Thank you for your brilliant and most interesting postings!
If somebody can get hold of an email address to Jamshed Barucha, I would of course be happy to invite him here to Ushta so that he could join us and share his wisdom with us in his spare time.
Barucha's work reminds me both of my favorite contemporary philosopher Thomas Metzinger (who is both a philosopher and a neuroscientist) and also of Jan Söderqvist's and my own new book "The Body Machines" which will come out first in French and then later in English later this year.
2010/3/15 Parviz Varjavand
It is nice to hear from you, and what you tell us is very informative. I hope to get to know more about this very interesting Zoroastrian, but for now we have you, and a bird in hand is worth two in the bush.
What is very interesting is how we humans bond together around a central teem such as religion, nationality, or what have we. Once bonded in this Barsam or Fascia, we many times remain slaves to it even when we grow mentally and know that what we are a part of is an inferior structure.
There is a very nice city in Iran called Kazeroon and it is near Shiraz and there is a magnificent temple to Anahita next to this city. The inhabitants of Kazeroon are very dedicated Muslims, just the same as the inhabitants of Yazd. Bastani Parizi, the famous Iranian writer and historian tells us about how the Kazeroonis would not change their ways and would pay the very high Jezye tax but remain Zoroastrians for a very long time after the Islamic conquest of Iran. One governor of Kazeroon, a Moslem, decided that it was worth committing some sin if a greater good would come out of it at the end. So he declared that even though he knew that it was a sin that he was about to commit and perhaps God would never forgive him, but he would to do this bad deed for the greater good that would come out of it at the end.
He declared that he would personally cut the throat of one innocent Kazerooni Zoroastrian every day until the rest would give up their stubborn ways and convert to Islam in earnest. He would tie his butcher's apron (Long) around his waist and cut the throat of one randomly chosen Zoroastrian each morning, then he would take a bath, pray, and start crying, lamenting, and begging the populous not to force him to do the same bad deed the next day too. So he pleaded and cried and begged forgiveness so hard, yet he also cut one throat each day, until the Zoroastrians gave up and converted in earnest and he got his way and his wish. The problem with this episode is that this method WORKED! All the Kazeroonis are very devout Muslims today.
Is this not how Christianity won in Europe, all the bonfires of the church at which heretics were burned WORKED. So it remains a puzzle how we can be so proud of our mind and its freedom, yet how ineffective our intellect is compared to our herd instinct that bonds us together often in illogical ways.
We Iranian Zoroastrians are very unified and proud and all that. Yet below this surface of unity, there is a lot of division. At first you may think that these divisions are a joke, because often they are presented as jokes. Kermanis have jokes about Yazdis and each village and town has its jokes about the next group. Yet starngly it is at time of marriage that you will see the divisions surface. I was witness to the hard work a Z. cuple had in wanting to get married. The parents of the guy did not like the village where the parents of the girl were from, even though both families have lived in Tehran for most of their lives. The stink both families raised was monumental and the lovers had to do without both their families and get married with just a few friends as witnesses. So what is it that binds us so strongly, yet divides us also over small matters? Hamazoori (unity of force) that we pray for, at what cost do we tie our Barsams?
Please write to us more Arthur,
--- On Mon, 3/15/10, Arthur Pearlstein
I have long had a strong interest in emerging developments in neuroscience and related fields as they pertain to the Zoroastrian concept of mind and particularly as they apply to my own professional field of conflict analysis and resolution. I believe this has implications for tolerance and acceptance as we examine these concepts in terms of connection between minds (or perhaps more accurately within mind).
Recently, I had been doing some research for a presentation I was to give on mind and networking and potential applications for conflict resolution when I came across a scholar who apparently has done some research and writing that tie some key concepts together. He posits that the increased understanding of the synchronization of human brains is one of the most important developments in modern science. As he puts it: "just around the corner is an explosion of research that regards individual brains as nodes in a system bound together by multiple channels of communication. Information technology has provided novel ways for brains to align across great distances and over time." He acknowledges that this can lead to very positive or very negative results (creative and productive on the one hand, or in the hands of a manipulative dictator, potentially very destructive) .
While I have only begun to take an interest in his work, it was only on the morning of my presentation that realized the scholar in question is apparently a Zoroastrian. His name is Jamshed Bharucha, a professor of psychology and Provost of Tufts University (one of the top universities in the U.S.). Does anyone know much about him other than what I can easily find on the web? Does he maintain his connections to the Parsis? Has he participated in any discussions about interpretations of Mazdayasna and/or the acceptance of converts? A link to a short piece by him in the Edge Foundation's latest scientific question ("what will change everything?") is here: http://www.edge. org/q2009/ q09_14.html. His piece is called "The Synchronization of Brains" (you will need to scroll 3/4 of the way down the page, though there are some other pieces worth reading).
Thanks in advance for any information you may have. And I'd love to hear other perspectives if any of you are familiar with his work or that of others as it pertains to the synchronization of brains.