But there is one major problem with your hypothesis:
Zarathushtra was NOT successful in implementing his ideas towards ruling the society he lived in. He was disastrous at being the Machiavelli of Persia you're trying to turn him into.
Quite to the contrary: The evidence is on the opposite side. Zarathushtra fought long and hard to get ANYBODY to listen to what he had to say. Not only judging from the frank and honest Gathas, but also evident in the incredibly slow spread during his lifetime of his ideas.
And then there is the fact that his ideas were then changed back to whatever was before him, in an even messier form, merely kept under his unfortunate name.
It seems you have mistaken Zarathushtra (who was a pluralist and taught leaders tolerance and plurality) for Muhammed (whose lifestory is much more in synch with your description below).
I'm not for divinifying Zarathushtra in any way, I refer to him as a philosopher of power too, just like you, not even a prophet (something we need less rather than more of in human history). I refer to him as the original Nietzsche.
And Religion was invented long after Zarathushtra. Religion (religare) needs the concept of Sin to exist. There is no sin anywhere to be found in The Gathas. Zarathushtra's enemy was stupidity (shortsightedness) as opposed to his ideal of coolness (longsightedness). Religion was rather what Zarathushtra was opposed to.
Sure, he was a human. But not the cynic you portray him as. Rather he was the OPPOSER of cynicism and in this department his allies are western thinkers like Spinoza and Nietzsche who REFUSED to go cynical for shortsighted rewards.
2010/1/9 Parviz Varjavand
Please do not take offense by what I have to say and I will read with delight all that you have to tell us about Zarathustra's vision in the Gathas. To me, Gahta reads as a handbook of how through the use of a new tool called Religion, a social climber and a politician named Zoroaster becomes the propaganda minister of a king named Goshtasb. The old intellectual guard around the king get reduced to the rank of evil demons by him and are destroyed by the new bard on the block and his co-coreligionists of the new cult. Ayn Rand first opened my eyes to the possibility that in ancient times "The Attila" or the warrior-king who had the power of the sword needed a "Witch Doctor" or a Bard who wrote songs to pacify the peasants for him. The witchdoctor was the propoganda minister of the king. This devil's advocate view of what the Gatha is all about has not gone away with reading the many translations of the book available to me. I hope that you can make it go away with the way you interpret the complex and ancient songs of the Gathas.
I am a Mazdayasni and you are a Zoroastrian. May we be able to stay friends.
--- On Fri, 1/8/10, ardeshir farhmand
From: ardeshir farhmand
Subject: Re: [Ushta] The Priorities of Zarathushtra in The Gathas
Date: Friday, January 8, 2010, 8:22 PM
so we agree. zarathushtra was a great seer, and and his poetry is his thoughts/ideas/ visions and NOT GOSPELS, therefore he deserves the courtesy to be accurately quoted, his ideas grasped, and then compared with other great minds.
also when u talk about meta-truth, u are talking about realities that transcend temporal time and/or limited space. yes we pay homage to time at the end of each meditation or thedaily prayers. but the point is that truth/awareness/ consciousness at its core; appertains to the whole continuum of time and space; past, present and future; hence is timeless.
On Fri, Jan 8, 2010 at 8:08 PM, Alexander Bard
I agree on this 100%!!!
And I actually always to refer to the IDEAS of thinkers and then to Zarathushtra's ideas more than any other thinker's.
This is why I take care to quote only when I explicitly have to, to avoid quoting out of context, the most common mistake of all discourse of theology and philosophy.
2010/1/9 ardeshir farhmand
first of all, western scholars DID NOT compiled the gathas. if u study their poetic measure/rhymes, u see that they STAND OUT for themselves in comparison to the rest of the avestan literature. in fact, the whole avestan literature has been composed around them and/or as a footnote/commentary to them. the gathas were orally transmitted for thousand of years, and in achaemenid times or at the time of darius the great, were committed to official writing. yet the oral tradition has continued even up to today and has been given clear precedence.
secondly, we have no-problem quoting Hegel, Heraclitus, Plato, and the great Nietzsche or Spinoza here, so the great seer deserves the same courtesy. Furthermore, i think the main problem in this approach is; that some of us can not quit comparing zarathushtra's poetry with entirely and fundamentally different biblical literature. comparing these 2 is erroneous. it is like comparing apples and pineapples for lack of a better example.
so the moment we see zarathushtra as a great seer, and his profound poetry AS NOT GOSPELS, we would have no problem quoting him like we quote other great thinkers and visionaries. in the same light, we would be far less concerned with the person of zarathushtra, rather than his thoughts, ideas and visions, eternally memorialized in his songs. we are not concerned with the person of Hegel are we??? but with his thoughts, ideas and vision fascinates us. the same apply to great zarathushtra.
I believe that Zarathushtra's central point is that we should think clearly and critically for ourselves and then IDENTIFY with our thinking, speaking and acting. Everything else is dependent on how we handle this ethical imperative. Zoroastrian culture ever since Zarathushtra has always had this at its very center.
Especially as Zarathushtra gave priority to his IDEAS which he wanted to share with us. He never actually intended to write any sacred book of any kind. We, or rather Western scholars, compiled The Gathas and chose to attrubute these texts to Zarathushtra in the 19th century.
This doesn't mean we can't quote The Gathas - of course we can - but we do so much more the way the followers of a philosopher quotes the philosophical texts and put them into context rather than the way Abrahamic fanatics quote their holy books.
To me, there is no higher or lower awareness and I can't see any support for such a concept in The Gathas too. There is just awareness and its opposite, ignorance. I much prefer to be aware rather than be ignorant, of course. Clarity and creativity of mind, what could be more Minoo than that?
2010/1/9 ardeshir farhmand
while i agree with u in principal, i need to ascertain an important point that is being overlooked here. first comparing zarathushtra and his poetry, to jesus and the gospels is erroneous.
gospels are all about jesus's life. gathas have LITTLE if anything to do with zarathushtra' s life. they ALL are about his VISIONS and an are an Odyssey of understanding and higher awareness. and how would u know his visions without understanding/ FEELING his profound poetry?????? ?
so quoting gathic songs does NOT amount to "quote queen-ness." like any powerful literature, his words/songs if understood with emotional intelligence enables one to live and see his visions. and by seeing his visions/intuitive wisdom, our individual journey into the realm of MINOO or Spirit in Hegelian sense, just begins.
so i find parviz's repetitive arguments erroneous, and in reckless disregard of the fundamental difference between 2 extremely different literary works.