tisdagen den 29:e september 2009

Science is sacred!

Dear Judy

You are very much a Zoroastrian!!!
To begin with, Zoroastrians are obsessed with science since science is the constant revelation of the magic of the universe which we love and hold sacred. Science and knowledge do not scare us, because it is our belief that whatever science can teach us and prove to us is then to be held sacred by us.
Personally, I prefer to separate Ahura and Mazda (like Zarathushtra himself did and as Parviz Varjavand has proposed we should do), when you speak of Ahura Mazda you probably mean Ahura. The Mazda part is better used reserved for the phenomenon of consciousness. Ahura is the physical world, as it is, whatever it is. The Pantheism of Z'ism, definitely.
As for Mehran's questions, I frankly don't understand them, I believe you have made your points clearly and logically. I don't understand what the trouble is to Mehran, perhaps he can explain, perhaps not.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/9/29 Judy Weismonger


- Dölj citerad text -

I just found one of Alexander Bard's writings from a little while back....in which he alludes to the discussion of what the Ahura Mazda is....and subatomic particles....therefore, in what I understand the Lord of Light to be...without any instruction from any Zoroastrian, I am on the right track. Why? Because it makes sense and its logical.....and if the mind insists on logic...then it will come to a logical conclusion.....Yipppeeee.....Ushta Hugs, Judy
den 13 september 2008
Ahura Mazda and the God word (The Dance of Shiva and subatomic particles etc)
Dear Yezad

Very good points!
In addition, please note that in the debate on whether God can exist or not, there is also always a THIRD position which is unfortunately often ignored:
This position is that whether God can exist or not clearly depends on what we MEAN with the term God.
Different religions not only believe that God is different (Allah clearly has different characteristics than the Christian God or the Jewish Jehovah or the Brahmanist Brahman etc) but they also have radically different ideas of what the word God means.
As Zoroastrians, we ALL believe in the existence of Ahura Mazda. We just have different ideas of what Ahura Mazda IS. Some people seem to think that Ahura Mazda is identical with Allah (although Allah was invented som 2,000 years after Ahura Mazda), probably because they have grown up in societies dominated by Islam and are too eager to please the Muslims by not being too differen from them. Others seem to think that Ahura Mazda is identical with the Christian God, because they have grown up in largely Christian societies (although the Christian God was invented at least 1,700 years after Ahura Mazda, again not really making any sense).
Both such beliefs are of course completely off the mark.
Ahura Mazda is not God in any of these senses. Maybe it is then better to say that Ahura Mazda is not God at all? I believe this is what Parviz Varjavand has suggested and I totally support him. Maybe it is just better and fairer to say that Ahura Mazda is Ahura Mazda and that's it?
So we can then skip the God word altogether and discuss what our beloved Ahura Mazda is. And provoke our surroundings and make them MORE interested in our faith.
I hate to see Zoroastrianism understood as an INFERIOR religion to Islam and Christianity. So why not then provoke them and say that: Ahura Mazda is what exists (actually by its very definition), you can have your God or gods but we could not care less. As long as we pretend that we share THEIR gods they will always look down on us as primitive and inferior.
And that's of course utterly wrong. If anybody should lay claim to the popular term "Eastern wisdom", then why not us?

Ushta
Alexander

måndagen den 28:e september 2009

Zoroastrians and food and drink

Dear Judy

I agree with Mehran.
Zoroastrians can basically eat and drink everything that is available and nutricious for us. When Muslims in Iran refuse to produce and drink wine, Zoroastrians have always taken care of the famous Iranian wine industry.
Still many Zoroastrians prefer to be vegetarians because of their strong ecological ethics. But in that case it is an individual choice and much dependent on the overall world situation when it comes to the scarcity of food, climate change etc.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/9/28 MoobedyAr Mehran Gheibi

Dear Judy
Dorood
There are some points that should be noticed:
1- Any translation loses some thing from the original text. For example the word goosfand/gospand refers to all kinds of useful animals such as deer, cow, sheep, goat ....even hen and ..., but in nowadays persian it is used for sheep. Thus in translation they have made a mistake....
2- These advices are not from Zoroaster, but are from a Moobed. Thus al of them are not pure Zoroastrian ones.
3- As much as I know, it is advised to consume less meat, and consume more milk, dairy products and plant foods.
4- Animals such as dog, pig and rabit are called dirty to eat.
However I should remind you that they are not pure Zoroastrian ones, thus they should be revised and if it is accepted by science, then would be used.

Nik-o shAd bAshid
KhodA negahdAr,
MoobedyAr MehrAn Gheibi.
Kerman_Iran




--- On Mon, 9/28/09, Judy Weismonger wrote:

Thank you very much for the information. I have a question, it says in no 13 in the second web site to "not eat domestic animals." What does that mean? Does that refer to someone's cow they raised themselves, a dog, or what? And, does it mean that you can eat an animal raised by someone else? Or, does it mean you can only eat "wild" animals, such as a deer or rabbits? Are Zoroastrians vegetarians?

Secondly, if all of the below tenants predate the Abrahamic religions, it is then amazing to see how much of all such religions originated from Zoroastrianism. And strangely, most Abrahamic religions claim to be "originals" and such rules of behavior divinely inspired at the time by their "one true god."

It appears that through time and tide, the later religions "forgot" their origins from Zoroastrianism.

Thank you very much,

Hugs, Judy

onsdagen den 23:e september 2009

Zoroastrianism and Pragmatism: Dewey and Hayek

Dear Arthur

I absolutely agree!!!
Although I'm a strict pragmatist politically too and call myself a pragmatist liberal you can of course be a pragmatic libertarian too and admire Hayek as much as Dewey as a Zoroastrian. I rather see the arguments between Dewey and Hayek as arguments between friends (like on this forum) who share a basic ideological premise and merely discuss the details and consequences of their specific beliefs.
Brilliant posting too! We would love to read more form you on Ushta, Arthur! As much as your time permits!

Ushta indeed
Alexander

2009/9/23 Arthur Pearlstein



I have been reading with great interest and approval the posts tying pragmatists (especially Dewey and Rorty), and process philosophers (Whitehead) to Zoroastrian thinking--I especially want to thank Dino from whom I have learned a great deal in following these posts (though he cannot be blamed for what I may not have understood well). It is very exciting to see the articulation of these connections made so clearly and persuasively, and it has helped me reflect on and reaffirm my own personal brand of Zoroastrianism which is largely based on my own fascination with both pragmatic and process approaches. As I have written before, Ahura Mazda works as a kind of “process” through asha and the infinite variety we experience in this world of accelerating change is the expression of asha. The Zoroastrian future perspective, which offers, in the spirit of Rorty, an ever-deepening array of joy-producing delightful (and surprising) things, is a process and something more—it is life itself.



I did want to point out that, notwithstanding Alexander’s mention of Dewey’s “fights with Hayek” and the division between pragmatists and libertarians, that there are those of us who admire both Dewey and Hayek and who consider themselves libertarian pragmatists (or pragmatic libertarians). In fact, I believe that process thinking, sharpened by the more recently developed interest in complexity theory and dynamic, adaptive systems, forms a compelling connection between pragmatism and libertarianism, and between the most attractive features of all these approaches, on the one hand, and Zoroastrianism, on the other.



Hayek saw social/political/economic orders as constantly evolving processes—self-creative and radically free. As nicely put in the interview with Ames that Dino supplied, thinking from a true process perspective involves “appreciating the emergence and the open-endedness of the human experience;” this could have easily been spoken by Hayek. And I think Dewey would agree with Hayek (and be right in line with process and Zoroastrian thinking) in rejecting the top-down rule of social planners and preferring institutions that arise through complex, adaptive processes—that evolve—over those that are “intelligently designed” (notwithstanding the Ames comment in the same interview that Dewey “believes in intelligent design” that is “the responsibility of human beings”—I think this is slightly misleading in the sense that “intelligent design” has come to imply a kind of grand design, of which no one—neither “God” nor human beings—is capable; it is correct in the more limited, literal sense of humans intentionally “designing” experiments, for example).



In the context of applying these ideas to “democracy,” I think they have much in common in seeing the project of liberal democracy as a dynamic, adaptive process contingently emerging under uncertain conditions.



There are, of course, differences between and among these thinkers and their ideas. What I especially like about Zoroastrian thinking is that, in an elegant way, it seems to take the best of these concepts and tie it into a philosophy of life that is radically participatory—a philosophy that, in effect, views itself as a kind of (democratic) process.


Ushta,


Arthur


On Fri, Sep 18, 2009 at 9:42 AM, Special Kain wrote:



Dewey was even closer to Zoroastrian thought than Peirce, James and Rorty altogether!
So far I don't know anything about the link between him and Whitehead, only between him and Rorty (who's a neo-Deweyan).
This is an interview with Roger Ames on both Dewey's and Whitehead's philosophy:

http://www2.thu.edu.tw/~philo/files/980818-Amesinterview.pdf

Ushta, Dino

--- Alexander Bard schrieb am Fr, 18.9.2009:


Von: Alexander Bard
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Zoroastrianism and pragmatism: John Dewey
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Freitag, 18. September 2009, 15:02



I love Dewey!!!
His fights with Hayek are legendary and began the creative division among liberals we have seen since then: The dividion between pragmatists and libertarians.
Needles to say, John Dewey is the single thinker who has inspired Barack Obama the most.
But what was the relationship really between Dewey and the other great American proto-Zoroastrian of the same age, Alfred North Whitehead?
Ushta
Alexander

2009/9/18 Special Kain



Dear friends,

We already discovered the link between Zoroastrian philosophy and pragmatism (Charles S. Peirce, Richard Rorty) several months ago, but we haven't mentioned John Dewey yet. Dewey's take on pragmatism is quite similar to the pro-science pantheism within Zoroastrianism, especially his views on science, art, ethics, democracy, education and civilizationism.

http://www.iep. utm.edu/dewey/

Ushta,
Dino

Zoroastrian process philosophy Part 2

Dear Dino

There was no DETERMINISTIC opposition to Zarathushtra, he had no reason to defend contingency because contingency was never questioned among the Indo-Iranian tribes. He had opponents for OTHER reasons, for example against shortsighted "might is right"-thinking and "superstitious beliefs", not this issue. And Spinoza's determinism is a SOFT determinism, not closed and definite as later interpretors would have it. You have to remember what Spinoza is reacting AGAINST, he is the first anti-Cartesian. So his stance is that rationality should begin with understanding how LITTLE we can affect the world when the world is contingent. THIS is his determinism, a determinism of contingency rather than a classic closed determinism. There is no way Nietzsche and Deleuze would have celebrated Spinoza otherwise. In our work, Söderqvist and I do not refer to Spinoza as a "rationalist" as he called himself but rather as the first western "transrationalist". So was Zarathushtra!

Ushta
Alexander

2009/9/23 Special Kain



That's exactly my stance (as stated below): Contingency is the very condition of ethics.
But weren't the Mitra priests Zarathushtra's opponents? And how turn Spinoza into a Zoroastrian thinker when he clearly stated that we were living in a deterministic universe (with little chance for anyone to interfere on one's own will) rather than an indeterminate universe?

Ushta, Dino

--- Alexander Bard schrieb am Di, 22.9.2009:


Von: Alexander Bard
Betreff: [Ushta] Zoroastrian process philosophy
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Dienstag, 22. September 2009, 12:05



Dear Dino

The reason why Zarathushtra PRACTICES process philosophy (he is the first philosopher of a "will" in human history!) rather than DISCUSSES the issue is because process philosophy only become san issue when it is raised AGAINST deterministic philosophy. In other words: Heraclitus had Plato. But Zarathuhtra had no Plato to oppose since contingency was a fundamental truth rather than an issue of discussion to Indo-Europeans 3,700 years ago. This is why it is so creative and improtant to us to read Zarathushtra through the glasses of the later process philosophers. And as for contingency, it is the very condition of Zarathushtra's ethics: Why else would he ask us to control and direct our thoughts, words and actions??? In a deterministic world, such a PROCESS would be absolutely impossible!! !

Ushta
Alexander

2009/9/22 Special Kain



Three statements that require further investigation and criticism:

(1) Zarathushtra was a process philosopher.
(2) Any process philosophy presupposes the issue of contingency: things could have turned out differently, future events are indeterminate.
(3) If things could have turned out differently and future events were indeterminate, this would lead to ethics rather than moralism which is concerned with strict rules and obedience, whereas ethics is concerned with who we are to ourselves and future thoughts, words and actions based on this question of identity.

So we should have a look at how different process philosophers (Zarathushtra, Heraclitus, Whitehead, Dewey, Nietzsche) addressed the issue of contingency. What where their questions and answers?

Ushta, Dino

Zoroastrian philosophy and Iranian culture

The trick is of course a second Iranian revolution!
If Iran would finally get democracy proper, it would most definitely come with an immense interest in Zoroastrian philosophy and culture. Parviz and I discussed this length when we met last month in San Francisco.
So the best marketing we could do is actually to present Iran as "the third great Asian culture" besides China and India. Work together with all Iranians in exile! This would renew interest in a philosophy which westerners think THEY invented in the 19th century whereas it has actually existed in Iran for 3,700 years.
Just look at how China and India successfully marketed themselves as "great cultures" in the west. And now Brahmanism and Taoism have millions of follewers globally as a result. We could the same for Z-ism!
Ushta
Alexander

2009/9/23 Special Kain



Dear Clint,

I see two problems:
(1) There are only few Zoroastrians.
(2) Zoroastrians are not missionaries. They're not supposed to persuade other people to leave their tribes and join the party.
(3) Madonna hasn't converted to Zoroastrianism yet! (Please feel free to use any international pop star's name, such as Robbie Williams, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce Knowles ...) - I'm not kidding, people are attracted to what's considered popular, and international pop stars are supposed to do things that are supposed to be (or become) popular.

But aren't many Zoroastrians successful and wealthy entrepreneurs as compared to denominations?

Ushta, Dino

--- wagnerian1 schrieb am Di, 22.9.2009:


Von: wagnerian1
Betreff: [Ushta] Interesting poll data....
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Dienstag, 22. September 2009, 18:59



Ushta y'all,

Andrew Sullivan had this up on his blog today, and to me I see much opportunity for our most noble and beautiful Religion to grow and blossom:

http://andrewsulliv an.theatlantic. com/the_daily_ dish/2009/ 09/the-coming- age-of-the- nones.html# more


Of course Andrew, being the committed Catholic he is, sees a "new Christianity" that might emerge. Our biggest problem is that NO ONE KNOWS WE'RE HERE, so new Christianities and Unitarianisms and what have you are all anyone has to talk about.

So how do we get a seat at this table? I'm horrible at outreach and PR. Regardless, we still have a LOT of work to do. I see this nascent community as something like Reconstructionist or Reform Judaism, which is a reworking of ancient traditions for a modern era, and in a plurality of vernacular forms in which the local language and culture play a part in the practice, but the ancient roots are right there to behold too.

Oh, and Happy Fall to y'all in the Northern Hemisphere! I hope y'all are decorating your houses and saying prayers on this most auspicious day! I got pumpkins and fall leaves and apples and pork....

--Clint

tisdagen den 22:e september 2009

Zoroastrian process philosophy

Dear Dino

The reason why Zarathushtra PRACTICES process philosophy (he is the first philosopher of a "will" in human history!) rather than DISCUSSES the issue is because process philosophy only become san issue when it is raised AGAINST deterministic philosophy. In other words: Heraclitus had Plato. But Zarathuhtra had no Plato to oppose since contingency was a fundamental truth rather than an issue of discussion to Indo-Europeans 3,700 years ago. This is why it is so creative and improtant to us to read Zarathushtra through the glasses of the later process philosophers. And as for contingency, it is the very condition of Zarathushtra's ethics: Why else would he ask us to control and direct our thoughts, words and actions??? In a deterministic world, such a PROCESS would be absolutely impossible!!!

Ushta
Alexander

2009/9/22 Special Kain

Three statements that require further investigation and criticism:

(1) Zarathushtra was a process philosopher.
(2) Any process philosophy presupposes the issue of contingency: things could have turned out differently, future events are indeterminate.
(3) If things could have turned out differently and future events were indeterminate, this would lead to ethics rather than moralism which is concerned with strict rules and obedience, whereas ethics is concerned with who we are to ourselves and future thoughts, words and actions based on this question of identity.

So we should have a look at how different process philosophers (Zarathushtra, Heraclitus, Whitehead, Dewey, Nietzsche) addressed the issue of contingency. What where their questions and answers?

Ushta, Dino

söndagen den 20:e september 2009

Zoroastrianism and Process Philosophy Part 2

I totally agree! And I do not count Heidegger among "the Zoroastrian thinkers of the west". But it is interesting that Heidegger understood the major difference between Plato's worldview and Heraclitus' worldview (and sided with Heraclitus thereby breaking with Kant and Hegel) and could see the difference among the Greeks between "thinking Egyptian" and "thinking Persian". This was my point with adressing Heidegger on this issue.
The older Heidegger is btw far more interesting than the young romantic Heidegger. Rather a lot like Wittgenstein. He must have regretted his flirt with Nazism enormously.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/9/20 Special Kain


Frankly, I've never liked Heidegger. And I think that Deleuze got much closer to Nietzsche's thought than Heidegger did. I agree with Richard Rorty that Derrida succeeded where Heidegger had (slightly) failed, but that's probably purely a matter of taste.
I 100% agree that "transhuman" is a far better - if not the best! - translation of "Übermensch". It's a trans-human being that we don't know much about. "Superman" doesn't help, "Overman" doesn't really make any sense to me.

Ushta, Dino

Zoroastrianism and Process Philosophy

The connection actually starts with Heraclitus.
Heraclitus was the original thinker of process rather than substance in western thought, anti-Platonism begins with Heraclitus who was CLEARLY inspired by Persian rather than Babylonian or Egyptian thinking.
Both Nietzsche, Heidegger and Rorty celebrate Heraclitus and define themselves both as anti-Platonists and porcess thinkers. Dewey and William James is even more so.
Kant was a philosopher of substance and the last major thinker of substance was Hegel.
Wittgenstein is interestingly both. He began as a thinker of substance ("Tractatus") and then spent his mature age reacting against his youtful writings (which is why the older Wittgenstein is the formidable thinker of process).
Zarathushtra is a process and not a substance thinker. The world is in constant flux according to the author of The Gathas, and this flux should be embarced, should be CELEBRATED.
This is summarized in the very term Mazdayasna.
Ushta
Alexander

2009/9/20 Special Kain



If I will ever have the time to do so, I won't hesitate to do so. Right now I'm terribly busy graduating at the University of Zurich. There is only little time left to pursue anything other than my studies.

--- Rory schrieb am So, 20.9.2009:


Von: Rory
Betreff: [Ushta] Re: Zoroastrian thinkers
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Sonntag, 20. September 2009, 12:56



Dear Dino,

Have you considered putting together an "apology" of Zoroastrianism using the writings of these western philosophers to explain Z to western minds?

Ushta,
Rory

--- In Ushta@yahoogroups. com, Special Kain wrote:
>
> Dear friends,
>
> If we are to explain Zoroastrian thought in terms of western philosophy, I'd say that Baruch Spinoza, Alfred North Whitehead, John Dewey and - to a lesser extent - Richard Rorty and Friedrich Nietzsche are very close to what Zoroastrian thought is containing.
>
> Ushta, Dino

Zarathushtra, Nietzsche and gross misunderstandings

Dear Friends

These are gross minsunderstandings of both who Zarathushtra was and of the character of Zoroastrier in Nietzsche's philosophy. Nietzsche's character is actually very close to the historical Zarathushtra of The Gathas - but both characters are among the most misunderstood of all times. And Nitezsche both fell out with Wagner - he felt Wagner was far too conservative and pompous and populist and much prefered George Bizet as his favorite composer. And Nietzsche absolutely hated anti-semites and even refused to call himself a German when traveling abroad out of his hatred towards German racism (he had a rcasit sister called Elisabeth, but they definitely had very different opinions on German racism!). I regard these links as further evidence of the continued misunderstandings of Nietzsche's philosophy. His ideal is NOT an "Obermensch" (a human superior to all other humans) but an Übermensch (a human transgressing all usual human limitations), which is of course something radically different from what is assumed here.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/9/20 Zaneta Garratt


Hi Yazad-I get the feeling that Bernhard was talking maybe about his own ideas, he obviously does not understand what Zarathustra was saying so he tries to make a farse out of the whole thing, it really is a film not to be taken seriouosly, best wishes from zaneta

To: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
From: ysk@airtelmail.in
Date: Sun, 20 Sep 2009 08:24:33 +0530
Subject: Re: [Ushta] contraversal film



Very surprising that someone could come to such a conclusion about Zarathushtra. Never before have I some across any one referring to him as a sexist and rapist! Wonder where such thoughts came from. Would appreciate comments from our group.

Yezad

----- Original Message -----
From: Zaneta Garratt
To: ushta@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Friday, September 18, 2009 11:27 PM
Subject: [Ushta] contraversal film


http://nevermindpopfilm.blogspot.com/2009/09/zoroastrian-dialectic-in-observe-and.html

The Zoroastrian Dialectic in "Observe and Report (2009)"
Posted by Ben

Many films are based on the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. Several films focus on the idea of the Übermensch, notably (and most obviously) Alfred Hitchcock's Rope. Übermensch was a idea that Nietzsche proposed in his novel Thus Spoke Zarathustra, arguably one of the most influential philosophical works of all time, (and infamously an inspiration of both Wagner and Hitler).

Aside from Rope, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Being There are two other fantastic films meant to recount an aspect of the tale of Zoroaster. In each of these, a naive person or civilization is exposed to an event that opens their eyes and impels them to change themselves into something more than they already were, thereby they attain a new level of being and enlightenment.

A similar event occurs in Observe and Report, wherein the protagonist Ronnie Barnhardt, a mall security chief, is exposed (both literally and figuratively) to a series of eye-opening experiences. It's an interesting retelling of the story of Zoroaster. Throughout a series of misadventures, Barnhardt does achieve the status of Übermensch in a absurd happy ending. As such, the film is an effective commentary and rebuttal to the story of Zoroaster. Through parody tinted with absurdity the film provides an effective criticism of Nietzsche's philosophy.

It's a surprisingly deep film. Taken straight up, it's very confusing and a strange film, especially as one starring a big name comedian and released in the summer blockbuster season. Mostly ineffective as a comedy, and lacking an identifiable protagonist the film flounders as a by-the-numbers comedy. As a philosophical treatise, the film is spot-on; Barnhardt represents the failings in the Zoroastrian ideal: he's racist, sexist, homophobic, violent and yet unfoundedly self-confident.

Friends and divinities

Excellent posting, Rory!!!
Well, I guess there are under-deities in Zoroastrianism indeed. Closer than you may think.
WE are supposedly the under-deities here!
That's why our favorite in the Garden of Eden was neither God, Adam nor Eve. We love the snake!
Ushta
Alexander

2009/9/19 Rory



Dear Parviz,

If you and Mehran want to talk holes in each other's heads and argue yourselves to a standstill then please do so.
I had two Irish friends in France, both were from Ulster, one was Protestant and the other was Catholic. Both had family members in paramilitary organizations and both were very nationalistic. There was every reason why they should hate each other and they never stopped going at each other from dawn to dusk. They argued agressively and insulted each other incessently. However! They slept in adjacent beds, sat together at meals, and when marching, climbing or whatever, could always be found side by side bitching away (the vocab was truly amazing). After a while I realised they were actually the closest of friends and the insults and arguing were their way of dealing with the differences between them, which were of course massive.
So don't let me stop you. But please do me a favour, Mehran's English isn't the best, so next time someone calls him a "dualist gnome" please help him out with a few retorts such as "monist monkey" or "pantheist plonker" maybe. Then you can get back to torturing each other.
Btw. I'm pretty much sold on the whole Pantheist, Monist, Nietsche, Spinoza shebang and have been for some time (the nefarious Dino has much to do with that). Just been doing my "due dilligence". But just for argument's sake could there not be some "under-deity" in between?

Ushta,

Rory


--- In Ushta@yahoogroups.com, Parviz Varjavand wrote:
>
> Dear Rory,
> I know how boring and below intellectual engagement my never ending arguments with Mehran are. I keep it up because I am hoping that at some point Mehran may learn that his point of view is not the final word in Zoroastrianism. You see, he is actively indoctrinating the Zoroastrian youth in Kerman teaching them that Zoroastriansim is only structured the way he sees it. If I could only introduce an element of doubt in his mind, it may help our religion come out of a one track road it is caught in by our clergy. I already know several of our Moobeds that have got the point and agree with it.
> Parviz

lördagen den 19:e september 2009

John Dewey - The Great American Zoroastrian Thinker

Dear Friends

I've studied deeper into John Dewey's philosophical endeavors and it turns out that he wrote an endorsing piece on Spinoza's pantheism already in 1982 (in a publication called Journal of Speculative Philosophy). Again, all we miss is that John Dewey (like Nitezsche did) would have had a chance to study Zarathushtra too in which case he would have included him too in his pantheon of proper pantheistic thinkers throughout the history of philosophy. But atleast we can stringly recommend John Dewey as a Zoroastrian thinker, for example in his book "Art as Experience".

Ushta
Alexander

fredagen den 18:e september 2009

Haoma and other traditional Z rituals

Dear Clint

I agree with you.
The problem is that when you throw 3,700 years of rituals and sacraments out the window and try to replace them with something else, whatever you come up with is likely to be bland, boringm one-dimensional and merely politically correct. The Zarathushtrian Assembly tried this and it never really caught on. People still prefer the historical rituals and I believe an extension of these is much better than a cleansing and recreation attempt.
Again, what makes us different from Abrahamic faiths is that we do not believe in sin. So there is no sin in performing a politically incorrect ritual if it actually is creatively encouraging for us.
So haoma should be fine with us. Let's imaginative rather than limited in scope!

Ushta
Alexander

2009/9/18 wagnerian1



Ushta Alexander, Rory,

Yes, I got into a big ol' online shouting match with Ronald Delavega about this. I was pro-sacrament, he was vehemently opposed to anything that remotely looked like Haoma, or a communion, or anything of the sort whatever. He's not here to defend himself so I won't get into all the personal-sounding attacks, I will only say that his deeply Protestant background and Jafarey's Islamic background work well together to reduce the sacramental aspects of traditional Zoroastrianism. None of them claim to want to rid Mazdayasna of all ceremony, ritual and sacrament, and though I believe them, I also cannot accept the two of them as the ultimate arbiters of what stays and what goes from the traditional practices.

I accept the fact that my Z. practice will always be deeply influenced by the formative religion in my life, which is a High Anglicanism of the Anglo-Catholic sort. Other influences will be my studies in early Christianity, Judaism, and Indo-European religion. Buddhism is not to be left out either, for a Buddhist-adopted Mazdayasna in the form of Pure Land (a direct result of Zism meeting early Mahayana in what is now Afghanistan) should be a major source of inspiration and research as we seek to learn more about Zoroastrianism as taken up by other religions and mythologies.

I write all this basically to say that the spread of Zoroastrianism in a reformed and open version will involve fighting these fights, in all likelihood resulting in more than one form of the Good Religion. I can live with the Gathas-only crowd, but I can guaran-damn-tee you, they won't be able to live with the more expansive revivalists like ourselves for very long, esp when we enjoy a broad selection of ancient practices but refuse to impose theological litmus tests upon our fellow religionists.

So what of Haoma? I would say that, in truth, we don't really know what it was, but it might be useful to approach Haoma as the "spirit" of Medicine and the medicinal and beneficial properties of plants beyond their nutritional and environmental properties. If such was a worthy pantheistic object of worship for early Zoroastrians, I can't really say that's a bad thing, for we give thanks for the sun, moon and stars, and the good earth, etc. every day.

You know, we all need healing of some sort, we all need a lift from time to time. The reformation of the Haoma rite might be useful with this truth in mind. A refreshing tea of some sort for a public rite, or a spiced mead or cider, or even seasonal variations might be appropriate to use. As a healing sacrament, one might perform a Haoma especially for a sick person, perhaps involving a medicinally or spiritually beneficial brew, tea or other drink, possibly even made for that person's ailment (not in conflict with their medicine, of course!). What an interesting concept, Haoma as "Medicine of Life, for the healing of our souls and bodies". Take "soul" as literally or metaphorically as you wish.

--Clint

--- In Ushta@yahoogroups.com, Alexander Bard wrote:
>
> I agree with you, Rory!
> And I disagree with Jafarey's sentiments. The fact that Zarathushtra does
> not mention something in The Gathas (which is after all not a sacred bookbut
> just a loose collection of fragments of Zarathushtra's poetry) does not mean
> that it is forbidden to us as Mazdayasna if it helps us dig deeper into the
> spiritual life.
Alexander

torsdagen den 17:e september 2009

Haoma

I agree with you, Rory!
And I disagree with Jafarey's sentiments. The fact that Zarathushtra does not mention something in The Gathas (which is after all not a sacred bookbut just a loose collection of fragments of Zarathushtra's poetry) does not mean that it is forbidden to us as Mazdayasna if it helps us dig deeper into the spiritual life.
After all, Zarathustra does not write about computers either...
And now there are many types of "haoma" for us to be free to use when we see fit.
Ushta
Alexander

2009/9/17 Rory



Dear Alexander,

To save you searching through the article, here is what he says:

"None of the texts in the Gathic dialect -- Yasna 11.17 to 13.3; 14.1&2; 27.13&14; the five Gathas and Haptanghaiti, Yenghe Hatam, Yasna 56, and 58 -- mention any of the objects and implements, liquid or solid, or the actions essentially required in performing rituals. This absolute lack of attention cannot be interpreted as accidental. Two terms, mada (intoxicant) and duraosha (death repeller), used for the haoma drink in the Younger Avesta, are found in a manner that shows complete rejection of the substance and as well as the cult connected to it. Haoma stands condemned in the Gathas (5.14 = 32.14, 13.10 = 48.10). The priests who performed these elaborate and intricate ceremonies are all called Karapans, murmurers and moaners. Had there been an exception and had he and his "house" belonged to a special priestly order, such as the reported "Âthravans", he would have mentioned it and would have praised them for their piety and purity. He knows no priests other than the Karapans."

I am very curious what members of this forum think of Haoma. I do enjoy my toots although I still try to adhere to what I was taught as a (former) Catholic, i.e. one should still be able to say one's night-time prayer (although my Irish/Romany/Manouche blood does get the better of me from time to time). I don't believe that alcohol is the only substance that can be used to one's benefit or of course abused, there are many more natural substances in nature that can help us relax, wake-up, sleep, think and so on. One of my sisters is a succesful homeopath, writing books on the subject and although I do find a lot of the ideas of homeopathy to be "quackery" (much to her dismay)I do agree with the homeopathic principles that everything we consume will affect us in one way or another and that our bodies are constantly rebuilding themselves (very Zoroastrian don't you think) and that what we consume can positively or negatively adjust that rebuilding as will as affect the current workings.

Ushta,

Rory

P.S. Where do I find these recipes?


--- In Ushta@yahoogroups.com, "Rory" wrote:
>
> Here is the link to Dr. Jafarey's article: http://www.zoroastrian.org/articles/Rituals%20in%20The%20Gathas.htm
> Ushta,
> Rory
>
> --- In Ushta@yahoogroups.com, "Rory" wrote:
> >
> > Dear Alexander,
> >
> > From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haoma I also read an article by Dr. Jaffarey wherein he says the use Haoma was condemned by Mr. Z in the Gathas and that it was a pre-Zoroastrian custom in Persia that was introduced by the Persians to Zoroastrian culture. I'll try and find the article link.
> >
> > Ushta,
> >
> > Rory
> >
> > --- In Ushta@yahoogroups.com, Alexander Bard wrote:
> > >
> > > There are thousands of recepies for haoma, some involving narcotics and some
> > > not.
> > > Haoma has been part of Zoroastrian rituals for thousands of years.
> > > What makes you think ephedrine should be a major ingredient? Interesting!
> > > Ushta
> > > Alexander
> > >
> > > 2009/9/17 Rory
> > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Dear Group,
> > > >
> > > > Please can someone explain exactly what Haoma is (ephedrine?) and why and
> > > > how it is used?
> > > >
> > > > Ushta,
> > > >
> > > > Rory

tisdagen den 15:e september 2009

Spinoza's joy Part 2

The point is that while we are trained to think of values as something EMOTIONAL (I love this or that, I like this or that, I hate this or that, I dislike this or that) from Christianity: Repenting your sins mean nothing unless you FEEL the need to do so, you feel remorse etc, as soon as we leave the world of morality and enter ethics (as we do with Zarathushtra and Spinoza) we remove emotions from valuation and instead value with our MINDS. This is a rational and cold calculation circultaing around our IDENTITY: No matter how I feel, I do what I do because I am what I do and I KNOW what I am. This is how we both know what is right and we know who we are and get a strong and stable sense of SELF. So when Spinoza speaks of "joy" he does not speak of an emotion we should wait for (we have no control over our emotions, they are just chemical coincidences anyway) but rather of a JOY as in an INTENSE SENSE of EXISTENCE: Me, my thoughts, my words, my actions, ENJOY being one and the same unity. This is a passive sense of joy, a sense of joy of existence, and not a banal and temporary pleasure as in moralism.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/9/15 Special Kain



Either of us should be concerned with analytic philosophy. It's nice to have one's brain fucked, but if fucked, then please properly. ;-)
So the COLDNESS and ANTIGONE story you're referring to, that's really fascinating. It would be great to have you elaborating on this issue!

--- Alexander Bard schrieb am Di, 15.9.2009:


Von: Alexander Bard
Betreff: [Ushta] Contingency and Spinozism
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Dienstag, 15. September 2009, 12:55



Dear Dino

Philosophy does not consist of statements. Statements are vocabulary only, pure and simple. Philosophy is the THOUGHT that goes between the lines, it is the intuition that we trace between statements. Which is precisely why analytic philosophy failed in its ambition to "nail language" (as the older Wittgenstein writes about the younger Wittgenstein) . So you can quote Kant for all you like, you may still not grasp what he was THINKING which is what philosophy is all about (just like Art transcends a work of art, if not, then it is not a work of art but just a piece of craft etc).

So what is Spinoza aiming for? He is aiming for a STRONG ETHICS (the title of his most important work) and this ethics is an ethics that disregards the whole issue of determinism and/or contingency, and just demands a full identification with the things our bodies go through. The best example of Spinozist ethics is Zizek's study of Antigone in the spirit of Jacques Lacan. The fascination of the Greeks with Antigone was with the ice cold determined mindset that Antigone showed when acting upon her brother's unjust death. So there is a certain and efinite COLDNESS involved in pure ethics, in the ethical act as such. It is not an emotion we wait for, it is an ACT that is possibly (and possibly not) followed with the emotion we normally associate with "joy".

Ushta
Alexander

Reincarnation and Indo-European religion

Reincarnation is actually a completely alien idea to Indo-European faiths!
Reincarnation was introduced to Hinduism from the Dravidian religions that existed on the Indian subcontinent prior to the arrival of the Indo-Europeans from the northwest.
For example, the early Indian civilization in the Indus Valley did NOT practice any beliefs in reincarnation. There is no reincarnation in Iranian, Celtic, Roman, Greek, Germanic, Slavic or Nordic Paganism.
Which is precisely why I am a Zoroastrian and not a Hindu, I like to keep my Indo-European religion close to its brilliant origins. Neither Dravidian nor Abrahamic influences interest me.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/9/15 MoobedyAr Mehran Gheibi



Dear Alexander
dorood
I can not accept your claim about Indo-European faiths. All the Indian faiths are based on spirituality. They believe that they should impose suffer on material body to develope/improve the spiritual soul. Fasting, not marrying, long praying, meditation, not eating meat and ... are some evidences that prove my idea and refuse yours. Another evidence is reincarnation. Upon it they believe that the soul exits a material body and enter other material body to improve..... All of the Indo_European gods and goddess are spiritual that live in spiritual world.

The mAni (manichaeus) and his faith is another evidence.

In Mehr yasht it is written that a faithful person should beat his body knout, to improve his soul.
Dear Alexander you tell that Indo -European believe in this and in that, however without any evidence or reasoning. Do you expect me to accept it blindly?
Nik-o shAd bAshid
KhodA negahdAr,
MoobedyAr MehrAn Gheibi.
Kerman_Iran




--- On Tue, 9/15/09, Alexander Bard wrote:


From: Alexander Bard
Subject: Re: [Ushta] End of discussion ordered!!! (was: AhMaz and Asha (was The Gheibis))
To: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Date: Tuesday, September 15, 2009, 1:22 AM



Dear Mehran

Pantheism was the ideology of all Indo-European faiths.
There was no reason for them to even discuss pantheism because they could not in their wildest imagination believe in anything else but a pantheistic universe.
To discuss pantheism, you need an alternative opposite, like panentheism, to compare with.
But panentheism, the idea that God dwells outside of physical existence, did not exist until the Egyptians developed the idea. It was an alien idea to the Indo-Europeans, which is why Hinduism is Pantheist too.
But the Egytians pased the idea on to the Babylonians and the Jews which gave birth to the Abrahamic faiths.
The Indo-Europeans never took on this idea.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/9/14 Special Kain


Dear Mehran,

Please don't mix science with metaphysics! There is nothing to prove, simply because this is a question of (personal) taste. So either you're attracted to pantheism or the idea that there was The Almighty Creator sitting above the clouds far, far away and spying on us.
In the media Zoroastrianism is still that primitive proto-Christian faith that invented god and the devil, heaven and hell, the immortal soul and the like: monotheism at its most primitive! This is what anyone who's ever heard of Zoroastrianism thinks about our philosophy. There are translations that support this interpretation. But we're encouraged to use our own minds and draw conclusions based on our aesthetic judgment. Personally, I'm much more attracted to evolutionist and pragmatist reasoning. I don't need monotheism to make my day.
So why not focus on what we have in common? It's the ethical imperative: to maintain a constructive mentality even in a hostile environment, to adapt a co-creative attitude towards existence, to have good thoughts, speak good words and do good things in life. This is what matters the most, since we can't verify theories: we can only observe the effects of how theories are being applied. Where does this leaves us? Whether one chooses pantheism or panentheism doesn't really matter at all.

Ushta, Dino

Contingency and Spinozism

Dear Dino

Philosophy does not consist of statements. Statements are vocabulary only, pure and simple. Philosophy is the THOUGHT that goes between the lines, it is the intuition that we trace between statements. Which is precisely why analytic philosophy failed in its ambition to "nail language" (as the older Wittgenstein writes about the younger Wittgenstein). So you can quote Kant for all you like, you may still not grasp what he was THINKING which is what philosophy is all about (just like Art transcends a work of art, if not, then it is not a work of art but just a piece of craft etc).

So what is Spinoza aiming for? He is aiming for a STRONG ETHICS (the title of his most important work) and this ethics is an ethics that disregards the whole issue of determinism and/or contingency, and just demands a full identification with the things our bodies go through. The best example of Spinozist ethics is Zizek's study of Antigone in the spirit of Jacques Lacan. The fascination of the Greeks with Antigone was with the ice cold determined mindset that Antigone showed when acting upon her brother's unjust death. So there is a certain and efinite COLDNESS involved in pure ethics, in the ethical act as such. It is not an emotion we wait for, it is an ACT that is possibly (and possibly not) followed with the emotion we normally associate with "joy".

Ushta
Alexander

2009/9/15 Special Kain
- Dölj citerad text -



That's not a very clear answer. I know that the questions I raised are though and haven't been answered properly even within academic philosophy, but they're here to stay unless someone has a more interesting vocabulary on offer.
Could you please elaborate on Spinoza's joy as an ethical imperative and aesthetics replacing metaphysics as its foundation? And where does Spinoza make such statements? So far I only see Spinoza praising cognition in a universe that we can only experience as deterministic (without one's will interfering successfully). And where does contingency fit with this ethical imperative?
We have to be clear about these issues in order to move on and not talk past each other! The problem is far too interesting!!!

Ushta, Dino

--- Alexander Bard schrieb am Mo, 14.9.2009:


Von: Alexander Bard
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Contingency and Spinozism
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Montag, 14. September 2009, 22:59



Dear Dino

I don't believe that Spinoza's "joy" was even remotely close to the everyday concept of "joy".
What Spinoza is an attitude towards life that is far from emotional. It is much closer to the Zoroastrian concept of "asha" as an ethical idea rather than a summary of the physical laws of the universe.
As such, it is ETHICALLY inreresting. Spinoza was clearly the first thinker to see radical aesthetics as a foundation for ethics. Art replacing religion as the ultimate horizon of metaphysics.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/9/14 Special Kain



The problem with this ethical imperative is its call for undifferentiated affirmation. Do we have to accept anything that is going on? How do we draw a distinction between right and wrong choices? How shall this ethical imperative include our liberal hopes for a society that's less cruel? Where shall we draw a distinction between these liberal hopes and our private desires for self-creation and experimentation? If we are to seek joy in whatever we do, doesn't this mean that we have to become "partners in crime" and joyfully take part in our hegemonizing repression? These are questions that were posed decades ago, and they're still important. I haven't found any decent thinker who would have stepped beyond them and discovered new lands.
Yes, the will is a product of drives and contingency - an idiosyncratic and fragile construct that is continually being (re-)shaped. It's a collocation and arrangement of different drives that are competing with each other - a ceasefire.


Ushta, Dino

--- Alexander Bard schrieb am So, 13.9.2009:


Von: Alexander Bard
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Contingency and Spinozism
An: Ushta@yahoogroups. com
Datum: Sonntag, 13. September 2009, 21:31



Excellent thinking, Dino!!!
I'm grateful that you take the time to help us look at the "Zoroastrian thinkers" of the European tradition.
I would add that Spinoza stipulates an ethical IMPERATIVE. Joy is not a product of what we do or even of us doing the right thing, but rather joy is an ORDER. We should always seek joy in what we do. In this, Spinoza is totally in line with Zarathushtra. Zarathushtra's imperative is to LOVE THE WORLD FOR WHATEVER IT IS. This is identical with the ethics of Spinoza and also with the concept of "amor fati" with Nietzsche.
The important thing with Spinoza is that he removed the concept of "will" from its central place in our belief about our selves and replaced will with "drive" which later both Nietzsche and Freud could develop further towards our understanding of who we are today. Drive is the will of the body rather than the will as in the will of consciousness. Sure there is a will too, but the will is a product of drive mixed with contingency. That's how I would put the words.
Ushta
Alexander

2009/9/13 Special Kain



The next question would be: how deterministic was Spinoza?
According to him, we can't make conscious decisions. All decisions have been made unconsciously, without involving our current state of mind based on past experiences. There are only effects, since we're ignorant of any causes.
One's will is not unconditioned, but self-control being applied in the present and learning experiences projected into the future enable us to make conscious decisions and actively create new possibilities. Linear time being objectified and disconnected from the string of current events enables us to make plans. There are constraints, yet there's contingency in the sense that we could have chosen differently. Anthony Giddens' structuration theory could be useful here (as a vocabulary grasping the interplay between determining and influencing factors and one's conscious decisions based on self-control) .
Rorty's liberal ironism is all about accepting the fact that our vocabularies aren't final at all. There will always be something new and unanticipated around the next corner.. Spinoza's proto-determinism is all about accepting fate as it is and being affected and moved by positive feelings and thoughts, throwing ourselves into experiences and encounters that increase our happiness and help us realize, no matter how frosty and nasty the reactions will be. There's no unconditioned will, but there seems to be a call for unconditional optimism (but that's too simplistic).
Accepting contingency probably means to throw ourselves into new experiences consciously and joyfully, living without regrets, searching to increase our understanding in order to refine the enjoyment of life - always being aware that any decision could have been totally wrong (according to new environments taking shape). It's probably a fight against contingency, since we're struggling to create an environment that's most stimulating and affecting.
So, these are first steps (in English), I'm not supposed to answer the question once and for all (this question is resting on centuries). Any feedback, suggestions, corrections?

Ushta, Dino

--- Alexander Bard schrieb am So, 13.9.2009:


Von: Alexander Bard
Betreff: [Ushta] Contingency and Spinozism
An: Ushta@yahoogroups. com
Datum: Sonntag, 13. September 2009, 9:47



Excellent issue!!!

Before we dig deeper into this discussion, this is how Wikipedia defines contingency according to Richard Rorty:

1) The contingency of language

Here, Rorty argues that all language is contingent. Because only descriptions of the world can be true or false, and descriptions are made by humans, humans must make truth or falsity, as opposed to truth or falsity being determined by any innate property of the world being described. Green grass is not true or false, but "the grass is green" is. For example, I can say that 'the grass is green' and you could agree with that statement (making it true), but our use of the words to describe grass is independent of the grass itself. Without the human proposition, truth or falsity is simply irrelevant. Rorty consequently argues that all discussion of language in relation to reality should be abandoned, and that one should instead discuss vocabularies in relation to other vocabularies. .

He states that he will not exactly be making "arguments" in this book, because arguments, as communication mostly within one vocabulary, preclude novelty.

2) The contingency of selfhood

Rorty proposes that each of us has a set of beliefs whose contingency we more or less ignore, which he dubs our "final vocabulary." One of the ironist's greatest fears, according to Rorty, is that he will discover that he has been operating within someone else's final vocabulary all along; that he has not "self-created." It is his goal, therefore, to recontextualize the past that led to his historically contingent self, so that the past that defines him will be created by him, rather than creating him.

3) The contingency of a liberal community

Rorty begins this chapter by addressing critics who accuse him of irrationality and moral relativism. He asserts that accusations of irrationality are merely affirmations of vernacular "otherness." We use the term "irrational" when we come across a vocabulary that cannot be synthesized with our own, as when a father calls his son irrational for being scared of the dark, or when a son calls his father irrational for not checking under the bed for monsters. The vocabulary of "real monsters" is not shared between father and son, and so accusations of irrationality fly. As for moral relativism, for Rorty, this accusation can only be considered a criticism if one believes in a metaphysically salient and salutary moral, which Rorty firmly does not.

Rorty then discusses his liberal utopia. He gives no argument for liberalism, and believes that there have been and will be many ironists who are not liberal, but he does propose that we as members of a democratic society are becoming more and more liberal. In his utopia, people would never discuss restrictive metaphysical generalities such as "good", "moral", or "human nature", but would be allowed to communicate freely with each other on entirely subjective terms.

Rorty sees most cruelty as stemming from metaphysical questions like, "what is it to be human?", because questions such as these allow us to rationalize that some people are to be considered less than human, thus justifying cruelty to those people. In other words, we can only call someone "less than human" if we have a metaphysical "yardstick" with which to measure their prototypical human-ness.. If we deprive ourselves of this yardstick (by depriving ourselves of metaphysics altogether), we have no means with which to dehumanize anyone..


So where does that leave us? What is dear Dino's own opinion???

Ushta

Alexander

måndagen den 14:e september 2009

Spinoza's joy

Dear Dino

I don't believe that Spinoza's "joy" was even remotely close to the everyday concept of "joy".
What Spinoza is an attitude towards life that is far from emotional. It is much closer to the Zoroastrian concept of "asha" as an ethical idea rather than a summary of the physical laws of the universe.
As such, it is ETHICALLY inreresting. Spinoza was clearly the first thinker to see radical aesthetics as a foundation for ethics. Art replacing religion as the ultimate horizon of metaphysics.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/9/14 Special Kain
- Dölj citerad text -



The problem with this ethical imperative is its call for undifferentiated affirmation. Do we have to accept anything that is going on? How do we draw a distinction between right and wrong choices? How shall this ethical imperative include our liberal hopes for a society that's less cruel? Where shall we draw a distinction between these liberal hopes and our private desires for self-creation and experimentation? If we are to seek joy in whatever we do, doesn't this mean that we have to become "partners in crime" and joyfully take part in our hegemonizing repression? These are questions that were posed decades ago, and they're still important. I haven't found any decent thinker who would have stepped beyond them and discovered new lands.
Yes, the will is a product of drives and contingency - an idiosyncratic and fragile construct that is continually being (re-)shaped. It's a collocation and arrangement of different drives that are competing with each other - a ceasefire.


Ushta, Dino

Pantheism vs Panentheism

Dear Mehran

Pantheism was the ideology of all Indo-European faiths.
There was no reason for them to even discuss pantheism because they could not in their wildest imagination believe in anything else but a pantheistic universe.
To discuss pantheism, you need an alternative opposite, like panentheism, to compare with.
But panentheism, the idea that God dwells outside of physical existence, did not exist until the Egyptians developed the idea. It was an alien idea to the Indo-Europeans, which is why Hinduism is Pantheist too.
But the Egytians pased the idea on to the Babylonians and the Jews which gave birth to the Abrahamic faiths.
The Indo-Europeans never took on this idea.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/9/14 Special Kain
- Dölj citerad text -



Dear Mehran,

Please don't mix science with metaphysics! There is nothing to prove, simply because this is a question of (personal) taste. So either you're attracted to pantheism or the idea that there was The Almighty Creator sitting above the clouds far, far away and spying on us.
In the media Zoroastrianism is still that primitive proto-Christian faith that invented god and the devil, heaven and hell, the immortal soul and the like: monotheism at its most primitive! This is what anyone who's ever heard of Zoroastrianism thinks about our philosophy. There are translations that support this interpretation. But we're encouraged to use our own minds and draw conclusions based on our aesthetic judgment. Personally, I'm much more attracted to evolutionist and pragmatist reasoning. I don't need monotheism to make my day.
So why not focus on what we have in common? It's the ethical imperative: to maintain a constructive mentality even in a hostile environment, to adapt a co-creative attitude towards existence, to have good thoughts, speak good words and do good things in life. This is what matters the most, since we can't verify theories: we can only observe the effects of how theories are being applied. Where does this leaves us? Whether one chooses pantheism or panentheism doesn't really matter at all.

Ushta, Dino

söndagen den 13:e september 2009

Spinoza and Contingency

Excellent thinking, Dino!!!
I'm grateful that you take the time to help us look at the "Zoroastrian thinkers" of the European tradition.
I would add that Spinoza stipulates an ethical IMPERATIVE. Joy is not a product of what we do or even of us doing the right thing, but rather joy is an ORDER. We should always seek joy in what we do. In this, Spinoza is totally in line with Zarathushtra. Zarathushtra's imperative is to LOVE THE WORLD FOR WHATEVER IT IS. This is identical with the ethics of Spinoza and also with the concept of "amor fati" with Nietzsche.
The important thing with Spinoza is that he removed the concept of "will" from its central place in our belief about our selves and replaced will with "drive" which later both Nietzsche and Freud could develop further towards our understanding of who we are today. Drive is the will of the body rather than the will as in the will of consciousness. Sure there is a will too, but the will is a product of drive mixed with contingency. That's how I would put the words.
Ushta
Alexander

2009/9/13 Special Kain


- Dölj citerad text -

The next question would be: how deterministic was Spinoza?
According to him, we can't make conscious decisions. All decisions have been made unconsciously, without involving our current state of mind based on past experiences. There are only effects, since we're ignorant of any causes.
One's will is not unconditioned, but self-control being applied in the present and learning experiences projected into the future enable us to make conscious decisions and actively create new possibilities. Linear time being objectified and disconnected from the string of current events enables us to make plans. There are constraints, yet there's contingency in the sense that we could have chosen differently. Anthony Giddens' structuration theory could be useful here (as a vocabulary grasping the interplay between determining and influencing factors and one's conscious decisions based on self-control).
Rorty's liberal ironism is all about accepting the fact that our vocabularies aren't final at all. There will always be something new and unanticipated around the next corner.. Spinoza's proto-determinism is all about accepting fate as it is and being affected and moved by positive feelings and thoughts, throwing ourselves into experiences and encounters that increase our happiness and help us realize, no matter how frosty and nasty the reactions will be. There's no unconditioned will, but there seems to be a call for unconditional optimism (but that's too simplistic).
Accepting contingency probably means to throw ourselves into new experiences consciously and joyfully, living without regrets, searching to increase our understanding in order to refine the enjoyment of life - always being aware that any decision could have been totally wrong (according to new environments taking shape). It's probably a fight against contingency, since we're struggling to create an environment that's most stimulating and affecting.
So, these are first steps (in English), I'm not supposed to answer the question once and for all (this question is resting on centuries). Any feedback, suggestions, corrections?

Ushta, Dino

--- Alexander Bard schrieb am So, 13.9.2009:


Von: Alexander Bard
Betreff: [Ushta] Contingency and Spinozism
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Sonntag, 13. September 2009, 9:47



Excellent issue!!!

Before we dig deeper into this discussion, this is how Wikipedia defines contingency according to Richard Rorty:

1) The contingency of language

Here, Rorty argues that all language is contingent. Because only descriptions of the world can be true or false, and descriptions are made by humans, humans must make truth or falsity, as opposed to truth or falsity being determined by any innate property of the world being described. Green grass is not true or false, but "the grass is green" is. For example, I can say that 'the grass is green' and you could agree with that statement (making it true), but our use of the words to describe grass is independent of the grass itself. Without the human proposition, truth or falsity is simply irrelevant. Rorty consequently argues that all discussion of language in relation to reality should be abandoned, and that one should instead discuss vocabularies in relation to other vocabularies.

He states that he will not exactly be making "arguments" in this book, because arguments, as communication mostly within one vocabulary, preclude novelty.

2) The contingency of selfhood

Rorty proposes that each of us has a set of beliefs whose contingency we more or less ignore, which he dubs our "final vocabulary." One of the ironist's greatest fears, according to Rorty, is that he will discover that he has been operating within someone else's final vocabulary all along; that he has not "self-created." It is his goal, therefore, to recontextualize the past that led to his historically contingent self, so that the past that defines him will be created by him, rather than creating him.

3) The contingency of a liberal community

Rorty begins this chapter by addressing critics who accuse him of irrationality and moral relativism. He asserts that accusations of irrationality are merely affirmations of vernacular "otherness." We use the term "irrational" when we come across a vocabulary that cannot be synthesized with our own, as when a father calls his son irrational for being scared of the dark, or when a son calls his father irrational for not checking under the bed for monsters. The vocabulary of "real monsters" is not shared between father and son, and so accusations of irrationality fly. As for moral relativism, for Rorty, this accusation can only be considered a criticism if one believes in a metaphysically salient and salutary moral, which Rorty firmly does not.

Rorty then discusses his liberal utopia. He gives no argument for liberalism, and believes that there have been and will be many ironists who are not liberal, but he does propose that we as members of a democratic society are becoming more and more liberal. In his utopia, people would never discuss restrictive metaphysical generalities such as "good", "moral", or "human nature", but would be allowed to communicate freely with each other on entirely subjective terms.

Rorty sees most cruelty as stemming from metaphysical questions like, "what is it to be human?", because questions such as these allow us to rationalize that some people are to be considered less than human, thus justifying cruelty to those people. In other words, we can only call someone "less than human" if we have a metaphysical "yardstick" with which to measure their prototypical human-ness. If we deprive ourselves of this yardstick (by depriving ourselves of metaphysics altogether), we have no means with which to dehumanize anyone.


So where does that leave us? What is dear Dino's own opinion???

Ushta

Alexander

2009/9/12 Special Kain



Dear friends,

How would Spinozists deal with the issue of contingency?
Parviz, Alexander, anyone?

Ushta, Dino

--- Special Kain schrieb am Fr, 4.9.2009:


Von: Special Kain
Betreff: [Ushta] Divine justice and contingency #2
An: Ushta@yahoogroups. com
Datum: Freitag, 4. September 2009, 9:53



Dear friends,

I do seriously believe that this is an important issue that we have to discuss in detail: contingency and suffering.
First of all, there's no martyrdom in Zoroastrianism. Western converts have grown up in societies that are still influenced by Christianity' s obsession with suffering and pain, somehow. We've been tricked into believing that suffering and creativity were inextricably linked with each other. He is a true artist who is prone to suffering and melancholy.. But we only have to look at the kids to see what's true: they're terribly excited and easily affected by their surroundings, and they're creativity machines!
It's the Nietzschean question: How do we (as Zoroastrians) desire to cope with suffering and contingency, since meaningless suffering is worse than mere suffering? Are we supposed to give meaning to suffering or rather overcome the whole concept? The latter, I guess.
Any feedback, comments, ideas?

Ushta, Dino