2011/8/11 Special Kain
Excellently put, dear Alexander!
I have always been looking for a way to think and express myself beyond the opposition between the self (egotism) and the community (altruism). A theory that would integrate both parts and thereby create a "third quality" or something that is larger than its two parts. But it seems that we've been fed with individualism for such a long time (centuries!) that it has become almost impossible to escape this trap.
--- Alexander Bard
Von: Alexander Bard
Betreff: [Ushta] The constant re-arrangement of atoms (was: Creating Civilizations vs Simple Hedonism)
Datum: Donnerstag, 11. August, 2011 11:20 Uhr
I agree 100%.
I would much prefer not to promote altruism, the Judeo-Christian idea that "one should give onself up for a larger whole". It smacks of sacrifice, which we as Zoroastrians should be vehemently opposed to. Actually, the opposition between egotism and altruism is false, and rather disqualifies both as relevant ideals. I'm not an egotist and I'm not an altruist, I'm just a social being, an existence in flux, a brief phenomenon within the ocean of time and being that is Existence.
So I place Existence itself (Zarathushtra's Ahura or Spinoza's God) at the forefront, this is what is relevant and important, that there actually is a Something rather than just Nothing. And my existence as a subject with a sense of self-appreciation is a brief phenomenon in time and space which will always need to position itself in relation to this massive Ahura, a small individual or rather dividual expression of Mazda within Ahura. Dying as an individual is therefore just to leave space for new and different creative existences to make their mark on Existence. The re-arrangement of atoms!
2011/8/11 Special Kain
Dear Alexander and Shahrooz
I wholeheartedly agree.
The Austrian psychiatrist and neurologist Victor Frankl was an expert in clinical depression, suicide and one's quest for meaning. He was also an inspiration for humanistic psychology (i.e. people deserve to live to their full potential). He taught his students and readers that meaning isn't something that we will be provided or rewarded with, but something that we give to ourselves and for which we are solely responsible.
One of his findings is that we get a sense of meaningfulness when we commit ourselves to and actively engage in something that is larger than one's ego. Simple hedonism doesn't work, and yet his theory on meaning is more than Christianity's uncritical praise of altruism. In other words, we have to manage the dynamic tensions between our individualistic needs and desires and our desire to contribute constructively to something larger (family, team, community, society at large etc.).
Our western societies have been radically psychologized (please see Eva Illouz). I'm all for sociologization, so everybody can learn for themselves that they are always part of social situations and that individuals and their surroundings cannot be separated. Think of the Moebius strip!