måndagen den 30:e november 2009

Alexander Bard speaking out about Zoroastrianism on Kurdish International Television - in English! Part 2

Thank you for your kind words, Yezad!
And please feel free to spread the TV link if you like.
I believe it is of the outmost importance that we declare Mazdayasna as "The Iranian Philosophy". This will provide Iranian youth with a fantastic opportunity to embrace Zoroastrianism and the Zoroastrian way of life as "theirs", as both a reference to the best from Iranian history, a rich source of pride, and also the best possible way forward for Iranian (and likewise Kurdish and Tajik)) culture and way of life.
The great thing with declaring Zoroastrianism as a philosophy and not a religion is that we then don't have to get involved with "the war between religions". After all, our primary concern is not which religion people say they belong to, but is to give people the means to think, speak and act in the best way possible. That is our mission!
Ushta
Alexander

2009/11/30

Absolutely brilliant, Alexander. Very lucidly ezplained.

Yezad

----- Original Message -----
From: Alexander Bard
To: Ushta
Sent: Monday, November 30, 2009 3:41 AM
Subject: [Ushta] Alexander Bard speaking out about Zoroastrianism on Kurdish International Television - in English!


Dear Friends

I recorded a lenghty interview in English earliter today, on Kurdish International TV channel Asosat with the wonderful TV show host Shilan Saidi (wearing a beautiful Fahrvahar necklace for the interview in question).
You can now look at the interview, if you are interested, at the following Asosat homepage link:
http://www.asosat.tv/English/?movie=/info/728/alexander-bard-on-zoroastianism
I'm speaking about my books and other work for about 10 minutes. The remaining 30 minutes of the interview are concentrated completely on the issue of contemporary Zoroastrianism.
Please feel free to spread the link to as many English-speakers as you wish.

Best
Alexander

Suffering (against) and polyvalence (for)!

The problem with suffering is that is held sacred not only within Hinduism and Buddhism but even more so within the Abrahamic religions. Definitely within Islam and Judaism, but also in Christianity: Every church in the world has Christ hanging on a cross. Always this glorification of suffering! Here Zoroastrianism rather has something - but something very good - in common with Paganism. The Pagans did not hold suffering as sacred. All for the better! Because sufering was introduced as "the suffering of the master" as to ENTITLE the master to hold his power. When Buddha said that all life is suffering (he was a prince!) he was rather pathetic according to me. Masters do not suffer, it is the slaves who do. But it is not sacred and should be dealt with and removed, definitely not held as an ideal.
Another Zoroastrian ethical ideal is modesty. Zarathushtra is opposed to zealotry. Another very interesting and unique ethical principle! Zarathushtra is polyvalent, difference of opinion is good in itself. This is why it was the Zoroastrians who invented human rights (a principle based on the notion that difference of opinion is good for all mankind and should be nurtured and not opposed).
Ushta
Alexander

2009/11/30 Zaneta Garratt

Hi Ardeshir, I definately agree with you here, the problem is that some super-religious people glorify suffering, i have never held this view as i have found it to be rather weird and counter-productive-and I enjoy the way you refer to Avestan words which makes this all come alive-think how good it would be if suffering was to be eliminated from the world-the Utaliterian idea anyway was to act so that your give happiness to the most amount of people you can, a very Zoroastrain idea-"happy is he who gives happiness to others", Best wishes from zaneta

To: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
From: ardeshir72@gmail.com
Date: Sun, 29 Nov 2009 21:57:05 -0800
Subject: Re: [Ushta] Too many translations of Ahura Mazda


The Zoroastrian View on Suffering and Sorrow

We in the Zoroastrian faith do NOT cherish suffering, NEITHER do we believe that suffering is indispensable to progress and growth. In fact, one of the worst enemies of progress in our view is suffering and sorrow. It is our duty to fight sorrow, and never cause any additional suffering in the world. It is the Zoroastrian view that progress is made through cheerfulness, serenity, clear and calm intelligence. In our view, calamities in the material world, are the work of the hostile forces.

We read in the last line of Yasna 34.11; "mazdâ vîdvaêshãm thwôi ahî."
Like almost all the gathic verses, this verse has a number of meanings due to the intentional sound-word play. If we read "vî-dvaêshãm," it means "Mazda, you are without hostility and exempt from infliction," or that "You do not deceive."

If we read "vîdvaêshãm," it means "You are victorious (have wit/win with vision) over hostility and afliction." "vîdvaêshãm" could come from the avestan root "vid," O.N. vit, Dan.vid, Swed. vett, O.Fris. wit, O.H.G. wizzi; vision, to know, ABILITY TO MAKE SMART MOVES IN AN AMAZING FASHION."

Based on the same gathic verse, we read in the Ohrmazd Yasht or the hymn to Ahura Maza; "cathru-dasô imat vîdvaêshtvô," my fourteenth (name) is the remover of all sorrow and harm.

We further read in the 14th verse of the same hymn: "a-devish nãma ahmi," my name is he who does not deceive; "vî-davish nãma ahmi," my name is he who is not deceived; "paiti-pâyush nãma ahmi," my name is the protector of all; "tbaêshô-taur-våw nãma ahmi" my name is he who destroys/tears down malice; "hathra-vana nãma ahmi," my name is he who is victorious/wins at once; "vîspa-vana nãma ahmi," my name is he who wins all; "vîspa-tash nãma ahmi," my name is he who has shaped everything.(Avestan "tash" is the same as Gk. tekhno-, tekhne "art, skill, craft, method, system," Skt. taksan," Latin. textere "to weave;" the word technology comes from the same root.) "vîspa-khvâthra nãma ahmi," my name is All weal; "pouru-khvâthra nãma ahmi," my name is the fullness of weal; "khvâthra-våw nãma ahmi, " my name is the Master of weal.

But if Ahura Mazda is "vîspa-tash" the shaper of all, and creator of all things through his auspicious spirit, (Yasna 44.7;) where does enmity, evil, hostility, suffering and calamity come from???? The whole universe is the manifestation of Ahura Mazda' s SUPERB CREATIVITY, but a manifestation which is PARTIALLY WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE and AWARENESS of its GENIAL ORIGIN.

In other words, evil and calamities are a direct result of dullness and slow-wit in the material universe. Evil is not creative, but ultimately DULL and of poor understanding. It drifts aimlessly and without much forethought and causes calamity. This is a view quiet opposite to the traditional christian doctrine that blames the original sin on eating from the tree of knowledge. In Zoroastrianism, it is dullness and poor judgment on part of the material manifestation that gave birth to evil and suffering. It could be very well said that when inhabitants of the material universe ate the fruit of of slow-wit and poor understanding they found evil.

The superb creativity and genius of Ahura Mazda is the wonderful truth that must be fully realized in our material plane and then all evil and suffering will disappear. And that is our mission.

Ardeshir

söndagen den 29:e november 2009

The Zoroastrian attitude towards suffering and sorrow

Exactly!!! Soooo well put, Ardeshir!
Like I said in my interview with Kurdish TV yesterday: As a Zoroastrian, you are not allowed to turn yourself into a victim and then NURTURE your victimhood. This is also why I have always claimed that Zarathushtra is philosophically speaking extremely close to Spinoza and Nietzsche in his ethics (with the exception that he is the originator of these ideas, having lived more than 3,000 years before the other two guys!!!). Evil is banal, more than anything, it is the LACK of life, the lack of creativity, the lack of self-respect (from those who do evil), it is short-sighted and impulsive rather than long-term and creative (the Zoroastrian ethical ideals).
What is important about this is also the consequences this has in relation to Indian philosophy: This is where Mazdayasna (Iranian philosophy) is radically DIFFERENT from Brahmanism in India. Our distancing from suffering as the basic premise for existence also means that there is no need for reincarnation in Zoroastrianism. Life comes from and returns to the universe, this is how life is "recycled" according to us (rather then endlessly traveling from one body to another). It is not so much "the eternal return of the same" but rather "the eternal return of the always slightly different due to our and asha's creative input".
Consequently, Zoroastrianism has no asceticism. This makes it unique among leading religions. I would even go so far as to say that for Zarathushtra the ethics of living life to its fullest potential, in balance with our surroundings, constructively and creatively is even an ethical IMPERATIVE: Don't wait for the feeling to come along, just do it, and the feeling will arrive with your actions! He is consequently not a moralist, Zarathushtra is a strong ETHICIST.
Ushta
Alexander

2009/11/30 ardeshir farhmand



The Zoroastrian View on Suffering and Sorrow

We in the Zoroastrian faith do NOT cherish suffering, NEITHER do we believe that suffering is indispensable to progress and growth. In fact, one of the worst enemies of progress in our view is suffering and sorrow. It is our duty to fight sorrow, and never cause any additional suffering in the world. It is the Zoroastrian view that progress is made through cheerfulness, serenity, clear and calm intelligence. In our view, calamities in the material world, are the work of the hostile forces.

We read in the last line of Yasna 34.11; "mazdâ vîdvaêshãm thwôi ahî."
Like almost all the gathic verses, this verse has a number of meanings due to the intentional sound-word play. If we read "vî-dvaêshãm," it means "Mazda, you are without hostility and exempt from infliction," or that "You do not deceive."

If we read "vîdvaêshãm," it means "You are victorious (have wit/win with vision) over hostility and afliction." "vîdvaêshãm" could come from the avestan root "vid," O.N. vit, Dan.vid, Swed. vett, O.Fris. wit, O.H.G. wizzi; vision, to know, ABILITY TO MAKE SMART MOVES IN AN AMAZING FASHION."

Based on the same gathic verse, we read in the Ohrmazd Yasht or the hymn to Ahura Maza; "cathru-dasô imat vîdvaêshtvô," my fourteenth (name) is the remover of all sorrow and harm.

We further read in the 14th verse of the same hymn: "a-devish nãma ahmi," my name is he who does not deceive; "vî-davish nãma ahmi," my name is he who is not deceived; "paiti-pâyush nãma ahmi," my name is the protector of all; "tbaêshô-taur-våw nãma ahmi" my name is he who destroys/tears down malice; "hathra-vana nãma ahmi," my name is he who is victorious/wins at once; "vîspa-vana nãma ahmi," my name is he who wins all; "vîspa-tash nãma ahmi," my name is he who has shaped everything.(Avestan "tash" is the same as Gk. tekhno-, tekhne "art, skill, craft, method, system," Skt. taksan," Latin. textere "to weave;" the word technology comes from the same root.) "vîspa-khvâthra nãma ahmi," my name is All weal; "pouru-khvâthra nãma ahmi," my name is the fullness of weal; "khvâthra-våw nãma ahmi, " my name is the Master of weal.

But if Ahura Mazda is "vîspa-tash" the shaper of all, and creator of all things through his auspicious spirit, (Yasna 44.7;) where does enmity, evil, hostility, suffering and calamity come from???? The whole universe is the manifestation of Ahura Mazda' s SUPERB CREATIVITY, but a manifestation which is PARTIALLY WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE and AWARENESS of its GENIAL ORIGIN.

In other words, evil and calamities are a direct result of dullness and slow-wit in the material universe. Evil is not creative, but ultimately DULL and of poor understanding. It drifts aimlessly and without much forethought and causes calamity. This is a view quiet opposite to the traditional christian doctrine that blames the original sin on eating from the tree of knowledge. In Zoroastrianism, it is dullness and poor judgment on part of the material manifestation that gave birth to evil and suffering. It could be very well said that when inhabitants of the material universe ate the fruit of of slow-wit and poor understanding they found evil.

The superb creativity and genius of Ahura Mazda is the wonderful truth that must be fully realized in our material plane and then all evil and suffering will disappear. And that is our mission.

Ardeshir


On Sun, Nov 29, 2009 at 2:12 AM, Special Kain wrote:

Dear Ardeshir,

Brilliant!!! Thank you again and again!
It has never been about worshipping spooky father figures originally, but about creative and bright minds and their accomplishments! What you've just added, dear Ardeshir, reassures me that Bahram Varza's German translation is one of the best possible translations available. And it fits perfectly with what we've reformulated as Mazdayasna.

Ushta,
Dino

--- ardeshir farhmand schrieb am So, 29.11.2009:


Von: ardeshir farhmand
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Too many translations of Ahura Mazda
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Sonntag, 29. November 2009, 1:23



Dear Friends

ahura is the same as aesir in the norse mythology, and asura in the vedas, they all come from the root ah, as, ans meaning living force, supreme power, ... .

mazda is the same as metis in greek mythology, and medha in the vedas, also medhir in the vedas is a cognate. medhir is insight, understanding into the cosmic order, medha is wisdom, counsel, superb intelligence, understanding, genius.

it comes from the root mand, manz and there are a number of gathic passages including Yasna 31.6 that use and explain it through word play.

ahura is the FORCE, mazda is the ability to understand, figure out, GENIUS.

also if u take in the word play, mazda ahura not only means that GENIUS is the prime force of all the existences and being, it also suggests that genius/mazda is the ahura maximus, or the most magnificent FORCE .

the traditional translation is "mas danak khoday" which confirms the above assertions. notice the word play in danak which not only means wise, but wisdom and vision;
in other words wisdom, vision and genius is the zoroastrian supreme power of the universe.

i was about to write my weekly article in facebook on this subject with extensive etymology and gathic citations but due to e-mails recieved, will write about suffering and zoroastrian view on suffering. i will post them here as well.

also jaffary is NOT even remotely a gathic or avestan scholar, i appreciate some of his works and tireless energy over the years but using him or his rather boring translation as a source is a grave mistake. he merely repeats bartholeme with minor differences and his choice of words in his translation are rather poor. jaffary should be appreciated for his good work but calling him an scholar is inacurate.



On Sat, Nov 28, 2009 at 11:47 AM, Special Kain wrote:

Dear friends,

I'd like to have this settled once and for all: What does «Ahura Mazda» mean in English? Ali Jafarey claims that it means «The Wise (Mazda) Lord (Ahura)», Parviz Varjavand and I seem to agree that «Ahura» simply means «existence (that which exists)» and «Mazda» is «wisdom». Now I've read somewhere that it should mean «the force that creates (Ahura) wisdom (Mazda)». So we can all be sure that Mazda is «wisdom», but what about Ahura? There's a huge difference between existence and creativity (and mastery).

Ushta, Dino

Celebratring Azargan in Iran

Wonderful pictures, thank you!!!
I know Azargan is 100 days prior to Nowruz, but can you tell us more about this holiday?
Ushta
Alexander

2009/11/29 Bahman Noruziaan

Zartoshis in Iran celebrated Azar ruz from Azar Mah (Azargan)

Here are a few photo essays from Iran

In Ahrestab
http://www.berasad.com/fa/content/view/2856/43/
In Shiraz
http://www.berasad.com/fa/content/view/2843/50/
Ghasem Abad
http://www.berasad.com/fa/content/view/2841/48/
Ahvaz
http://www.berasad.com/fa/content/view/2840/50/
Tehran
http://www.berasad.com/fa/content/view/2839/48/

Alexander Bard speaking out about Zoroastrianism on Kurdish International Television - in English!

Dear Friends

I recorded a lenghty interview in English earlier today, on Kurdish International TV channel Asosat with the wonderful TV show host Shilan Saidi (wearing a beautiful Fahrvahar necklace for the interview in question).
You can now look at the interview, if you are interested, at the following Asosat homepage link:
http://www.asosat.tv/English/?movie=/info/728/alexander-bard-on-zoroastianism
I'm speaking about my books and other work for about 10 minutes. The remaining 30 minutes of the interview are concentrated completely on the issue of contemporary Zoroastrianism.
Please feel free to spread the link to as many English-speakers as you wish.

Best
Alexander

lördagen den 28:e november 2009

Translating Ahura Mazda?

Ahura and Mazda are two separate concepts and rarely used together.
So Zarathushtra uses "Ahura" when he speaks of "Existence" and "Mazda" when he speaks of "Mind".
When - rarely - used together in the Gathas, they simply are combined to strengthen together in an obvious wordplay (one word is feminine and one word is masculine and they are kept as such even when combined).
So Ahura Mazda is when existence and mind strengthen each other, as in a Hegelian way, to "be the world and make sense of the world in one go".
I would prefer the translation "Existence as manifested through Mind". But why translate at all?
I-m spending the weekend crossreading books on religion by Peter Sloterdjik and Slavoj Zizek. Sloterdjik wins hands down!
Ushta
Alexander

2009/11/28 Special Kain

Dear friends,

I'd like to have this settled once and for all: What does «Ahura Mazda» mean in English? Ali Jafarey claims that it means «The Wise (Mazda) Lord (Ahura)», Parviz Varjavand and I seem to agree that «Ahura» simply means «existence (that which exists)» and «Mazda» is «wisdom». Now I've read somewhere that it should mean «the force that creates (Ahura) wisdom (Mazda)». So we can all be sure that Mazda is «wisdom», but what about Ahura? There's a huge difference between existence and creativity (and mastery).

Ushta, Dino

Nietzsche and Zarathustra as Zarathushtra Part 2

Almost correct text!!!

However, I would prefer to change THIS quote:
"We should add that Nietzsche's description of the person of Zarathustra and the setting in which Nietzsche placed his Zarathustra are entirely a product of Nietzsche's imagination, though they do contain some interesting parallels which we note in our comments."

And instead phrase it this way:
"We should add that Nietzsche's description of the person of Zarathustra and the setting in which Nietzsche placed his Zarathustra are to a great extent a product of Nietzsche's imagination, though they do contain some interesting parallels which we note in our comments."

And as I have stated before, GERMAN anthropologists were far better versed in Sanskrit (and Avestan) literature than their Anglo-Saxon counterparts in the mid-19th century. Anthropology was very much a German and French endeavor and involved far fewer Anglo-Saxons. Which means British and American writers underrate how well the continentals understood oriental cultures already by 1850.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/11/28 Special Kain



And this one is about Nietzsche's understanding of Zoroastrianism:

http://www.heritageinstitute.com/zoroastrianism/westernauthors/nietzsche.htm

'nuff said,
Dino

--- Special Kain schrieb am Sa, 28.11.2009:


Von: Special Kain
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Nietzsche and Zarathustra as Zarathushtra
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Samstag, 28. November 2009, 17:18



Here's even more:

http://www.vohuman. org/Article/ Zarathushtra% 20and%20the% 20European% 20Experience. htm

It seems that Martin Haug was the first to distinguish the Gathas as the first and original scripture in the 1860's.
Here's one of his essays:

http://www.heritage institute. com/zoroastriani sm/reference/ martin_haug_ essays.pdf

Another two cents,
Dino

--- Special Kain schrieb am Sa, 28.11.2009:


Von: Special Kain
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Nietzsche and Zarathustra as Zarathushtra
An: Ushta@yahoogroups. com
Datum: Samstag, 28. November 2009, 17:04



Dear Ardeshir,

Kathleen Marie Higgins discusses the connection between the Gathas and Nietzsche's «Also sprach Zarathustra» in her book «Comic Relief: Nietzsche's Gay Science» based on Martin Haug's commentaries to the Gathas.
Formally and structurally, the Gathas and Nietzsche's philosophical novel are similarly composed, as if Nietzsche tried to formally and structurally copy the Gathas. I'm sure that Nietzsche read Haug's translation now, but - as far as I know - Haug's translation has been challenged and heavily criticized by German scholars. Martin Haug translated the whole Avesta and not only the Gathas, as did Bahram Varza who strongly believes that only the Gathas were the songs where the original Zoroastrianism (Mazdayasna as a philosophy rather than religion) is to be found.
More information on Haug's contributions and Nietzsche can be found here: http://www.gatha. org/english/ articles/ 000084.html

My two cents,
Dino

--- ardeshir farhmand schrieb am Sa, 28.11.2009:


Von: ardeshir farhmand
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Nietzsche and Zarathustra as Zarathushtra
An: Ushta@yahoogroups. com
Datum: Samstag, 28. November 2009, 16:43



i concur, nietzche's idea about creating a superman corresponds CLOSELY with the gathic view of bringing the "superb jewel of beautiful thinking and genius/vohû manô" in our physical universe and thereby opening awesome new horizons through this "genial vast consciousness/ vohû manô." the idea is repeated many times in the gathic verses, and there is a clear exposition of the above theme in the varshtmanthr book of commentaries on Yasna 28.

the seer, wants the material manifestati on to be empowered by a superb mind and awesome mental abilities. this empowerment will eliminate many restrictions and interia currently present in our physical universe. it is worthy to explore the last line of ahunvar formula when the prophet/bard talks about nurturing and empowering "drigubyô."

adrigyu in the vedas is an attribute of the vedic gods which suggests "unrestrained and awesome power of the gods."

a quality that zarathushtra wants for mankind by illuminating ahuric virtues/ powers (asha, middle persian ahrayih) in humanity and turning us into superhuman godlike beings of good.

there were a number of german translation of the gathas before, including the great work of Martin Haug and the collections of Karl Frierich Geldner. i think Haug is the true scholar/forerunner in the gathic studies and deserves much credit for his works. also we have bartholeme,, who i dissent many times with his views.

it is important to distinguish between true scholars and missionaries whose sole purpose was to "save souls" and convert people. the latter group were fundamentally biased and at the end wanted only to prove the supermacy of the evangelical christianity over all else. this does not mean that they were not fascinated by the gathic wisdom, for they were.

hence the importance of ancient commentaries and avestan cross refrences over western academics.

Ardeshir

Nietzsche and Zarathustra as Zarathushtra

No need to worry. Nietzsche definitely understood the original text.
Avesta is very close to Sanskrit and Nietzsche definitely understood Sanskrit.
He was after all a professor in Basel of PHILOLOGY and actually not philosophy.
And philologists all speak Latin, Greek and Sanskrit, you bet. Especially in the literature-centric Germany of the 19th century.
Nietzsche referred to Zarathushtra as "the originator of morality" in "Ecce Homo". Morality here being another word for what we today call Ethics (not to mistake it for moralism). Zarathushtra was the first thinker concerned with the creation of values as the creation of a meaning of life (I am my values, values are the motor of AESTHETICS, rather than anything else).
And in this, Nietzsche was of course absolutely right. Zarathushtra INVENTED Ethics (as opposed to blindly believing in nonsensical moralisms provided by gods through prophets). This is why he chose his character for "Also Sprach Zarathustra". The Man concerned with finding meaning in the world and overcoming all obstacles to become Superman.
Ushta
Alexander

2009/11/28 Special Kain



Varza's German translation was first published in 2008. There were several German translations available before. I've recently heard that even Nietzsche read the Gathas, but he only had a horrible full of mistakes by a jerk whose name I can't remember.

--- Alexander Bard schrieb am Sa, 28.11.2009:


Von: Alexander Bard
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] The Wisdom of The Gathas
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Samstag, 28. November 2009, 1:10



Dr. Varza would be more than welcome to join the Ushta List!!!
When was this German translation conducted? There must have been German translations as far back as the mid-19th century.
Ushta
Alexadner

2009/11/27 Special Kain



Dr. Varza also states that the Gathas comprise the original Zoroastrian philosophy (and he makes it abundantly clear that Zoroastrianism is a philosophy rather than religious faith) and the later Avestan texts were added by priests in the pursuit of their own selfish interests and striving for power, thus editing and modifying the original Zoroastrian philosophy in order to keep their new subordinates in line. Which is a radical and controversial break with the common picture of Zoroastrianism as presented in the mainstream media and most books.

I am very happy and proud to see that the first German translation of the Gathas ever was done and published by such a smart Zoroastrian! I'll see if I can contact him and invite him to join Ushta if everybody would be fine with it!

Ushta, Dino

--- Alexander Bard schrieb am Fr, 27.11.2009:


Von: Alexander Bard
Betreff: [Ushta] The Wisdom of The Gathas
An: Ushta@yahoogroups. com
Datum: Freitag, 27. November 2009, 12:46



Varza's translation seems to have caught the true SPIRIT of The Gathas precisely without pumping any Islamic or Christian perspective into the text. He has kept the text as it is, without adding any dualist thinking afterwards, something which was not there from the very beginning. The Gathas is a poetic and a philosophical text which is much more concerned with nurturing a correct PATHOS towards the world instead of preaching a perfect LOGOS to follow blindly. This is why it is a WISE and CREATIVE text and not a DIVINE or SACRED text, big difference!! !
Ushta
Alexander

2009/11/27 Special Kain



Dear Bahman,

Frankly, I don't have any problem whatsoever with your response to that journalist's remarks. And I also agree with Alexander that Zoroastrianism deserves a much better treatment in the American media. But that wasn't a case that would get me upset, simply because she's a journalist and therefore a professional sensationalist. And it seemed to have been a fun interview where she was supposed to make such «controversial» remarks. I'm a media sociologist and media economist, so perhaps I am a bit over-tolerant when it comes to professional journalism, since there are far worse cases. On the other hand, if we were to stop such media treatment, why not start right here and respond to Ana Marie Cox? So perhaps you were right to do so.

What really pisses me off is to have to explain that Zoroastrianism is not that primitive proto-Christian faith that everybody sees in it. In the past few days I've read the German translation of the Gathas by Dr. Bahram Varza and it's so profoundly different from Jafarey's that I don't see any reason anymore why anyone would promote such a gross misunderstanding of Zoroastrian philosophy. In Varza's translation, for example, there's no talk about any other worlds than our natural world - this one and only world where we're breathing air right now, logging in to our e-mail accounts and typing postings on Ushta. He even refused to translate such words as Ahura, Asha, Mazda, Khashatra or Armaity to German, but only noted what these words mean at the end of every song. The only unfortunate thing about his translation is that he would translate Ahura to «creator» («Schöpfer» in German).

Ushta, Dino

--- Bahman Noruziaan schrieb am Fr, 27.11.2009:


Von: Bahman Noruziaan
Betreff: RE: AW: [Ushta] a response to defamatory remarks by Ana Marie Cox-Political journalist
An: "Ushta Ushta"
Datum: Freitag, 27. November 2009, 1:47



Hello Dino,

Well I read her comments a couple of times and I did not see it the way that you have. However, I wonder what part of my message was extreme in your opinion?
What would be an apporopriate comment to this? Any comments or none at all from your point of view?

Bahman

fredagen den 27:e november 2009

Zoroastrianism according to Dr. Bahram Varza

“Zarathustra never imagined praising a God who is a bribe taker. The one, who is bribed by worship and then he rewards his worshiper with a part of paradise. The Almighty God is not a dealer, he is neither a buyer nor a seller, and does not need also to be flattered by his creatures. The almighty God of Zarathustra, is the initiator of justice, kindness, and truthfulness and guides his creatures to the same principles. That is why, Zarathustra, has based his philosophy on good reflection, good word, and good deed. In Zarathustra’s philosophy, everybody has the liberty to choose the right way, out of his/her good reflection and since human wisdom is more related to good reflection, thus the followers of Zoroastrianism should precede by each other to the propagation of science and education. In this manner, Zoroastrianism becomes the forerunner of knowledge and enlightenment.”

(Quote: Dr. Bahram Varza)

The Wisdom of The Gathas

Varza's translation seems to have caught the true SPIRIT of The Gathas precisely without pumping any Islamic or Christian perspective into the text. He has kept the text as it is, without adding any dualist thinking afterwards, something which was not there from the very beginning. The Gathas is a poetic and a philosophical text which is much more concerned with nurturing a correct PATHOS towards the world instead of preaching a perfect LOGOS to follow blindly. This is why it is a WISE and CREATIVE text and not a DIVINE or SACRED text, big difference!!!
Ushta
Alexander

2009/11/27 Special Kain

Dear Bahman,

Frankly, I don't have any problem whatsoever with your response to that journalist's remarks. And I also agree with Alexander that Zoroastrianism deserves a much better treatment in the American media. But that wasn't a case that would get me upset, simply because she's a journalist and therefore a professional sensationalist. And it seemed to have been a fun interview where she was supposed to make such «controversial» remarks. I'm a media sociologist and media economist, so perhaps I am a bit over-tolerant when it comes to professional journalism, since there are far worse cases. On the other hand, if we were to stop such media treatment, why not start right here and respond to Ana Marie Cox? So perhaps you were right to do so.

What really pisses me off is to have to explain that Zoroastrianism is not that primitive proto-Christian faith that everybody sees in it. In the past few days I've read the German translation of the Gathas by Dr. Bahram Varza and it's so profoundly different from Jafarey's that I don't see any reason anymore why anyone would promote such a gross misunderstanding of Zoroastrian philosophy. In Varza's translation, for example, there's no talk about any other worlds than our natural world - this one and only world where we're breathing air right now, logging in to our e-mail accounts and typing postings on Ushta. He even refused to translate such words as Ahura, Asha, Mazda, Khashatra or Armaity to German, but only noted what these words mean at the end of every song. The only unfortunate thing about his translation is that he would translate Ahura to «creator» («Schöpfer» in German).

Ushta, Dino

--- Bahman Noruziaan schrieb am Fr, 27.11.2009:


Von: Bahman Noruziaan
Betreff: RE: AW: [Ushta] a response to defamatory remarks by Ana Marie Cox-Political journalist
An: "Ushta Ushta"
Datum: Freitag, 27. November 2009, 1:47


Hello Dino,

Well I read her comments a couple of times and I did not see it the way that you have. However, I wonder what part of my message was extreme in your opinion?
What would be an apporopriate comment to this? Any comments or none at all from your point of view?

Bahman

torsdagen den 26:e november 2009

Zoroastrianism discredited in Washington Post

Well done, Bahman!
You have not taken your understanding of the article for granted but merely pointed out that Zoroastrianism deserves a better treatment in American media. This is absolutely right.
Ushta
Alexander

2009/11/26 Bahman Noruziaan

Here is my comments to The Washington Post regarding Ana Marie Cox's reference to us!

********************************************
In
Balance of Power with Tucker Carlson and Ana Marie Cox
Tucker Carlson and Ana Marie Cox
Political Journalists
Monday, November 9, 2009; 12:00 PM
Ana Marie Cox has made the following statement.
“Also, why aren't more crazy people Zoroastrians? Not that I want to imply that there's anything crazy (relatively speaking!) about Zoroastrainism, but man does it SOUND scary. Like, just the name, you know? "Zoroaster" could be the villain in a Ghostbusters sequel or something.”
Does Ana Marie Cox mean that only some crazy people are Zoroastrians or does she mean that the Zoroastrian People are crazy?
No matter whatever she means, for her education and your readers education, I need to say a few words.
Zoroastrianism is the most ancient practiced monotheistic religion of the world! It was the dominant religion of ancient Achaemenid, Parthians and Sasanian empires of ancient Persia. Does she recall the name Cyrus the Great? The summary teaching of Zoroastrianism is the three simple but profoundly important mottos of “Good Thoughts”, “Good Words” and “Good Deeds”.
Zoroastrianism went through more than 1400 years of downfall after the invasion of its homeland, i.e. Persia, by the army of Muslim Arabs.
The founder of Zoroastrianism is Zarathushtra or Zoroaster as he was referred to by the ancient Greeks. Zoroastrians in India are called the Parsis. Parsis in India, are highly regarded with respect because of their unbiased philanthropy and contribution to the Indian Nation.
In Iran which is the homeland of Zoroastrianism, Zoroastrians or the “Zartoshtis” as they are called in Persian language, are regarded with respect for their honesty and good characters.
The Zoroastrians in North America, despite their population of around 10,000 have been and are doing their faithful and in many cases professional services to the societies that they reside in.
I beleive an apology for such an uneducated reference to Zoroastrians and Zoroastrianism as one of the major contributors to human civilization is due.
Regards
Bahman Noruziaan, PhD
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

onsdagen den 25:e november 2009

Freddie Mercury and Zoroastrianism

Dear Zaneta

Thanks for sharing this posting with us.
It should be noted that Freddie Mercury only was a performance name.
"Freddie Mercury" stood for his real passport name: Faroukh Bulsara, which he carried with pride in private.
Faroukh is an iconic figure both for music fans, Zoroastrians and gay rights campaigners throughout the world.
Nobody has contributed more prestige and goodwill to the Zoroastrian religion in modern times than him.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/11/25 Zaneta Garratt

The following excerpts are from Rick Sky's book The Show Must Go On: The Life of Freddie Mercury (Citadel Press/Carol Publishing Group: New York City, NY, 1994). These excerpts can all be found in the adherents.com com article The Religious Affiliation of Freddie Mercury.

[from pages 8-9]:
Just like Mercury himself, the occasion [of his funeral], which the singer had spent weeks planning in meticulous detail, was a bewildering mixture of flamboyance and secrecy, witnessing the collision of two very different worlds--the modern world of rock music and the ancient world of the Zoroastrian religion, in which Mercury had been brought up.

Zoroastrianism is one of the world's oldest and most exclusive religions. Founded by the prophet Zoroaster (or Zarathustra) in 600 B.C., it has only 120,000 members worldwide and just 6,000 in Britain. Its followers see life as a battle between two spirits, Spenta Mainyu, the "Bounteous Spirit," and Angra Mainyu, the "Destructive Spirit." Whichever one a Zoroastrian lives his life by determines where he or she goes to after death. The final resting place is the Zoroastrian equivalent to the Christian heaven or hell.

As Mercury's oak coffin was carried into the chapel, covererd in a satin sheet and topped with a single red rose, Zoroastrian priests, dressed in white muslin robes and caps, chanted traditional prayers to their god Ahura Mazda, also known as the Wise Lord, for the salvation of the singer's soul. Throughout the twenty-five minute service, conducted totally in the ancient Avestan langauge, the priests used no word of English other than commands to the forty mourners to stand and sit.

Mercury had insisted on his funeral being a private, low-key affair, and the magical ancient ceremony was attended only by extremely close friends and family, as he had wished. The singer's parents, Bomi and Jer Bulsara, wept throughout as did Mary Austin and Elton John. Among the other tearful mourners were sixties drummer turned impresario Dave Clark, the three remaining members of Queen, and Brian May's girlfriend, former EastEnders' soap star Anita Dobson.

[pages 12-16]:
Mercury's parents were both Parsees and devout followers of the Zoroastrian religion, and it was in Bombay that the largest Parsee community in the world was to be found. In the tenth century, after the Islamic invasion of Persia, the Parsees fled to India, where they were free to practice their religion. India had a reputation as one of the most tolerant countries in the world when it came to religion, and in Bombay, with its polyglot population, many of the world's religious groups--Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, and Zoroastrians--lived side by side.

The Parsees were one of the most economically successful communities in Bombay. In their early days they had adopted the language and dress of India's largest religious group, the Hindus, but they later exchanged them for the customs and way of life of India's former colonial masters, the British. So the young Freddie was to receive a typical British public school education, even if it was achieved thousands of miles away from Eton and Harrow.

India, at the time the young Mercury arrived, had a population of 400 million, and Bombay was its largest city--and the world's seventh biggest. A harbor port lying on India's western seaboard overlooking the Arabian Sea, it was the country's financial and commercial center. Bombay was a fantastic place for Freddie to grow up in. He loved playing in its winding, narrow streets and visiting the beautiful Hanging Gardens in the affluent Malabar Hill area close by the Parsee hospital. He loved going to the bazaar to watch the snake charmers weave their magical, hypnotic tunes, or to gape wide-eyed at the fakirs, Indian holy men, lying on their beds of nails. In those crammed markets he would watch the traders sell the city's most exotic wares as he feasted on mangoes, coconuts, and litchis. In the afternoon he would go to the harbor and look out on a sea of ships laden with tea, cotton, and rice, ready to set off on voyages to distant parts.

Mercury enjoyed his boarding school, too. He excelled in sports, particularly cricket, boxing, and table tennis. The fast, furious pace of table tennis--involving a mixture of dexterity and speed--was something he was especially skilled in and he became one of the school champions at the sport. It was at school in Bombay that Mercury also began the piano lessons that were to be crucial to those florid, bombastic compositions for which Queen became known. The city was a bizarre musical melting pot, where the eleven-year-old was simultaneously exposed to the classics and operas that his cultured parents loved, the meandering rhythms and romance of Indian music, and a pinch of that relatively new phenomenon, rock and roll, which was slowly beginning to invade the world.

Religion, too, played an important role in Mercury's life, and he went with other Zoroastrian youngsters to the fire temples where the Parsees worship. The sacred fires are a crucial part of their religion, and prayers are said in front of them as an affirmation of a believer's faith. They are kept permanently burning--in some parts of Iran there are fires that are two thousand years old--and are tended five times a day by the priests of the temple.

At the age of eight Freddie became a full member of the Zoroastrian religion in the majestic Mayjote ceremony, during which the young initiate was given a purifying bath while the head priest chanted prayers. (The bath symbolizes physical cleanliness, which devotees regard as essential for the cleansing of the mind and soul.) Then/ in front of one of the eternal fires, he repeated the prayers of the priests, accepting the Zoroastrian religion as revealed by Ahura Mazda to Zoroaster, and was given his sudreh, a shirt made out of white muslin, symbol of innocence and purity. Around his waist the priest then tied the kusti, a cord made out of the finest and purest white lamb's wool and symbolizing the girding of the loins to serve humanity. The kusti was wrapped around him three times to remind the young boy of the three aspects of Ahura Mazda as creator, preserver, and reconstructor, and the initiate was expected to wear it for the rest of his life. Finally Mercury was showered with rice, rose petals, coconut, and pomegranate and dressed in his new clothes. Rusi Dalal, a friend of Mercury's family says of the Navjote ceremony: "It is one of the most important events in the religion and everyone from the Parsee community is invited. It is a very festive and enjoyable event."

Later Freddie was to talk affectionately about his years at boarding school. Many pop stars recall their schooldays as a horrific period that they could not wait to finish, but not so Mercury: "My time at boarding school was very enjoyable..."

söndagen den 22:e november 2009

ARZ’s relentless pursuit

Being deeply concerned about the rapidly dwindling numbers of Parsee Zoroastrians in India, a few individuals having the interest of Zoroastrianism at heart have formed this association called ARZ, in June 2004.

ARZ is a public charitable trust duly registered under The Bombay Public Trusts Act 1950. ARZ is also registered under The Income Tax Act 1961.

ARZ strongly believes that the message of our Holy Prophet Zarathushtra is for all mankind. There are innumerable stanzas in our Holy Scriptures that say so, in very clear terms.

However the Parsees in India have drifted away from the divine universal message of our prophet and have converted our great revealed religion in to a small ‘club’ by following the religiously incorrect school of thought that preaches the so called ‘racial’ purity. In their mistaken zeal to maintain racial purity the Parsees in India have brought our great universal religion to the brink of extinction.

The Zoroastrian population in India is diminishing fast and will diminish faster in the years to come because 35% of its population is in the ‘above 60 years’ age group. In about 20 years Zoroastrians shall be no more than 20,000 in India.

More than 30 Zoroastrian Anjumans(Associations) in various cities and villages of Gujarat, Maharashtra and other states in India are defunct because there are no Zoroastrians left there.

What has happened to the vast Zoroastrian properties including the agiyaries, dharamshalas, etc. in those cities & villages? These have been encroached upon by the local people who have no connection with our religion.

The Agiyari in Diu (Gujarat) is now a Church because Zoroastrians have become extinct there.

With the rapidly dwindling population it is apparent that what has happened in other cities and villages will happen in cities like Mumbai and Pune in the next 20 years.

According to Government of India Census 2002, the Parsi population in India is 69,000 only, and is reducing at the rate of about 1,000 persons per year. As of date our strength would therefore be in the region of just 62,000!!

With this trend continuing, Parsi Agiyaries and baugs are eventually and inevitably going to be occupied by others. It therefore makes sense to allow and accept at least the children and the spouse of inter-married Zoroastrians in to the faith rather than submit religious institutions/properties to people who have no connection with the religion.

If the declining population trend is not reversed, a real tragedy awaits the Parsis. The divine message of the Prophet is likely to be wiped out from our motherland, India if the community continues to turn a blind eye to the imminent danger of extinction.

On an average 3 bodies are consigned to the Dokhmas at the Doongerwadi in Mumbai. Are 3 Zoroastrian babies born everyday in Mumbai? The writing is on the wall. For how long will our Parsees continue to adopt the ostrich attitude?

Over 40% of Parsees in India marry outside the community. This trend seems to have become irreversible now. The children of the Dasturs in India have also intermarried. Yet the so called orthodox continue to bury their heads in the sand, and refuse to see the imminent danger of extinction.

The situation is dangerous. It is therefore of utmost importance that no more inter-married Zoroastrians are lost. It needs to be appreciated that when you lose one inter-married Zoroastrian, you also lose all his/her future generations.

The Japanese have started worrying and planning about their declining population growth though they are 120 million in numbers as against only 62,000 Zoroastrians in India. At the current rate of decline Japanese will not die out in 300 years whereas the alarm bells are already ringing for the Zoroastrians in India. Sadly, in India, the persons in power including the priests are unable to hear these alarm bells.

One sincerely hopes that the Parsee community in India wakes up to this danger of extinction.

Today the situation is such that the Parsee community in India has kept its door open ONE-WAY, and that is, the door to throw people out if they inter-marry. This needs to be stopped immediately. The intermarried Zoroastrians and their progeny have an equal right to worship and follow Zoroastrianism without any discrimination, if they so desire. There is simply no Zoroastrian law or injunction against it. On the contrary stopping such people from following the teachings of our prophet is a grave religious sin.

ARZ desires that in the case of inter-married couples, their spouses, whether male or female, and children, must be initiated into the Zoroastrian faith, if they so desire. ARZ has been performing marriages through the Zoroastrian rites and also performing Navjotes, as mentioned above, through various learned mobeds on its panel.

ARZ also provides assistance to childless parsee couples who desire to adopt children.

The Dokhmas in Mumbai, Pune and all other places across India have failed in the absence of Vultures. The condition therein is pathetic. Yet those in power refuse to provide an alternate means of disposal to the Parsees.

An increasing number of Parsees are therefore opting for cremation/burial. ARZ assists them in the performance of all Zoroastrian prayers through its priests.

ARZ has been trying to bring about awareness by educating the masses about the Universality of the message of Prophet Zarathushtra by organizing lectures of learned speakers and also through newspaper advertisements and articles.

The intermarried parsees and their families in India, are ostracized and are not allowed to even enter the Zoroastrian places of worship by the so called orthodox.

ARZ realizes that all families of Intermarried Zoroastrians need institutional back up and a sense of belonging to the religion.

ARZ is now, therefore, in the process of setting up a Zoroastrian Center in Pune. The Center will act both as a religious and as an educational center. This place will be open to all without any racial or other discrimination. The total project cost is about Rs.16 million.

Voluntary Donations for the cause are welcome.

YOUR SUPPORT MEANS A LOT TO ARZ.

LET US JOINTLY BRING ZOROASTRIANISM TO ITS PRISTINE GLORY AND OBTAIN THE DIVINE BLESSINGS OF AHURA MAZDA.

For any further information you may get in touch with us on

+91 98213 46601.
“MY RELIGION MUST SURVIVE IN MY COUNTRY”.

KHSHNAOTHRA AHURAHE MAZDAO.

Dr. Keiki B. Grant
Kerssie N. Wadia
Vispy N. Wadia
Capt. Behram H. Surty
Aspi N. Billimoria
Farhad Bottlewala
Trustees, ARZ.

torsdagen den 19:e november 2009

Hating Mary Boyce and her lies

Dear Parviz

Mary Boyce has done more damage to Zoroastrianism than any other single person in the last 1,500 years. The Wikipedia entry on Zoroastrianism is full of her prejudicial nonsense just because she is an "often quoted reference published in books". We have a big job ahead of us correcting this massive wrong!

Ushta
Alexander

2009/11/19 Parviz Varjavand

Every day in Yazd, several bus loads of tourists visit the tower of silence there and the Iranian Muslim guides tell the tourists that wen the Zoroastrians placed their dead in these towers, they would watch to see if the vulture would eat the right eyes of the corps first or the left eye. If the right eyes was plucked out first, it was a sign that the soul of this dead person would go to heaven and if the left eyes was plucked, the corps would go to hell.

When we as Zoroastrians have filed our complaints about the spread of such ugly nonsense, the authorities have replied that they are only repeating something that Marry Boyce has written about in her book and if we have complaints, we should take it up with Marry Boyce. So as you can see, Western scholars can report many things and in the West it would be understood in its proper context, but when translated into Persian, it could cut like a knife into the heart of our fragile community.

Parviz

onsdagen den 18:e november 2009

Zoroastrianism in our everyday lives: The Obsession with Charisma

Dear Dino
I would say that we live in an age obsessed with CHARISMA and not necessarily looks.
Looks is just the most obvious aspect of charisma, what media focuses on, but charisma is far deeper than that and a large chuck of charisma is actually due to education and what I would refer to as "a new intellectualism".
Not necessarily the intellectualism of books and literary quotes but rather the intellectualism of semiotics, of "knowing pictures and sounds and how they function" after hundreds of hours of online networking and surfing.
We need to think like netocrats and not like the old bourgeoisie.
Ushta
Alexander

2009/11/18 Special Kain



Dear friends,

I'd like to discuss Zoroastrianism as a part of our everyday routines. How do YOU apply Zoroastrianism to your everyday life? What did it inspire you to do? How did it affect your world?
I seriously believe that this discussion is important (even though Parviz might disagree), simply because Zoroastrianism is whatever Zoroastrians as Zoroastrians make of it in their everyday lives.
There are several issues I'd like to discuss: anti-intellectualism and the worship of stupidity as a prerequisite for ultimate fun (the duty to have fun all the time, see Slavoj Zizek and Peter Sloterdijk), transhumanism, new technology and personal matters such as mate selection and looks (because it's all about the looks these days).
It would be great to have someone share my enthusiasm!

Ushta, Dino

The Gaze of The Photographer

No no, Lacan is not an individualist at all (if he was, Zizek would not be obsessed with him). Rather it is Lacanian theory that throws us back to our OBSESSION with social recognition. His point is that the most ardent individualists are also the most dependent on the recognition of The Other (a hegelian take on the fake opposition of Individual vs Social). And in this sense, Lacan is not culturally specific other then the fact that he is aware that he is speaking of an animal attempting to behave like a civilised human being (as was Zarathushtra when he set The Civilised Settler against The Wild Nomad).
It is rather Lacan working from the nuclear family perspective (as Freud was) which is culturally limited. I hardly believe nom-de-pere applies to Papuan village life. ;-) But that is also his least interesting point.
And your point about The Gaze of The Photographer is intelligent. Because who is "The Other" these days if not some presumed mystical stranger watching us from afar through new media technologies? It is after all not The Photographer whose gazes obsess us, but the expected engaged audience of the eventually published photograph.
If Zarathushtra were alive today, he would be very concerned with what we do "online" to each other.
Ushta
Alexander

2009/11/17 Special Kain



Nowadays it's more The Gaze of The Photographer, I guess. ;-))
What do the neighbors say?
The problem with Lacan is that his theory only applies to contemporaries, but not to anyone who was older than the common household use of mirrors.
I have also and repeatedly claimed that Zoroastrian philosophy isn't concerned with the western distinction between The Individual and The Social. And Charles Peirce and John Dewey seem to offer something interesting here. Peirce does so more than Dewey, see his semiotics. And I don't know whether Lacan's psychoanalytic theory wasn't too individualistic? He seems to promote the relentless fulfillment of one's potentials and authentic living, which doesn't always conform with The Social.

--- Alexander Bard schrieb am Di, 17.11.2009:


Von: Alexander Bard
Betreff: [Ushta] Freedom and liberation in a Zoroastrian context
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Dienstag, 17. November 2009, 17:04



Excellent, Dino, an excellent posting!!!

The answer from Psychoanalysis is that the making conscious of what you refer to as "the conflict between our social and tribal instincts and our relentlessly selfish and domineering instincts" will also produce the answer. Because the desire of desire itself is to maintain desire at all costs, in other words to maintain the Gaze of The Other no matter what. The relentless and domineering instinct is ultimately directed towards one thing: The love and acceptance of The Other. I guess as Zoroastrians we never saw egoism and altruism as opposites. This would make perfect sense to a Lacanian psychoanalyst. So the problem is not the conflict itself, but that the vast majority of people are unaware of the conflict and even more so of its profound structure.

Ushta
Alexander

tisdagen den 17:e november 2009

Freedom and Liberation in a Zoroastrian context Part 2

Excellent, Dino, an excellent posting!!!

The answer from Psychoanalysis is that the making conscious of what you refer to as "the conflict between our social and tribal instincts and our relentlessly selfish and domineering instincts" will also produce the answer. Because the desire of desire itself is to maintain desire at all costs, in other words to maintain the Gaze of The Other no matter what. The relentless and domineering instinct is ultimately directed towards one thing: The love and acceptance of The Other. I guess as Zoroastrians we never saw egoism and altruism as opposites. This would make perfect sense to a Lacanian psychoanalyst. So the problem is not the conflict itself, but that the vast majority of people are unaware of the conflict and even more so of its profound structure.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/11/17 Special Kain

Dear Alexander,

I agree!!!
Zoroastrian freedom is the freedom of choice which is the freedom towards something: the freedom to choose and participate creatively. But liberation also means to become free from something oppressing and inhibiting, that is «the liberation of the human body and the fulfillment of its full potential». Unfortunately, I'm not Hegelian enough to claim that it's a dialectic relationship between the negative (the freedom from) and the positive (the freedom towards). The former doesn't have any positive substance, which is so important to Zoroastrian and civilizationist ethics!

You have to aspire after something, whether that's contributing to one's community and helping to expand it all across the globe or playfully creating new and exciting identities. There are two sides to Zoroastrian ethics: the sober and grown-up part is concerned with defeating evil and promoting social justice and tolerance (what Richard Rorty celebrated as political philosophies, see Jürgen Habermas, John Rawls and John Dewey), the playful and childish part is concerned with our identities us becoming «creativity machines» (what Richard Rorty celebrated as the philosophies for private use only, see Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida). Rorty's solution was the liberal ironist, Peter Sloterdijk's solution are neo-Nietzschean trans-human beings (thanks to genetic engineering and new ICTs).

But the question is whether such solutions can actually dissolve the conflict between our social and tribal instincts and our relentlessly selfish and domineering instincts. The freedom towards X has to convey and promote other people's freedom towards their X's as well. And this is where we meet liberal democracies. And now it's becoming clear why Gilles Deleuze so correctly pointed out that thinkers like Baruch Spinoza prosper in liberal and democratic communities. In this sense happiness is the freedom to prosper! And Zoroastrianism is the philosophy of blazing joys and mirth that Nietzsche anticipated in his later writings as the solution to our society's nihilism and cynism.

Ushta, Dino

Freedom and Liberation in a Zoroastrian context

Dear Dino

As long as we speak of the freedom towards something, then I certainly agree that we speak of a genuinely Zoroastrian freedom. Because why would we desire to be free from drives and desires, when it is the long-term fullfilment of drives and desires which is at the root of Zarathushtra's ethics. A very monist ethics indeed (regardless of whether we see ourselves as monists or dualists in terms of ontology) with the focus on the freedom and liberation of the human body ans its full potential (and thereby also the freedom and liberation of human society as a community).

Ushta
Alexander

2009/11/17 Special Kain

Dear friends and anyone who's interested in following the discussion about the concept of freedom,

Let me please remind you that there are two different kinds of freedom, as I had already examined a long time ago: To be free from something (such as drives and desires, proto-Kantian freedom) and to be free towards something (a rather positive freedom, an increase in freedom of choice). «Free will» can mean to be free from carnal desires or it can mean to be free to see things for what they are and to manipulate the relationships between them, thus increasing our freedom of choice. The freedom from X points at the past, the freedom towards X points at the future.

If we talk about freedom, we should bear these two concepts in mind.

--- Special Kain schrieb am Mo, 16.11.2009:


Von: Special Kain
Betreff: AW: [Ushta] Re: The Concept of Freedom
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Montag, 16. November 2009, 16:46



Well, I guess it's better not to make things complicated and stay true to Truth! We can say that existence is true, simply because there is something rather than nothing. We could treat existence as a given fact. There is something, even though some thinkers argue what that something really is: nature, god, the real world, our imaginary worlds, social constructs, time and space etc.

So we're talking about categories! You can join Kant and pretend as if some categories were eternally valid and will forever shape our perceptions of and interactions with existence. Or you could also join thinkers like Peirce and say that firstness, secondness and thirdness were the only real categories (as in «really real»).

And wisdom is something different altogether. Everything that exists is definitely exposed to existence, but not necessarily to wisdom. Some people choose to worship stupidity due to their anti-intellectualis t ressentiment.

--- Rory schrieb am Mo, 16.11.2009:


Von: Rory
Betreff: [Ushta] Re: The Concept of Freedom
An: Ushta@yahoogroups. com
Datum: Montag, 16. November 2009, 15:02



Dear Dino,

You're quite right, bad choice of words. I wasn't quite sure what to use. They are not only self-imposed as the concepts of existence and supreme wisdom do exist for all even if others don't worship them. Can't think of a word. How about "self-imposed non-variables" ? :-)

Ushta,
Rory

måndagen den 16:e november 2009

Wise words from Dino Demarchi - on the issue of "free will" in Zoroastrianism

Dear Rory,

I don't think that Ahura and Mazda are absolutes in any philosophical sense. Much like probably any decent pragmatist I seriously believe that things are what we make of them, so Zoroastrianism is what Zoroastrians as Zoroastrians make of it. And the same applies to Ahura (existence) and Mazda (wisdom). Mazda isn't just there, it's people who make or learn to make wise choices and refine their understanding of nature, how things work and how to manipulate them. And it's obviously true that there is something rather than nothing. But still it's not about absolutes, because I honestly don't know what that term is supposed to mean in our post-pragmatist world.

Also I don't think that we should drop the term «will» only because it's rooted in Christian theology. We shoud not forget that freedom of choice is key in Zoroastrian philosophy. We can choose in accordance with our desires, drives and rationality. There is this moment of self-control and awareness, so I just don't buy into that «man as bio-robot» story. It's true that we're bio-robots, but we can actually program ourselves to a certain extent. What you're going to study later in your life is not pre-programmed in your genes, because you're able to learn. Our decisions are contingent: We could have chosen something else.

So, if anything, the freedom of «free will» is contingent: Harry is a lot freer in his choices than Robert, because Harry is much smarter and more creative.

Ushta, Dino

--- Rory schrieb am Mo, 16.11.2009:


Von: Rory
Betreff: [Ushta] Re: The Concept of Freedom
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Montag, 16. November 2009, 14:24


So the "absolutes" are Ahura and Mazda, the rest is always in flux and our "tools" are the Amesha Spentas?

Regarding "will", it exists but the word again has a few thousand years of Abrahamic connotation so we need something else that describes this "positive intention"?

Ushta,

Rory

söndagen den 15:e november 2009

The Concept of Freedom (Free Will in Zoroastrianism) Part 2

Absolutely!!!
We would not even consider a concept like "freedom" unless it was provided to us by others, through dialogue or teaching or through texts. So in this sense we also need to have an idea of the concept of freedom for ourselves to even begin considering it.
But I don't speak of any rock star hedonism here. When I speak of setting drives and desires free to do their thing without interference (or at least as little interference as possible) I'm merely speaking of what Jaques Lacan meant was the underlying ethical principle of psychoanalysis (stop lying to yourself, live truthfully!). And I certainly have not seen any better ethical ideal than Lacan's in say the past 100 years. It also helps that this principle is completely consistent with Zarathustra's ethical imperative, which as I have said before is independent of whether we believe in "free will" or not.
Ushta
Alexander

2009/11/15 Special Kain

Dear Alexander,

I'm fully aware of the fact that «free will» has a different meaning to Christians, Muslims and most western philosophers and neuroscientists, and I guess that Rory is now aware of it, too. I don't separate our wills from our desires and passions, but I wouldn't dismiss rationality. There's also a connection between our wills and rationality, so I'd rather use a much more rationalistic vocabulary, since all the talk about setting our desires and drives free sounds a little too much like rock star hedonism. And I agree with Jürgen Habermas when he says that deliberative will is free will («Überlegter Wille ist freier Wille»).

A few words about your definition of freedom as «the removal of objections for the correctly set emotional platform to work its way through our words and our actions»: To me it seems that what you're referring to is a very common experience when one is experienced with meditation. It's what just happens when one is meditating even for a few months only. And it can actually grow and become an extraordinary experience that transcends one's identity and everyday life. But still there's more to freedom that such a necessary step: An increase in freedom and intelligence is what precedes this necessary «removal of objections for the correctly set emotional platform». This removal is a refinement of one's attitude already, but it starts with the praise of intelligence (or supreme wisdom): Freedom stems from one's confidence in and praise of intelligence.

Ushta, Dino

--- Alexander Bard schrieb am So, 15.11.2009:


Von: Alexander Bard
Betreff: [Ushta] The Concept of Freedom
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Sonntag, 15. November 2009, 20:31



Absolutely, Dino!
But please remember that when we vast majority of people in the world speak of a "free will" (such as the Christian or Muslim free will to choose or oppose God/Allah) they mean will as something SEPARATE from the body, that which the gods can hold responsible when putting us humans before their moral courts (such as on judgment day). Therefore also spearate from drives and desires, not the battlefield of drives and desires and their eventual compromise.
That drives and desires combat with each other to control the will of a body (and thereby produce a self in our minds) is a very modern idea of "will" which is not historically associated with free will but rather has its roots in the thinking of Freud and Nietzsche. Which is why I prefer to talk of drives and desires instead of will and our ethical mission as Mazdayasni to set those drives and desires free.
Ushta
Alexander

The Concept of Freedom (Free Will in Zoroastrianism)

Absolutely, Dino!
But please remember that when we vast majority of people in the world speak of a "free will" (such as the Christian or Muslim free will to choose or oppose God/Allah) they mean will as something SEPARATE from the body, that which the gods can hold responsible when putting us humans before their moral courts (such as on judgment day). Therefore also spearate from drives and desires, not the battlefield of drives and desires and their eventual compromise.
That drives and desires combat with each other to control the will of a body (and thereby produce a self in our minds) is a very modern idea of "will" which is not historically associated with free will but rather has its roots in the thinking of Freud and Nietzsche. Which is why I prefer to talk of drives and desires instead of will and our ethical mission as Mazdayasni to set those drives and desires free.
Ushta
Alexander

2009/11/14 Special Kain



Dear Rory,

You're right. If you know somebody's beliefs (and that somebody's drives and urges, too), then you also know how they will act in different situations. But I wouldn't dismiss "free will" as hastily, since our wills are nothing but temporary alliances between drives, urges, beliefs and learning experiences, and such beliefs and learning experiences are always social in the sense that they're based on socially shared meanings and collective experiences.

The lesson that we can learn from this is that nothing in this world is totally isolated or primordial in any sense. All things are somehow related to other things etc. It's not about strictly isolated objects, such as two opposing human wills, but about the relationship between them (the OPPOSITION between two human wills). The more we learn to know about such relationships (and we're always a part of them, we're always a NODE in this game) and the more we learn to manipulate them, the more freedom we attain. And, as you can see know, this freedom is equal to wisdom. Isolated objects aren't free, nor could they ever attain any kind of freedom prior to joining the game.

This is why freedom is always related to The Social and to intelligence.

Ushta, Dino

--- Rory schrieb am Sa, 14.11.2009:


Von: Rory
Betreff: [Ushta] Re: The Concept of Freedom
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Samstag, 14. November 2009, 20:05



Dear Alexander,

Wonderful! I love this stuff!!! "Any WILL separate from drive and desire is of no interest to us whatsoever, it is even alien to Zoroastrian thought. This is precisely why we are ETHICAL people and actually amoral." and "In other words: Zarathushtra did not even in his wildest dreams imagine a "will" which wanted to be "free". He would have asked what we should ask: Who came up with such an idea? And why? Answer: The pharaohs. And guess why?"
I have just got back from Zimbabwe where I have seen this in action. The leader there (Robert Mugabe) is a tyrant and is the exact opposite of what you describe, he has STRICT MORALS and ZERO ETHICS. People are totally confused by his behavior because they don't understand his morals. Once one understands them then it is easy to understand his behavior.

Ushta,
Rory

Culpability (The Concept of Freedom)

Zarathushtra's point is the order of things:
ATTITUDE comes before decisions. This is precisely why we meditate/celebrate (yasna) as Parviz says on a regular basis, preferrably when we get up in the morning. Personally I prefer to meditate/celebrate during physical exercise since it gives my mind something good to be preoccupied with during the exercise hour (and makes my physical body more fit).
What Zarathushtra understood is that when the important choices occur in our lives, we are programmed to act on them, whether we are prepared or not. And it is this programming we take care to do correctly when we meditate/celebrate. This is what we do as Mazdayasni in our everyday lives.
Thought PRECEDES words, and thoughts to Zarathushtra is not rational thinking (which is actually what we do later with words) but rather the ESTABLISHMENT of an EMOTIONAL PLATFORM from which to speak (and then act).
Freedom in Zoroastrianism is therefore the removal of objections for the correctly set emotional platform to work its way through our words and our actions. This is what I refer to as Zarathushtra's genial ETHICAL ORDER of things.
To live within asha is to organise a constructive mentality towards life from which we then think, speak and act. And Dino is absolutelyu right, what is constructive may change from one moment to the next, it is the ATTITUDE towards doing the right thing which does not change.
Ushta
Alexander

2009/11/14 Special Kain


- Dölj citerad text -

Dear Rory,

Sure, you're constantly changing, even though some habits are quite persistent - and you can't kill off your genetic dispositions. But if it's not you who's in charge of your future changes, then who is it? You're responsible for the thoughts you have, and the thoughts you think determine the words you speak and the actions you will undertake.

@ wild people: People become people through people. ;-)

Ushta, Dino

--- Rory schrieb am Sa, 14.11.2009:


Von: Rory

Betreff: [Ushta] Re: Culpability (was: The Concept of Freedom)
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Samstag, 14. November 2009, 20:45



Dear Dino,

Which means constantly examining, educating and recreating ourselves as a process?

Ushta,

Rory

--- In Ushta@yahoogroups. com, Special Kain wrote:
>
> Dear Rory,
>
> What once was a brilliantly useful and good solution could easily be today's worst problem. What used to be good can easily become bad if the circumstances have changed. That's why I speak of what's either constructive or destructive in a given context and how our choices will affect other people's lives. The choices we make today determine who we are going to be in the near future. But our scope is quite limited, and since freedom is a process that's always related to intelligence, liberation is about extending the scope of our choices and actions, thus creating new stimulating environments and new identities.
>
> Ushta, Dino
>
> --- Rory schrieb am Sa, 14.11.2009:
>
> Von: Rory
> Betreff: [Ushta] Re: Culpability (was: The Concept of Freedom)
> An: Ushta@yahoogroups. com
> Datum: Samstag, 14. November 2009, 20:17
>
>
> So is my understanding correct? We are able to make decisions and yes we can choose one thing from another, but we are not forced to judge every decision by whether it is intrinsically good or intrinsically evil and then make exactly the correct decision followed by an examination of conscience and then suffer either euphoria or despair... We can train ourselves and create ourselves to be what our wisdom advises we should be and thus guide our drives and desires towards Haurvatat.
>
>
>
> Ushta,
>
> Rory

onsdagen den 11:e november 2009

Zoroastrian thinkers in and for our time/Getting access to magical minds

Dearest Dino
Haha, but now you are ranking the philosophers like only a PROGRESSIVIST would and isn't the whole point with process philosophy to GET AWAY from Hegel (and Marx) and stop thinking progress and think process instead?
Having said this, I prefer not to speak of ranks but to speak of RELEVANCE which in my philosophy is what process philosophy is all about. Relevance as more important than Truth (hitting the Vocabulary right rather than modifying Vocabulary to serve a higher purpose). And in this sense I of course agree with you 100%.
I wish Deleuze would have known about Zarathushtra (the way Nietzsche actually did) because in that case he would have written about Zarathushtra the way he wrote passionately about Spinoza and Nietzsche and really created a process philosophy pantheon for European philosophy.
So it is in THIS SENSE that Sloterdijk is a giant for our times (and in a sort of twisted backward way so is Zizek, the greatest closet Nietzschean I have ever read). And we can organise a follow-up to the thinker whose name all this thinking carries to us: Zoroastrian philosophy. I'm just happy toi have been recommended and found undoubtedly great books I have not yet read. Wisdom is a wonderful thing and getting access to it is magical indeed!
Ushta
Alexander

2009/11/11 Special Kain



It seems that it hasn't been translated yet, and neither have «Spheres I, II and III». Which is a pity, since he's the biggest German philosopher since Nietzsche, Heidegger and Habermas - and undoubtedly the most successful (and most controversial) by far.

I love Spinoza, Nietzsche and (to a lesser extent) Deleuze, but Dewey and Sloterdijk are already on level 2 and definitely heading in the right direction. We as Zoroastrian thinkers can only benefit from their philosophical achievements! I see the link between Zarathushtra and Spinoza, but Dewey and Sloterdijk are on a different level altogether. If Zarathushtra was the beginning, then Dewey and Sloterdijk are the opening chapter to Part Two. This is contemporary civilizationism at its best.

Ushta, Dino // a liberal ironist living in the human zoo


--- Alexander Bard schrieb am Mi, 11.11.2009:


Von: Alexander Bard
Betreff: [Ushta] Free will hasn't died yet / «Rules of the Human Zoo»
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Mittwoch, 11. November 2009, 17:42



Absolutely!! !
This is most most interesting.
I have actually just ordered thee books by Peter Sloterdjik for vacation reading this winter.
But this Rules of the Human Zoo book you mention, has it been translated from German to English yet?
Ushta
Alexander

2009/11/11 Special Kain



I'd like to add that - even though the neurosciences are the hawtest thing at the moment - brain research hasn't proved that we were unable to consciously make decisions. The social neurologization process doesn't make all neuroscience to be true. A free will is only as free as we've managed to grow intellectually and socially. So all the «absolutistic» fuzz about free will is definitely outdated, but the furious opponents are just as hasty. Free will isn't dead, its practical meaning has just changed according to decent and solid research. Please remember that there's also a lot of junk being produced in brain research. The same applied to chaos theory and that dreadful «quantum religion» more than 20 years ago.

What's important now is to look at domestication and selective breeding: how settled communities and their house pets started civilizationism and how this led to people creating people. Civilization and education should be dealt with a little less romantically. Please see Peter Sloterdijk's «Rules of the Human Zoo» for further information. The house metaphor is tremendously important (especially as understood by Plato, Nietzsche and Sloterdijk) when combined with Sloterdijk's auditive metaphors (rather than Greek philosophy's obsession with visual metaphors). This becomes truly interesting when studying «The House of Songs»: it will reveal itself as a metaphor for a truly global and all-inclusive transhumanist society and communicative community. Songs do teach us and connect us to The Others sphereologically, thus inspiring communities.

http://alcor. concordia. ca/~gnosis/ vol_vi/sloterdij k.html


The topic is highly interesting and fascinating! !!

Ushta, Dino // strongly believes that contemporary Zoroastrianism must start with John Dewey and Peter Sloterdijk, therefore overcoming both Baruch Spinoza and Friedrich Nietzsche

Free will hasn't died just yet...

Absolutely!!!
This is most most interesting.
I have actually just ordered thee books by Peter Sloterdjik for vacation reading this winter.
But this Rules of the Human Zoo book you mention, has it been translated from German to English yet?
Ushta
Alexander

2009/11/11 Special Kain



I'd like to add that - even though the neurosciences are the hawtest thing at the moment - brain research hasn't proved that we were unable to consciously make decisions. The social neurologization process doesn't make all neuroscience to be true. A free will is only as free as we've managed to grow intellectually and socially. So all the «absolutistic» fuzz about free will is definitely outdated, but the furious opponents are just as hasty. Free will isn't dead, its practical meaning has just changed according to decent and solid research. Please remember that there's also a lot of junk being produced in brain research. The same applied to chaos theory and that dreadful «quantum religion» more than 20 years ago.

What's important now is to look at domestication and selective breeding: how settled communities and their house pets started civilizationism and how this led to people creating people. Civilization and education should be dealt with a little less romantically. Please see Peter Sloterdijk's «Rules of the Human Zoo» for further information. The house metaphor is tremendously important (especially as understood by Plato, Nietzsche and Sloterdijk) when combined with Sloterdijk's auditive metaphors (rather than Greek philosophy's obsession with visual metaphors). This becomes truly interesting when studying «The House of Songs»: it will reveal itself as a metaphor for a truly global and all-inclusive transhumanist society and communicative community. Songs do teach us and connect us to The Others sphereologically, thus inspiring communities.

http://alcor.concordia.ca/~gnosis/vol_vi/sloterdijk.html

The topic is highly interesting and fascinating!!!

Ushta, Dino // strongly believes that contemporary Zoroastrianism must start with John Dewey and Peter Sloterdijk, therefore overcoming both Baruch Spinoza and Friedrich Nietzsche

--- Special Kain schrieb am Mi, 11.11.2009:


Von: Special Kain
Betreff: [Ushta] Culpability (was: The Concept of Freedom)
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Mittwoch, 11. November 2009, 11:14



Dear Alexander,

I agree 100%. "Free will" started with culpability: to hold people responsible for their wrongdoings. See John Dewey's essay "Philosophies of Freedom" in "Philosophy and Civilization". Our wills can't be separated from our drives and desires, our social and cultural situation, our parents' situations, education etc.

Freedom of choice can't be separated from education and intellectually stimulating environments. Freedom really starts with intelligence. This is why I consider Dewey to be a proto-Zoroastrian thinker. I just don't think that Zarathushtra knew all that already. It's a choice between good and wrong (Asha vs. Druj), so it's a different kind of culpability.

Ushta,
Dino // now digging deep into Peter Sloterdijk's post-Heideggerian neo-Nietzscheanism

Zoroastrianism and Free Will

Excellent postings!!! Very very very interesting topic...

My point is that we must understand that the concept of "free will" was developed in the early first human permanent settlements AS TO KEEP PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS, not to make people free or happy. If you are going to take a person before a court of law and judge them morally (rather than ethically) for their actions, then you need to first ASSUME that they had some kind of choice to begin with and that they were FREE to CHOOSE what they did. In other words: To be able to control people you need to apply free will to their actions, you need to separate their soul (that which wills) from their bodies (that which wants). Therefore, we have the arrival of dualism in human history. This is how Egyptian pharaohs controlled their slaves etc.

What we need to do, especially as Zoroastrians, is to question the very premise of this logic. I would say that Zarathushtra understood (he was not corrupted with the logic of controlling settlements, he was not into the concept of exploitation but into the concept of creative collaboration) that humans consist of drives and desires and that making drives and desires work in unison ENABLES humans to fulfill exactly those drives and desires. So it is a Zoroastrian/Spinozist FREEDOM of DRIVES and DESIRES that we are interested in, the enabling of human beings to be one with their actions. Any WILL separate from drive and desire is of no interest to us whatsoever, it is even alien to Zoroastrian thought. This is precisely why we are ETHICAL people and actually amoral. Freedom is to be able to define who you are and then to do what you are supposed to do AS being that which you have just defined. It is a freedom FROM oppression to be able to obey your drives and desires which in turn control "you". A you which is only fulfilled as a you precisely by IDENTIFYING ITSELF with the body of drives and desires which it habitates. In other words: Zarathushtra did not even in his wildest dreams imagine a "will" which wanted to be "free". Hed would have asked what we should ask: Who came up with such an idea? And why? Answer: The pharaohs. And guess why?

Ushta
Alexander

2009/11/11 Rory
- Dölj citerad text -



Dear Dino (and Parviz, Alexander and Sharooz),

I find this VERY interesting and enlightening and I believe an absolutely critical discussion for Westerners especially but also the world as a whole considering how the concept of "free will" has been a "pillar" of law and society for centuries. Western society has developed with the belief that we always have the FREE choice between "right" and "wrong" whether that be religious or legal, unless we are loopy. The impact of what you are saying is enormous. I for example live in a society which has a very simplistic view of right and wrong further hammered into what is "good" and "bad" by Dualist(Christian and Muslim) zealots and of course impartial colonial British law. I agree entirely that a simplistic absolutist definition is both dangerous and primitive and although it may be a necessity for primitive societies it is only that when compared to the sophisticated, more advanced concept of choice/freedom of Zoroastrianism. This simplistic version of choice pervades everything from law to education and is backward and leads to, as you put it, "static absolutes". In my view, the effect of a "static absolute" is actually decline rather than a static situation which is almost impossible which is what we see in Africa and a lot of third-world countries.

Ushta,
Rory


--- In Ushta@yahoogroups.com, Special Kain wrote:
>
> The problem with "free will" is that such a philosophy begins with an absolute: there is free will, and it's totally and so overwhelmingly absolutely free right from the start. But anyone with any bit of awareness or intelligence already knows that "free will" is what we achieve to create out of our drives and energies. It can only mean a temporary alliance between different drives - combined and orchestrated, to give ourselves style as Nietzsche put it in "The Gay Science". It's a powerful, beautiful and aesthetic phenomenon, but not a given fact that we should take for granted.
>
> Freedom is something we DO, something we CREATE and PRACTICE. It also means that we're continually liberating ourselves together within interactive learning experiences and new kicks and new social identities - just think of John Dewey's GROWTH as an ethical ideal that is its own goal. Growth hopefully (and hopefully beautifully) entails further growth.
>
> This is where INTELLIGENCE (and Mazdayasna) comes into play: only through increasing intelligence - the ability to deal with existence more intelligently over time - can we truly liberate ourselves and increase our very freedom of choice and, furthermore, create new choices and possibilities.
>
> Let's look at "free will" as a PROCESS (an upward spiral) and a CHOICE rather than a static absolute.
>
> Ushta,
> Dino
>
> --- Alexander Bard schrieb am Di, 10.11.2009:
>
> Von: Alexander Bard

> Betreff: [Ushta] The Concept of Freedom
> An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
> CC: zoroastrians@yahoogroups.com
> Datum: Dienstag, 10. November 2009, 13:11
>
>
> Dear Parviz and Shahrooz
>
> But in what sense is "free will" a privilege?
> Why would we as Mazdayasni be interested in defending such a typically Christian concept?
> Is it really the will that ought to be free? Is is not the human body that should be free to act according to its drives and desires (as long as these interests do not override the interests of another human body)?
>
> In that case, let's leave Free Will to the Christians and other dualists.
> While we pursue the freedom of the human body, the body as one unified whole?
>
> Ushta
> Alexander

tisdagen den 10:e november 2009

If Artists don't plan, but create... Part 2

Dear George

But to say nothing is to say nothing. We are after all humans and we do have to find words to describe our beliefs and our knowledge too. Without a vocabulary, there is no humanity to speak of.
There is also a universe rather than there is no universe. So since there is SOMETHING rather than nothing, and since we have language but only language, we only have language to describe this something for whatever it is.
To just say it is not this or it is not that is to say nothing. I much prefer people who dare to say something, who attempt to describe this something that exists, than who rather just despise all attempts at doing so.
They have after all said nothing. And how interesting is that?
So my brotherly question to you is: How do you describe that which exists? How do you describe the universe? Your belief in what the universe is? What are your words?
Not which words others have uttered which you dislike, but your very own proposal, your own prefered words!

Ushta
Alexander

2009/11/10 Georgios



Dear Alexander,

I guess I did not make myself very clear. I mean that concepts like "planning", "making", "creating" etc cannot be attributed to God/A.M./Nature/whatever-you-name-it. All these are simply human ideas. The universe would operate the same way without our ideas.
I think that the whole issue if A.M. is "creative" or a "maker" or a "planner" has absolutely nothing to do with who/what really *is* Ahura Mazda. So, to me, it doesn't also make any sense calling A.M. an artist, or even comparing him/her to one...

George


--- In Ushta@yahoogroups.com, Alexander Bard wrote:
>
> Dear George
>
> I think the point here is that planning is a human activity precisely
> because our limitations force us to plan. If we were more intelligent and
> more physically versatile, we would not have to plan. I believe Clint's
> point that to limit Ahura Mazda to human characteristics is not only unfair,
> it is also evidence of a lack of imagination. So better then to assume that
> the dominant characteristic of Ahura Mazda is not to plan but to create. I
> can't find a single trace of a planning God anywhere in The Gathas, but
> Zarathustra is clearly obsessed with Ahura as being creative, which is why
> Ahura is so often referred to as Mazda (Ahura Mazda) and Zarathushtra is
> obsessed with CREATING WITH this divinity of his. The metaphor of "The Wise
> Maker" is tedious and deeply flawed. But a "creative maker" is an entirely
> different and much more Zoroastrian concept. That's my ten cents on the
> issue.
>
> Ushta
> Alexander

If Artists don't plan, but create...

Dear George

I think the point here is that planning is a human activity precisely because our limitations force us to plan. If we were more intelligent and more physically versatile, we would not have to plan. I believe Clint's point that to limit Ahura Mazda to human characteristics is not only unfair, it is also evidence of a lack of imagination. So better then to assume that the dominant characteristic of Ahura Mazda is not to plan but to create. I can't find a single trace of a planning God anywhere in The Gathas, but Zarathustra is clearly obsessed with Ahura as being creative, which is why Ahura is so often referred to as Mazda (Ahura Mazda) and Zarathushtra is obsessed with CREATING WITH this divinity of his. The metaphor of "The Wise Maker" is tedious and deeply flawed. But a "creative maker" is an entirely different and much more Zoroastrian concept. That's my ten cents on the issue.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/11/10 Georgios



Dear Clint,
How can we be sure about A.M. not planning? To plan is human of course, and we use human languages and concepts in order to communicate with each other. Obviously human concepts may not be sufficient to describe A.M.
It seems to me that there are many people who think they know how A.M. functions. Science or philosophy are human creations and are limited to our knowledge and imagination. What was considered as science a few centuries ago may be nonsense today. We have to understand that the laws of the universe are not set at our convenience. What looks logical to us may not be true in science. Passing through a wall is unthinkable for us, but it happens in quantum physics. So applying experiences/ideas from our experience/logic/imagination to the universe or A.M. will certainly lead us to wrong conclusions.

George.


>
> Reverend Mobedyar,
>
> I know you're asking Alexander, but I just want to say something very brief. Ahura Mazda does not "plan". We make plans, we break plans, we create and fashion, we destroy. Whatever Ahura Mazda does is by AM's very nature much bigger, totally different, more interesting, and on a infinitely larger timeline than our words "planning" or "creating" can ever express.
>
> Second of all, even humans do not have to have a design to create something. It is US, Zaneta, who discover patterns, it is our Good Minds that discover periodic tables and the Phi-spirals and all those gorgeous things because they are ISLANDS of order in a SEA of chaos and entropy and random events. Ahura Mazda is as much the latter as s/he is order and elegance.
>
> I for one see blessings every time another Island in that Sea is discovered. I am blessed by beauty every time I see it, and by blessed, I mean that I am empowered to create, to work with others, to be more compassionate, to enjoy beauty, to communicate my little spark of the Good Mind to others. These Islands in the Sea are not Creations or Designs of Ahura Mazda, they are at one with Ahura Mazda's own Self, and the means by which the whole Universe is improvised and moved and created and sometimes even destroyed. Because these are at One with Ahura Mazda, they bless us too. They are signs of Ahura Mazda's presence in the Universe, not separate from Ahura Mazda, not creations of Ahura Mazda, but are those things which we speak of when we say the ancient prayers "And we worship your Body, Ahura Mazda".
>
> --Clint