethics is all about who you are to yourself, it's about your self-identity. Moralizing ideals (behavior according to preset laws strictly) is alien to Zoroastrian thinking.
To say that something is right because it is right is just sloppy. The proper question to ask when hearing such statements is: "Yesm we know this already, it's a tautology, but do you MEAN with RIGHT?
I'm glad that Dino brought up Heraclitus and "logos". Heraclitus is the Zoroastrian thinker of the ancient Greeks.
Ushta
Alexander

2009/2/4 Special Kain
- Dölj citerad text -

Dear Parviz,

I agree with Charles Sanders Peirce that metaphysics often is nothing more than debating questions of personal or social taste. There are fads in philosophy. For example, postmodernism hasn't been very popular in the last ten, fifteen years, but I guess that Alexander knows more about fads in contemporary philosophy than I do. He's a philosopher, I'm a sociologist.
So I think that you're somewhat right with your French men discussing wine and cheese. Personally, I favor the Habermasian approach to Asha, even though I'm not a Habermasian. But it would be really interesting to hear Dina's words on the subject, indeed!

Ushta,
Dino


--- Parviz Varjavand schrieb am Mi, 4.2.2009:

Von: Parviz Varjavand
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Asha as Law and Asha as Truth.
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
CC: zoroastrians@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Mittwoch, 4. Februar 2009, 11:42

Ushta Dino,

I would like very much to hear what Dina has to say about Asha on all these plains (is it still "That Which Fits"?).
Jafarey says that Asha is doing the right things with the right tools at the right time....and he keeps going on with many more right this and right that, ...to reach the right result; and that is Asha to Jafarey.
This is how a group of large nosed French persons sit around sniffing their vine glasses talking about that perfect vine and the perfect cheese and that perfect mistress wearing the perfect negligee and......... .on and on. I don't think this kind of talk is Philosophy talking.

Parviz

tisdagen den 3:e februari 2009

Urvan as "self" - and not "soul"...

Dear Ron

This is most interesting.
If we can remove the label "soul" to the term "urvan" and replace it with "self", this would make much more sense. It would amount to one more step in transferring Zoroastrianism from a moralistic to an ethical belief system in the English language. And much closer to the truth of Zarathushtra's intentions.
Don't you agree?

Ushta
Alexander

2009/2/3 ztheist

Ushta Dino

Well :)! I do believe that the Bible in its 2 versions of NT and OT
give an answer to what the soul is , alas! the 2 answers are
different! But still they are answers. The OT's nephesh is living
creatures, the life force there of. IE what makes one be alive.
Strangely the Vulgata in Latin agrees translating it as anima. It
stands precisely for that. However the NT was written in Koine Greek
and soul there is Psuche a cognate of Psyche and therefore something
like mentality

So one answer would imply that the soul either lives on after death
(or not) but cannot manifest that life lacking a body Or is the mental
nature of a self which might or might not survive bodily separation.
Now you might not like these answers but they are there.

Interestingly urvan who many translate as soul its said to literally
refer to the part of a being that is concerned with making a choice.
In other words, it includes the will and the ego and its consciousness
of ethics or conscience. Because of,I prefer to translate it as self.

By the way I have not read all of helen's messages but I have yet to
eadr one in which she depicts after life as seating in a garden, :):)

Ushta te
Ron

måndagen den 2:e februari 2009

Plato and the Persians

Dear Dino and Ron

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.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/2/2 special_kain

Dear Ron,

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.

Ushta,
Dino

--- In Ushta@yahoogroups.com, "ztheist" wrote:
>
>
> 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
> Ron

Rituals in everyday life

No no no, there are LOTS of rituals in contemporary Zoroastrianism.
The vast majority of them are meditative. Others are social and connected to the festivals.
But then you also have to understand that for example EATING DINNER in connection to the nowruz or tirigan tables is a ritual in Zoroastrianism. Again, you have to look in places where your western eyes are not trained to see the religion in practice. To a Zoroastrian, merely taking a walk in a park is a religious ritual. Therefore, the minimal need for specific rituals-as-rituals-only.
Ushta
Alexander

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2009/2/2 Helen Gerth

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Dear Alexander,

Actually, not quite my only reference to be honest...but I do see the difference you are noting....and very much agree...ritual is a focus to bring our mind into a particular state....so the attitude behind it is the most important...but ritual is another whole conversation that doesn't fit here...

I suppose I asked because you made reference to there being some observances in contemporary Zoroastrianism which surprised me as it seemed that one of the significant differences was the lack of ritual...and so I guess I expected there to be few if any beyond the Navjote ceremony...


Ushta te,
Helen :-)

Spirits and memories

Dear Kenneth

It is actually historically a common practice in Zoroastrian culture to "celebrate" the departure of the dead ones (as you all know, we do not have any funerals) not when they literally die but rather 70 years later when their "conscious place in the community" has evaporated. So your ideas seem to have a very strong bearing within Zoroastrian culture and tradition.

Ushta
Alexander

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2009/2/2 Kenneth Christensen

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I am a student in Anthropology and hope to be an ethnobotanist. So with my studies I am both a religious scholar and a scientist. The reason why I think after we die our spirits live on in people's minds or memories is because, well let me elaborate.

Let us say there is a man named John who would drink everyday. Yet when his mother died he stoped drinking on sunday because he knew should would not be happy.

This right here says a lot about the power of the memories of the once living.

I personally believe that people like Gandhi, Cyrus, Budha, ect have the most powerful spirits (metaphorically speaking) because they so many people revere and remember them.

Kenneth

The minimalist aesthetics of Zoroastrianism

Dear Helen

Don't get blinded by the many rituals and ceremonies.
Behind the rituals and ceremonies there is an ATTITUDE towards the rituals and ceremonies which is radically different from the Abrahamic religons (which after all is your only reference), an attitude despising the kind of sabbathical "religiosity" prevalent in the Abrahamic faiths (please note that Zoroastrianism does NOT have a sabbath).
Remember that Zoroastrianism aesthetically is a MINIMALIST religion, just like Zen Buddhism. Iranian culture is minimalistic too, similar to Japanese aesthetics. This is all part of the Zoroastrian culture. That's why new age people are not attracted to Zoroastrianism, all for the better.
This collective ALLERGY against bling bling is grounded within the faith itself. Just like Zen is in Japan and Chan is in China. It speaks volumes about the religion and its beliefs.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/2/2 Helen Gerth

Dear Alexander,

We are very similar in our conclusions on the purpose of life and religion...we do see some differences in using religion but the aims are the same :-)

You said, "This is a religion which is rather suspicious towards the overtly "religious" behavior."
This is a paradoxical statement for me in some ways....I see the more conservative and what I tend to call 'historical/traditional' perspective actually frustrated and angry because they see others in contemporary Zoroastrianism seeking to remove precisely this type of behavior...though I am taking this to mean that this is how you see Zarathushtra's original message to mean...

"Our holidays are the equinoxes and solstices, because our lives are always grounded in the here and now which we hold sacred and not to be laughed at or ignored."

One's rituals and practices of this nature should never be laughed at or ignored by anyone...they are sacred if I might use that term...special...the equinoxes and solstices are imbued with an energy that is significant...

Which leads me to ask...there are many rituals and observances in traditional Zoroastrianism that are related to these events are there not?

Which holidays/observances are held in common? Are the dates the same but with just different observance practices or the same or variations...

I am not asking for specifics unless yourself or others are comfortable sharing... many feel that one way to keep others from ridiculing them is not to talk about them (first hand experience)...and others feel that to do so would somehow take away from their special quality...

Ushta te,
Helen

The opnness of Zoroastrianism. Why we study science rather than having bible classes

Dear Helen

Very good questions!

What I believe you need to understand is that PRACTICED Zoroastrianism rarely falls into the loop of self-referentiality that is so common in other religions. Christians constantly meet to discuss The Bible, Muslims constantly meet to discuss the Qoran, and they so endlessly - within one single loop - without adding any information from the outside.

This is not the case with Zoroastrianism. The first Zoroastrian congress I ever went to was a shock to me, a positive shock, because most of the lectures were not on The Gathas (which we were all assumed to know anyway) but rather on topics like science and culture. So as a Mazdayasni who is not overtly concerned with any after-life or whether existence is pure monism or some kind of monism-plus (which is what Zoroastrian mental dualism amounts to, people like Ron and Dina are not Platonic or Christian dualists in any way) what I've learned is that me religion is all about being NOT religious but rather to love life to its fullest as if living life itself is the sacred duty and not some kind of Sunday morning religiosity.

Why do you think that Zoroastrianism never promoted asceticism in tbe first place? This is a religion which is rather suspicious towards the overtly "religious" behavior. Our holidays are the equinoxes and solstices, because our lives are always grounded in the here and now which we hold sacred and not to be laughed at or ignored.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/2/2 Helen Gerth

Dear all,

There have been several responses to a few comments to conversations here that I have posted.....I appreciate Alexander's stance and do endeavor to only comment on Zoroastrian issues....and I am grateful that others have found value in my thoughts...one post seemed more appropriate than several individual responses and more economical...

I suppose the difficulty is that at times, I see value and interest in the dey-yasna beliefs I find expressed in Zoroastrian....

For some, there is straight from the hip :-)...then there is tactful....then sometimes we all interpret others through our own lenses of experience....we are all in a great big salon discussing ideas that sometimes don't mix....we could take particular currents into a private conversation...but that defeats the purpose except for thank you's and appreciation of the elegance of a thought posted...

Abrahamic 'folktales' and 'mythologies' aside...there are similar currents in Zoroastrianism....and if some choose to strip those away that is fine...if we limit conversations of Zoroastrianism to only that which strips away all of those ideas then what do we talk about? If true Zorastrianism does not discuss a soul, an existence of some kind after death, no divinity...where do we go with the converstaions...

What I am throwing out here is a request for a thread that is wholly Mazdayasni, wholly mind oriented then....yes, I suppose with my upbringing it slips through my mental fingers more easily and I need repitition...

What I value here the most is the discussions of variations in Zoroastrian thought though I know that part of the purpose of the alias is to discuss a particular segment of Zoroastrian thought...

Ushta te,
Helen

söndagen den 1:e februari 2009

Haurvatat

Dear Helen, Dina, Ron

I agree about completion here. The Latin meaning of the word (if English doesn't fully cover the difference from perfection, well then that is beside the point, the terms are Latin and should be viewed as Latin and not English terms). Perfection assumes that there must be a PRIOR FORM to which somehting is moulded in order to become its own idea. A very Platonistic concept. There is no such prior form involved in completion (please remember that Zoroastrians do NOT believe in predestination). I can for example complete my journey (I have reached my destination) which does not assume that the journey was perfect in any way. This is why the translation of "haurvatat" as perfection is both wrong and dangerously misguiding. Mazdayasna is not interested in perfection, it is rather the religion par excellence of movement, change, transformation as metaphysical ideals. In that "completion" is fine for haurvatat while en expression like "being in harmony with itself" may hit the meaning of "haurvatat" even better.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/1/31 ztheist

Ushta Helen

These are eureka moments! Ziism has a term Chisti , something like a
spark, that means, an intuitional moment and or conception. Haurvatat
is something else It is a goal and a tool at the same timeIt is
something like what salvation means to Christians Its like fulfilling
one's potential . Perfection implies spotlessness, absolutenes of
realization, and that is not in the cards in this plane of existence.
Now, in the next dimension ... well in the next we do not know for
sure ... but I will say that when we do reach full Completion and
'cross' the Chinvat, we will know as we are known ...

Ushta te
Ron

--- In Ushta@yahoogroups.com, Helen Gerth wrote:
>
> Ushta te,
>
> Would not perfection be the attainment of such fullness of
expression as you define below? I've always thought of those
'perfect' moments in life as such because an act drew together all of
the threads into a silent meaningful whole, a harmonious blending of
various sensory inputs and thought, a fullness of a gleam of light
across the water for example that brings all the potential within them
to fruition.... if even only for a brief moment a reaction in us of
full appreciation and/or understanding..
>
> they are the moments that stop us in our tracks....
>
> Helen