fredagen den 26:e augusti 2011

The Ecologism of Zarathushtra (was: The Worldview of a Mazdayasni)

Dear Parviz

It is the other way round: The ecological disasters make it MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER to separate asha from druj. Because it is the only way to solve the problems involved. Asha is another word for SUSTAINABILITY, druj for DESTRUCTION THROUGH SHORTSIGHTEDNESS. Zarathushtra was the first ecologist. Listen to him.

Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/26 Parviz Varjavand

What we SEE and what we WISH to see.

I love my native Iran and some forty years ago I was in the Environmental Protection agency here working hard to protect the land. Now I travel often to the shores of the Caspian Sea and I can see day after day how this beautiful sea is dying. I do not want to go into details and bring tears to your eyes, but the size of the calamity is very large. Who is guilty of these crimes happening against nature? No one is and everyone is at the same time.

If global warming and the many other ecological disasters are killing our whole planet, is our situation one of Asha or Droj? Who were the Ashavands and who were the Drojvands who have brought us into this nightmare this far? I would venture that every Ashavand was a Drojvand at the same time, from the man who invented the wheel to the man who tamed the horse to the man who sent us into space. So the separation of Asha from Droj cannot be determined by how nicely everything FITS into one another, it takes religious commitments LARGER than the commitments of any other religion to be an Ashavand and a Mazdayasni. Can man actually do this? Civilization proves to me that man can’t; we are asking the termite to stop eating wood. Mithra cannot stop bleeding to death our mother the Cow.

Sorry for not being "constructive" here and the image of a bitter old man fits.

Mehr Afzoon,
Parviz Varjavand


--- On Thu, 8/25/11, Special Kain wrote:

From: Special Kain
Subject: Re: [Ushta] The Worldview of a Mazdayasni (was: The Concept of Truth)
To: "Ushta@yahoogroups.com"
Date: Thursday, August 25, 2011, 4:52 PM


Dear Parviz
It has nothing to do with political opportunism, conformity or lawyers. Asha simply is that which fits with what it real (as in 'the laws of nature are real'). Druj is that which isn't real or which deceives us. Asha therefore has a lot to do with intellectual integrity. It is one's willingness to speak the truth at play here.

Ushta,
Dino

Von: Alexander Bard
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Gesendet: 23:52 Donnerstag, 25.August 2011
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] The Worldview of a Mazdayasni (was: The Concept of Truth)


Who said it was simple to separate asha from druj? Nobody did.
Parviz, I don't know what you think you can achieve by portraying yourself as some wise old man while treating everybody else like naive idiots? Dino and Hampus are anything but naive. So stop accusing them of naivety, please!
The number of lawyers has nothing to do with what is asha and what is druj. Nothing at all. There's no connection. The fact that something is asha or is druj doesn't determine which is chosen. Unless you're a sincere Mazdayasni, of course, but which few people are and we are merely WORKING towards becoming.
You should support that ambition instead of throwing your bitterness around here. It would be more, shall we say, constructive. OK?
Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/25 Parviz Varjavand

Dear Dino and Hampus,

If separating Asha from Droj was as simple as you make it sound, then we would not have need for so many lawyers, would we?
Any good lawyer jokes?
Man in a cemetery sees this grave marked, "here lies a lawyer and an honest man", and he wonders to himself "How did they fit two corpses in one grave!/"

Purviz


--- On Thu, 8/25/11, Special Kain wrote:

From: Special Kain
Subject: Re: [Ushta] The Worldview of a Mazdayasni (was: The Concept of Truth)
To: "Ushta@yahoogroups.com"
Date: Thursday, August 25, 2011, 2:12 AM

I agree, dear Hampus.
Asha has nothing to do with opportunism and intellectual sluggishness. We are requested to live in accordance with "that which is true / which truly fits" (asha) and not with "that which deceives" (druj). People deserve to know the truth and that which works in the long run, and they also deserve to be free to base their choices on the actual facts and long-term thinking. Anything will prove to be destructive. Zarathushtra's doctrine of asha is all about the empowerment of people through education and civilization as its result. Even though the truth can be downright nasty at times.

Ushta,
Dino

Overcoming nihilism - the Zoroastrian way (Continued)

Except that Nietzsche and Tanner meant radically different things.
What Nietzsche speaks of is acceptance of that which can not be changed or altered. His idea is identical to Zarathushtra's idea of asha (Zarathushra was of course the original Nietzschean). As a STARTING POINT for choices that CAN be made.
The only alternative would be to bitterly accuse the past for it being what it is. And I don't think Tanner would find that any more joyous. ;-
Having said this, I totally agree with you concerning Nietzsche's quote. It could have come straight from The Gathas.
And Parviz is a sweetheart and an excellent interlocutor.
Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/26 Special Kain

In "The Gay Science" Nietzsche wrote:
"I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a yes-sayer."

It is indeed a beautiful thought. We love our fate and do not want anything to be different. And this is from where we will create ourselves ("to give style to one's character"). We take all the bits and pieces that we encountered and create something - someone - out of it that is larger than the sum of its parts. This is most affirmative. It is our artistic tastes based on ethical choice that give meaning to our existence.

Michael Tanner once said that this "undifferentiated yes-saying" creates strangely boring and dull persons. ;-)



Von: Parviz Varjavand
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Gesendet: 3:35 Freitag, 26.August 2011
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Overcoming nihilism - the Zoroastrian way


Dear Alex,

I wish I could present what I want to say as profoundly and well as you just did.
I could not agree with you more.

Mehr,
Parviz

--- On Thu, 8/25/11, Alexander Bard wrote:

From: Alexander Bard
Subject: [Ushta] Overcoming nihilism - the Zoroastrian way
To: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Date: Thursday, August 25, 2011, 7:21 AM


Dear Dino and Hampus

I believe Zarathusthtra's whole point - as with any process philosopher - is to leave the choice free (or rather explain that it always is) but then try to understand end explain the CONSEQUENCES of choices taken. It is quite easy for us to choose logically - and foresee the PRACTICAL and PHYSICAL consequences of our actions - but the really tough question which absorbed Zarathushtra is the question of WHAT OUR CHOICES DO TO US. Who am I before I choose? Who do I become after my choice? And who do I become after the consequences of actions taken become apparent? Which direction in my life are my actions taking ME as seen by myself?
This is a concern Zarathushtra shared with Nietzsche, but which does not seem to concern Zizek much (who doesn't speak of affirmation in his works). I believe it is the most important question of all. Nihilsim becomes AFFIRMATIVE the second it is properly thought through, and acted upon, this is when it becomes an AFFIRMATIVE nihilism and creates the opportunity for "amor faiti" or its result, "asha-vahishta".

Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/25 Special Kain

@ Alexander:
I agree. The thing that comes next is CHOICE. To choose what to do with it next and how to do it. As Nietzsche pointed out, there are at least two sides to nihilism: nihilism out of strength and nihilism out of weakness.
This is different from Slavoj Zizek's take on Nietzscheanism: active nihilism (one's willingness to destroy everything in equal measure) vs. passive nihilism (one's willingness to surrender to relentless destruction).

@ Hampus:
I really don't understand what you mean. Could you please elaborate on your thoughts? Much appreciated!

torsdagen den 25:e augusti 2011

The Holy Spirit - the only part of The Trinity which is Zoroastrian

The beauty of the concept of Mazda is that it is not limited to a A mind, Mazda only becomes greater and greater by EXPANDING. Which means Mazda is not really some minds as opposed to others (such as in the rather wasteful Abrahamic religions where CONFLICT is always at the center of things, as if the most human trait of all is thugishness) but rather THE UNITY OF MINDS IN COLLABORATION. What infuriates Zarathushtra is the WASTE and STUPIDITY of choosing plunder over civilization. And what this in turn does to the people who do it (turns them into short-sighted zombies rather than lively humans). Zoroastrianism is like a Christianity without the Father or The Son but rather with just the Holy Spirit (as the manifestation of all believers acting as if one mind together). No wonder many historians believe the concept of The Holy Spirit was taken directly from the Zoroastrians in Palestine (the Essenites).
Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/25 hampus lindblad

Dear Alex,

Yes! That is more or less what I tried to describe with my squash wall example! Let's say you are playing the game solo. You could just hit the wall straight on and thus give yourself a very easy time. It would allow you to tell yourself how good a player you are because you can just stand there for long periods never failing to return the ball to the wall. But after a while it will become boring and harder and harder to keep alive the illusion of your great skill as you are not taking any chances at all. Not pushing the envelope to the slightest degree. Then you may try to start adding some variation to the game, thus increasing the difficulty but also the enjoyment. The game is now completely different, but the wall remains always the same.

With a second player things start to become really interesting as the complexity increases exponentially. Assuming for the sake of argument that you have "perfect" skill and your opponent hasn't, then the choice stands between what type of game is the most constructive and enjoyable from a long term perspective. You could completely crush your opponent, but then every game will be very short and soon he or she might lose interest in playing against you whilst not learning anything due to a insurmountable learning curve. And what good does your control of the racket provide you with if in the end all it produces is the self-depreciation of others. You will end up playing a very lonely game, where no amount of variation in trajectories and energy will seem to amount to anything but masturbation.

So is it not wiser to lower the difficulty level and ignore the demands of your ego, thus keeping the ball alive longer, allowing your opponent to both find enjoyment as well as improvement of his or her skill? This so that future games will provide you with a increasingly more sophisticated resistance. Imagine a game where both of you are of equal skill and the beauty of your exchanges are practically transcendentally exquisite...

Ushta,
Hampus




On Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 4:21 PM, Alexander Bard wrote:

Dear Dino and Hampus


I believe Zarathusthtra's whole point - as with any process philosopher - is to leave the choice free (or rather explain that it always is) but then try to understand end explain the CONSEQUENCES of choices taken. It is quite easy for us to choose logically - and foresee the PRACTICAL and PHYSICAL consequences of our actions - but the really tough question which absorbed Zarathushtra is the question of WHAT OUR CHOICES DO TO US. Who am I before I choose? Who do I become after my choice? And who do I become after the consequences of actions taken become apparent? Which direction in my life are my actions taking ME as seen by myself?
This is a concern Zarathushtra shared with Nietzsche, but which does not seem to concern Zizek much (who doesn't speak of affirmation in his works). I believe it is the most important question of all. Nihilsim becomes AFFIRMATIVE the second it is properly thought through, and acted upon, this is when it becomes an AFFIRMATIVE nihilism and creates the opportunity for "amor faiti" or its result, "asha-vahishta".

Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/25 Special Kain

@ Alexander:
I agree. The thing that comes next is CHOICE. To choose what to do with it next and how to do it. As Nietzsche pointed out, there are at least two sides to nihilism: nihilism out of strength and nihilism out of weakness.
This is different from Slavoj Zizek's take on Nietzscheanism: active nihilism (one's willingness to destroy everything in equal measure) vs. passive nihilism (one's willingness to surrender to relentless destruction).

@ Hampus:
I really don't understand what you mean. Could you please elaborate on your thoughts? Much appreciated!

Ushta,
Dino

Overcoming nihilism - the Zoroastrian way

Dear Dino and Hampus

I believe Zarathusthtra's whole point - as with any process philosopher - is to leave the choice free (or rather explain that it always is) but then try to understand end explain the CONSEQUENCES of choices taken. It is quite easy for us to choose logically - and foresee the PRACTICAL and PHYSICAL consequences of our actions - but the really tough question which absorbed Zarathushtra is the question of WHAT OUR CHOICES DO TO US. Who am I before I choose? Who do I become after my choice? And who do I become after the consequences of actions taken become apparent? Which direction in my life are my actions taking ME as seen by myself?
This is a concern Zarathushtra shared with Nietzsche, but which does not seem to concern Zizek much (who doesn't speak of affirmation in his works). I believe it is the most important question of all. Nihilsim becomes AFFIRMATIVE the second it is properly thought through, and acted upon, this is when it becomes an AFFIRMATIVE nihilism and creates the opportunity for "amor faiti" or its result, "asha-vahishta".

Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/25 Special Kain

@ Alexander:
I agree. The thing that comes next is CHOICE. To choose what to do with it next and how to do it. As Nietzsche pointed out, there are at least two sides to nihilism: nihilism out of strength and nihilism out of weakness.
This is different from Slavoj Zizek's take on Nietzscheanism: active nihilism (one's willingness to destroy everything in equal measure) vs. passive nihilism (one's willingness to surrender to relentless destruction).

@ Hampus:
I really don't understand what you mean. Could you please elaborate on your thoughts? Much appreciated!

Ushta,
Dino

Von: hampus lindblad
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Gesendet: 13:09 Donnerstag, 25.August 2011
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Zoroastrian ethics and self-victimization


Dear Alex,

I couldn't agree more! This was the situation that I faced after my first major LSD trip at 18. Nihilism it is, but so is "something" observing it, and truly realizing that is the key. From that starting point just use the nihilism the same way you use a static wall in a squash game and off you go with a flying start towards the omega point (which you've just had a terrorizing yet somehow delicious taste of)! :)

It's a bit like always carrying Pandora's Box within you, but you already know what it contains so there is no longer any unbearing curiosity gnawing at your unwillingness to open it. You just let it sit in its place in a corner somewhere - maybe with a nice spotlight on it as a token of respect - and then go about your business trying to be creatively constructive and humorous.

Ushta,
Hampus

On Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 12:10 PM, Alexander Bard wrote:

I believe the trick is not to fight against nihilism but TO BUILD FROM nihilism.
I always describe myself as a post-nihilist. I don't deny anything in my past or in the history of the people of the culture where I come from. Neither do I embrace the past out of love or some emotional attachment to it, but rather I embrace the past in the spirit of the Nietzschean "amor fati", as an OBLIGATION, a duty, out of an ethical logic.
I have therefore really in its deepest sense CHOSEN Zoroastrianism.
So the question is not if you are a nihilist and how you arrived there but rather WHERE DO YOU GO NOW FROM THIS UNDENIABLE STARTING POSITION.
The hardest thing with a history of bullying is usually not the history itself and certainly not the scars (yes, they are overrated and usually more a source of enjoyment more than anything else) but the fact that THE ORIGIN OF THE BULLYING REMAINS. The very reason why a person becomes a social outcast are still there (such as the odd personality type or the incapacity to read and understand social codes etc). This fosters hatred which according to Zarathushhtra causes a deep self-hatred too.
In this sense, the feeling of being an outsider is not a thing of the past but very real in the here and now and quite likely in the future too. Dealing with this in small step by steps is then the only way forward. But why should everybody be a social expert? We people need each other and being a social expert is just one of many talents where we humans can COMPLEMENT each other rather than compete with each other as we are fostered to think these days.
Ushta
Alexander

Zoroastrian ethics and Self-victimization Part 2

I believe the trick is not to fight against nihilism but TO BUILD FROM nihilism.
I always describe myself as a post-nihilist. I don't deny anything in my past or in the history of the people of the culture where I come from. Neither do I embrace the past out of love or some emotional attachment to it, but rather I embrace the past in the spirit of the Nietzschean "amor fati", as an OBLIGATION, a duty, out of an ethical logic.
I have therefore really in its deepest sense CHOSEN Zoroastrianism.
So the question is not if you are a nihilist and how you arrived there but rather WHERE DO YOU GO NOW FROM THIS UNDENIABLE STARTING POSITION.
The hardest thing with a history of bullying is usually not the history itself and certainly not the scars (yes, they are overrated and usually more a source of enjoyment more than anything else) but the fact that THE ORIGIN OF THE BULLYING REMAINS. The very reason why a person becomes a social outcast are still there (such as the odd personality type or the incapacity to read and understand social codes etc). This fosters hatred which according to Zarathushhtra causes a deep self-hatred too.
In this sense, the feeling of being an outsider is not a thing of the past but very real in the here and now and quite likely in the future too. Dealing with this in small step by steps is then the only way forward. But why should everybody be a social expert? We people need each other and being a social expert is just one of many talents where we humans can COMPLEMENT each other rather than compete with each other as we are fostered to think these days.
Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/24 Special Kain

Perhaps this has nothing to do here, but the reason why I'd love to discuss this issue is indeed rather personal.
I was exposed to bullying and peer victimization at school and this is why I'm having a hard time developing a constructive and AFFIRMATIVE attitude. I refuse to use the terms "emotionally screwed" or "emotionally scarred", because I don't want to go emo. But there's a persistent nihilistic twist to my attitude.
They say that when you're going through hell, keep going. And we can get a really compelling thrill from being a victim.

Ushta,
Dino

Von: Alexander Bard
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Gesendet: 9:20 Mittwoch, 24.August 2011
Betreff: [Ushta] Zoroastrian ethics and self-victimization


Well, two things:

1. Self-victimization is never good in itself for the person concerned. Even the victims of horrific crimes like the Holocaust did much much better after being freed when REFUSING TO ACCEPT VICTIMHOOD which I believe should be seen as an ethical conscious act rather than as some kind of emotional issue. Films and books like "Sophie's Choice" have elaborated on this issue extensively. So did the philosopher Hannah Arendt.

2. Still, there is victimization that is relevant and has to be dealt with. There is then an enormous difference between the SOUGHT self-victimization which begins with an INNER URGE to find an EXCUSE for being destructive on the one hand and LEGITIMATE victimization (such as a bullied child in Sweden or a starving child in Somalia). We need to make a clear distinction between the two. The first should not be encouraged at all and even ridiculed. The second kind should result in POLITICAL ACTIVISM as its proper ethical response. The best response for example to famine in Somalia is not to give money to aid organisations but to engage in the democratization and political reforms movement of the area in question. Think long term REMOVAL of victimhood.

3. Rule of thumb: NEVER vicitmize somebody unless they have asked for it and their claims are legitimate. It is degrading to declare somebody a victim against their wishes, and it is CONSERVING always to declare somebody a victim even if legitimate. We can take people to court and judge them as perpetrators without making the victims concerned victims for ever. The longer you stay a victim (wth no alternative identity) the worse it is.

Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/23 Special Kain

Dear brothers and sisters

I would like to discuss the issue of self-victimization. Some play victims in order to attract other people's attention and gain power over them (also known as "psychic vampires"), others have been victimized and are stuck in a vicious cycle (the long-term consequences of school bullying and peer victimization).
I would especially love to hear Alexander's words on this issue, since he has properly addressed it in interviews and postings before.

Ushta,
Dino

onsdagen den 24:e augusti 2011

Zoroastrian ethics and Self-victimization

Well, three things:

1. Self-victimization is never good in itself for the person concerned. Even the victims of horrific crimes like the Holocaust did much much better after being freed when REFUSING TO ACCEPT VICTIMHOOD which I believe should be seen as an ethical conscious act rather than as some kind of emotional issue. Films and books like "Sophie's Choice" have elaborated on this issue extensively. So did the philosopher Hannah Arendt.

2. Still, there is victimization that is relevant and has to be dealt with. There is then an enormous difference between the SOUGHT self-victimization which begins with an INNER URGE to find an EXCUSE for being destructive on the one hand and LEGITIMATE victimization (such as a bullied child in Sweden or a starving child in Somalia). We need to make a clear distinction between the two. The first should not be encouraged at all and even ridiculed. The second kind should result in POLITICAL ACTIVISM as its proper ethical response. The best response for example to famine in Somalia is not to give money to aid organisations but to engage in the democratization and political reforms movement of the area in question. Think long term REMOVAL of victimhood.

3. Rule of thumb: NEVER vicitmize somebody unless they have asked for it and their claims are legitimate. It is degrading to declare somebody a victim against their wishes, and it is CONSERVING always to declare somebody a victim even if legitimate. We can take people to court and judge them as perpetrators without making the victims concerned victims for ever. The longer you stay a victim (wth no alternative identity) the worse it is.

Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/23 Special Kain

Dear brothers and sisters

I would like to discuss the issue of self-victimization. Some play victims in order to attract other people's attention and gain power over them (also known as "psychic vampires"), others have been victimized and are stuck in a vicious cycle (the long-term consequences of school bullying and peer victimization).
I would especially love to hear Alexander's words on this issue, since he has properly addressed it in interviews and postings before.

Ushta,
Dino

måndagen den 22:e augusti 2011

The Case against Cultural Relativism (and Atheism)

Which is logically inconsistent: To say that there is no truth worth to hold on to is in itself to claim a truth one considers worthy holding to. It's like the inconsistency of atheism: To say that there is no God worth believing in means that there must be a very firm belief in what this God is, how could the concept otherwise be refuted? I can accept that somebody is A-Christian or A-Islamic, but atheism is a position that doesn't hold up to intellectual scrutiny. Cultural relativism is logically impossible to cling onto.
Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/22 Special Kain

Pragmatically speaking, we always hold something to be true. There always is something that we believe in. Even nihilists have faith in the fact that there is nothing worth to believe in. They believe that it is pointless to have any beliefs at all. Their truth is unbearably absurd, so they reject all truth there is. Why should we build from something that is cruel and unfair? It would make all things a lot worse and our lives a lot more miserable. Their favourite interpretation (!) has failed them, so they interpret the world as if there were no interpretations to be favoured over others.


Von: Alexander Bard
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Gesendet: 11:59 Montag, 22.August 2011
Betreff: [Ushta] The Worldview of a Mazdayasni (was: The Concept of Truth)

Consequence: Parviz DOES HAVE FAITH in the fact that there is something fluid there (a constantly respelled Parviz Varjavand, if nothing else) which can not find a constant faith in anything. Which is in itself a lasting faith in SOMETHING to build from, to build a constantly changing, fluid but functional idea of a reality which in all its glory Parviz CHOOSES to hold sacred in its entirety. A Mazdayasni worldview!
Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/22 Special Kain

@ Parviz:
I don't have much faith in anything.

@ Yazed and Alexander:
Given the constant renewal of the world, that which fits with our world always changes too.

Ushta,
Dino

The Worldview of a Mazdayasni (was: The Concept of Truth)

Consequence: Parviz DOES HAVE FAITH in the fact that there is something fluid there (a constantly respelled Parviz Varjavand, if nothing else) which can not find a constant faith in anything. Which is in itself a lasting faith in SOMETHING to build from, to build a constantly changing, fluid but functional idea of a reality which in all its glory Parviz CHOOSES to hold sacred in its entirety. A Mazdayasni worldview!
Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/22 Special Kain

@ Parviz:
I don't have much faith in anything.

@ Yazed and Alexander:
Given the constant renewal of the world, that which fits with our world always changes too.

Ushta,
Dino

Von: Alexander Bard
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Gesendet: 10:24 Montag, 22.August 2011
Betreff: [Ushta] The Concept of Truth

Dear Yazed

Parviz is right. And I disagree with him that hois position is only followed by a minority of Zoroastrians, I believe it is the other way round. At least her in Europe, there are hardly no followers of the idea that The Gathas is sacred book. It is just a smart book. As for your question: When you chill water below zero degrees centigrades it turns into ice. When you heat it above 100 degrees centigrades it turns into steam. No, truths are not valid everywhere and at all times, truths are always dependent on the cirumstances. Even physical truths. So even more so mental truths, including how we DESCRIBE the physical reality with a very non-physical thing, language! Since language is the tool with which to describe truth and language is fluid, then "truths must be considered fluid" too (this is the foundation for the philosophical school called "Pragmatism"). This is the major difference between Zoroastrianism and the Abrahamic faiths: We understand that the conditions for truth also regulate what truth is possible. The meat-truth decides what truth is possible. And the fact that Truth is not forever valid is actually a possibility for us, a POSSIBILITY FOR HUMAN FREEDOM and CREATIVE EXPRESSION, not a problem but a possibility.

Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/22 Parviz Varjavand

Dear Yazed,

Truths that are for all times and never change are written in sacred books that are for all times and no man is allowed to change them. These books are usually written not by man but by God. If you want to have Gatha or Vandidad be such books for you, there are a majority of Zoroastrians that will stand by you. Alex and Dino seem to be Mazdaists and they are writing the rules for what they wish to belive in. I am a Muzdaict and have my own school of thought all together. No shortage of crazy people when you choose to look at Zoroastrianism close up.

Mehr Ufzoon,
Purviz Vurjavund

The Concept of Truth

Dear Yazed

Parviz is right. And I disagree with him that hois position is only followed by a minority of Zoroastrians, I believe it is the other way round. At least her in Europe, there are hardly no followers of the idea that The Gathas is sacred book. It is just a smart book. As for your question: When you chill water below zero degrees centigrades it turns into ice. When you heat it above 100 degrees centigrades it turns into steam. No, truths are not valid everywhere and at all times, truths are always dependent on the cirumstances. Even physical truths. So even more so mental truths, including how we DESCRIBE the physical reality with a very non-physical thing, language! Since language is the tool with which to describe truth and language is fluid, then "truths must be considered fluid" too (this is the foundation for the philosophical school called "Pragmatism"). This is the major difference between Zoroastrianism and the Abrahamic faiths: We understand that the conditions for truth also regulate what truth is possible. The meat-truth decides what truth is possible. And the fact that Truth is not forever valid is actually a possibility for us, a POSSIBILITY FOR HUMAN FREEDOM and CREATIVE EXPRESSION, not a problem but a possibility.

Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/22 Parviz Varjavand

Dear Yazed,

Truths that are for all times and never change are written in sacred books that are for all times and no man is allowed to change them. These books are usually written not by man but by God. If you want to have Gatha or Vandidad be such books for you, there are a majority of Zoroastrians that will stand by you. Alex and Dino seem to be Mazdaists and they are writing the rules for what they wish to belive in. I am a Muzdaict and have my own school of thought all together. No shortage of crazy people when you choose to look at Zoroastrianism close up.

Mehr Ufzoon,
Purviz Vurjavund

--- On Sun, 8/21/11, yazed kapadia wrote:

From: yazed kapadia
Subject: Re: [Ushta] The Meaning of Asha and The Concept of Truth
To: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Date: Sunday, August 21, 2011, 8:18 PM

Can truth be dynamic? Should a truth not be a truth at all times?

Yezad

On Sun, Aug 21, 2011 at 8:55 PM, Alexander Bard wrote:

Dear Parviz

I agree, I agree, I agree!!!
However my point all along as been that if we are too afraid of making truth-statements (such as: I am actually right and you are actually wrong when the current situation actually is a fact) then we are just castrated beings and no more Mazdayasni then we would be as extremists and absolutists of the Ronald Delevaga or Usama bin-Laden type. It is about avoiding not one ditch but also about avoiding falling into the other ditch. Castrates are no better at living a full Mazdayasni life than absolutists.
To understand Zarathushtra here is not to be against Truth as an absolute but to claim that Truth does exist BUT IS FLUID RATHER THAN STATIC. It is the idea of static truth we are against, not truth as the utlimate horizon of our ethical being.
Being a Mazdayasni means also DARING to make the EXISTENTIAL ACT of pronouncing a truth when such a truth is evident to us, since this is what gives us SUBSTANCE as human beings, this is what manifests Mazda within us.
Zarathushtra's point is that THINKING the right thought is only the beginning. The full Mazdayasni identity also requires opur vocal statement of the truth of the moment and the ACTION accordingly. The silent proper thinker is not in itself a full Mazdayasni.
We can't oppose dictators like Assad in Syria by sitting silently in cafés thinking that in another era and another time Assad could have been a good guy (truth as always and only relative). As Mazdayasni, we have to cross the street and demonstrate against the likes of Assad making ourselves THE TRUTH of that moment although Truth in the long run is in flux. Act ethically to BECOME ETHICAL BEINGS!

Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/21 Parviz Varjavand

Ushta Alex,

I gave the example of a vegetarian and one who eats meat also as the difference between Giti and Minoo, remember! I said in both cases we kill something living to eat, but since vegis are silent when we kill them while animals cry and bleed a lot more, we are justified to differentiate between the two realms.

What I all along objected to was Truth as an absolute, as one monolith in the Minoo against Droj as a Monolith. This I objected to because people who tend to think in black and white like that are more likely to write books such as Mein Kamph. Please read me more carefully and you will see that we are not far apart on this issue of what Asha is in the Minoo realm at all. If Asha was ONE THING in Minoo, we would have almost no choice at all. When we have many Ashas lined up in our mind Minoo, it is then that we can choose the Asha Vahishta or the best amongst them.

When I read my Ashem Vohoo over and over again, I get high, because it tells me this over and over. Ashem (Asha) is great, but Ushta goes to the one seeking the Vahishtayi Ashem or the Highest Asha. It never tells me what the Asha Vahishta is, (as in Semitic religions) it leaves it up to me to choose it. And why should I choose it? For the Ushta or ultimate Bliss that I will get as a reward if I do!
Show me any other religion with a Mantra this profound, and I will convert to it! Our Mantra is the most powerful there is.

Ashem Vohoo Vahishtam Asti.
Asha is good and is the best.
Ushta asti.
Is Bliss.
Ushta Ahmayi Heyad Ashayi,
Ushta upon whom seeking that Asha (which is),

VAHISHTAYI ASHEM.
THE HIGHEST (BEST OF) ASHA.

Mehr,
Parviz Varjavand

--- On Sat, 8/20/11, Alexander Bard wrote:

From: Alexander Bard
Subject: [Ushta] The Meaning of Asha
To: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Cc: "Dina McIntyre"
Date: Saturday, August 20, 2011, 10:43 AM

Very very good, then have settled on a great and important agreement!!!
If there was confusion on this topic it could be because I don't even talk of asha but of asha-vahishta when it comes to the ETHICAL aspect of asha which can of course only be PRECEIVED as an existential choice by minoo, not in itself as a physical phenomenon only, even though it could be proved to be such a thing deep beneath (pretty much ironically like physics is in itself always in flux, there is no such thing as fixed physics).
The important thing is that the laws are not the same. I would prefer to speak of THE MENTAL REALM as an EMERGENCE coming out of the physical realm, still 100% physical but PERCEIVED as a world of its own.
For example, we all know that the color yellow is a certain wavelength of light but we do not perceive it as such, we percieve the color yellow not for its wavelength but for its YELLOWNESS which our minds add to the wavelengths our sight picks up.
Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/20 Parviz Varjavand
Dear Alex,

This has been my point all along.
While Asha has hard laws applying to it in the Phisical or Giti realm, it does not have such laws in the Minoo or Mental realm. In the Minoo, you have to choose from amongst many Asha their best. So Asha in Giti and Asha in Minoo are not the same.

Parviz

--- On Fri, 8/19/11, Alexander Bard wrote:

From: Alexander Bard
Subject: [Ushta] The Meaning of Asha
To: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Cc: "Dina McIntyre"
Date: Friday, August 19, 2011, 3:01 PM

Dear Parviz

I don't think anybody should sign any contract stating that they promise to follow asha.
That would be way too Abrahamic. We as Zoroastrians live with a fluid and flexible ethics, not with a fixed and assumed objectively valid moralism. We become our actions but we are not our actions in advance!
We have no commandments since it is the CIRCUMSTANCES that always determine what is the right thing to do (what is likely to be the best long-term outcome). And this can never be detailed in advance but rather has to always BE LIVED WITHIN THE MOMENT OF DECISION ITSELF.
Zarathushtra was indeed NOT an Abrahamist. So why would he ask us to behave as if we were?

Ushta
Alexander

söndagen den 21:e augusti 2011

The Meaning of Asha and The Concept of Truth

Dear Parviz

I agree, I agree, I agree!!!
However my point all along as been that if we are too afraid of making truth-statements (such as: I am actually right and you are actually wrong when the current situation actually is a fact) then we are just castrated beings and no more Mazdayasni then we would be as extremists and absolutists of the Ronald Delevaga or Usama bin-Laden type. It is about avoiding not one ditch but also about avoiding falling into the other ditch. Castrates are no better at living a full Mazdayasni life than absolutists.
To understand Zarathushtra here is not to be against Truth as an absolute but to claim that Truth does exist BUT IS FLUID RATHER THAN STATIC. It is the idea of static truth we are against, not truth as the utlimate horizon of our ethical being.
Being a Mazdayasni means also DARING to make the EXISTENTIAL ACT of pronouncing a truth when such a truth is evident to us, since this is what gives us SUBSTANCE as human beings, this is what manifests Mazda within us.
Zarathushtra's point is that THINKING the right thought is only the beginning. The full Mazdayasni identity also requires opur vocal statement of the truth of the moment and the ACTION accordingly. The silent proper thinker is not in itself a full Mazdayasni.
We can't oppose dictators like Assad in Syria by sitting silently in cafés thinking that in another era and another time Assad could have been a good guy (truth as always and only relative). As Mazdayasni, we have to cross the street and demonstrate against the likes of Assad making ourselves THE TRUTH of that moment although Truth in the long run is in flux. Act ethically to BECOME ETHICAL BEINGS!

Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/21 Parviz Varjavand

Ushta Alex,

I gave the example of a vegetarian and one who eats meat also as the difference between Giti and Minoo, remember! I said in both cases we kill something living to eat, but since vegis are silent when we kill them while animals cry and bleed a lot more, we are justified to differentiate between the two realms.

What I all along objected to was Truth as an absolute, as one monolith in the Minoo against Droj as a Monolith. This I objected to because people who tend to think in black and white like that are more likely to write books such as Mein Kamph. Please read me more carefully and you will see that we are not far apart on this issue of what Asha is in the Minoo realm at all. If Asha was ONE THING in Minoo, we would have almost no choice at all. When we have many Ashas lined up in our mind Minoo, it is then that we can choose the Asha Vahishta or the best amongst them.

When I read my Ashem Vohoo over and over again, I get high, because it tells me this over and over. Ashem (Asha) is great, but Ushta goes to the one seeking the Vahishtayi Ashem or the Highest Asha. It never tells me what the Asha Vahishta is, (as in Semitic religions) it leaves it up to me to choose it. And why should I choose it? For the Ushta or ultimate Bliss that I will get as a reward if I do!
Show me any other religion with a Mantra this profound, and I will convert to it! Our Mantra is the most powerful there is.

Ashem Vohoo Vahishtam Asti.
Asha is good and is the best.
Ushta asti.
Is Bliss.
Ushta Ahmayi Heyad Ashayi,
Ushta upon whom seeking that Asha (which is),

VAHISHTAYI ASHEM.
THE HIGHEST (BEST OF) ASHA.

Mehr,
Parviz Varjavand

--- On Sat, 8/20/11, Alexander Bard wrote:

From: Alexander Bard
Subject: [Ushta] The Meaning of Asha
To: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Cc: "Dina McIntyre"
Date: Saturday, August 20, 2011, 10:43 AM

Very very good, then have settled on a great and important agreement!!!

If there was confusion on this topic it could be because I don't even talk of asha but of asha-vahishta when it comes to the ETHICAL aspect of asha which can of course only be PRECEIVED as an existential choice by minoo, not in itself as a physical phenomenon only, even though it could be proved to be such a thing deep beneath (pretty much ironically like physics is in itself always in flux, there is no such thing as fixed physics).
The important thing is that the laws are not the same. I would prefer to speak of THE MENTAL REALM as an EMERGENCE coming out of the physical realm, still 100% physical but PERCEIVED as a world of its own.
For example, we all know that the color yellow is a certain wavelength of light but we do not perceive it as such, we percieve the color yellow not for its wavelength but for its YELLOWNESS which our minds add to the wavelengths our sight picks up.
Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/20 Parviz Varjavand

Dear Alex,

This has been my point all along.
While Asha has hard laws applying to it in the Phisical or Giti realm, it does not have such laws in the Minoo or Mental realm. In the Minoo, you have to choose from amongst many Asha their best. So Asha in Giti and Asha in Minoo are not the same.

Parviz

--- On Fri, 8/19/11, Alexander Bard wrote:

From: Alexander Bard
Subject: [Ushta] The Meaning of Asha
To: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Cc: "Dina McIntyre"
Date: Friday, August 19, 2011, 3:01 PM

Dear Parviz

I don't think anybody should sign any contract stating that they promise to follow asha.
That would be way too Abrahamic. We as Zoroastrians live with a fluid and flexible ethics, not with a fixed and assumed objectively valid moralism. We become our actions but we are not our actions in advance!
We have no commandments since it is the CIRCUMSTANCES that always determine what is the right thing to do (what is likely to be the best long-term outcome). And this can never be detailed in advance but rather has to always BE LIVED WITHIN THE MOMENT OF DECISION ITSELF.
Zarathushtra was indeed NOT an Abrahamist. So why would he ask us to behave as if we were?

Ushta
Alexander

lördagen den 20:e augusti 2011

Drives and Desires (was: Daoism vs Zoroastrianism)

However, all of this needs to have a foundation - you need to also honestly respond to the question: "What is in it for me?". You owe this to yourself before you even make the choice to become a Mazdayasni.
Well, what is the motor of our personalities anyway? In the deepest sense it is drive, and in the immedaite sense it is desire. Zarathushtra fully understood this. Drives and desires motivate people both to live in general and to choose the things they choose for themselves in life. It is self-evident to all actors Zarathushtra portray in "The Gathas".
What he then did in "The Gathas" was to place the drives and desires of himself and others within a bigger and social context. His ethics places drives and desires where they should be as to be fulfilled in their deepest, most long-term, most fulfilling sense.
Not speaking of drives and desires risks losing out on the very foundation of a Zoroastrian ethics. It's like constructing the walls and the roof of a beautiful house while forgetting to build a basement. How do you then expect the house to stay in place?
This is all especially important when showing the differences between Zoroastrianism, Daoism and Buddhism: Zoroastrianism views drives and desires as productive and good in themselves. Daoism views them as possibly productive but equally damaging and problematic. favoring a balancing of drive and desire in themselves. Buddhism sees drives and desires as problematic in themselves, the idea of nirvana is an existence where none of them are left to roam. As do Christianity and Platonism too.

Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/20 Special Kain

I am not sure if this talk about drives and desires makes things unnecessarily more complicated.
As far as I understand The Gathas, we are encouraged to educate ourselves and then base our choices on long-term thinking. Plus we are requested to nurture good thoughts in order to become better persons, since it is our deeds that make us what we are. We must be brutally honest with ourselves and fully commit ourselves to the truth and contribute to civilization and all its benefits. Because civilizations will prove better in the long run.

Ushta,
Dino

Von: Alexander Bard
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Gesendet: 19:33 Samstag, 20.August11
Betreff: [Ushta] Daoism vs Zoroastrianism

I agree with Dino on the differences between Daoism and Zoroastrianism.
Zoroastrianism is pro-active in a sense that Daoism is not. And Zoroastrianism is not against any drives and desires other than it advocates the LONG-TERM drives and desires when these collide with short-term impulses.
Therefore Zarathushtra's focus on thinking BEFORE speaking BEFORE acting.

Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/20 Special Kain

Another difference between Zoroastrianism and Daoism is that in Daoism people want to become immortal and live forever. There were several meditation practices and chemical experiments that were devoted to this ideal. For example, there is one Daoist school that would have its followers create an "astral foetus" within their physical bodies in order to survive one's physical death.

Zoroastrianism: I believe there is a universe and I have DECIDED that this universe is sacred to me

I would put it this way: Every man and woman who acts within wisdom is a MANIFESTATION of Ahura Mazda. Even more so, people coming together and acting wisely together are even more a manifestation of Ahura Mazda. When I see young people demonstarting for freedom, liberty and justice in the streets of Cairo and Damascus in 2011, I see manifestations of Ahura Mazda. And I agree with Yazed: To me, The Universe is God because The Universe does exist and is amazing and indeed sacred to me. I will believe this until The Universe itself tells me to believe something else. ;-)
Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/20 SHAHROOZ ASH

Hope all is well and good.

The only god is the wise man/woman (Ahura Mazda), because a wise man/woman is a pure person. In terms of ethics a pure and wise person always acts with good intentions. Thus, never causing harm to any person and environment which supports human life because of greed or fear. A child also falls within this same category because children are pure. Ahura Mazda means; a being that is wise. A human is a being, and if wise, then you have a wise being (Ahura Mazda). The only thing that is praise worthy or worth worshiping is; children and wise persons. The only god (Ahura Mazda) is man.

Wishing you the best (Behesht),
Shahrooz Ash
To: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
From: ysk@airtelmail.in
Date: Sat, 20 Aug 2011 08:58:02 +0530
Subject: Re: [Ushta] Zoroastianism: I believe there is a universe and I have DECIDED that this universe is sacred to me

There is a lot of debate about whether God exists. I have come to the conclusion, after listening to all arguments, that God could either be the Universe itself or your spirit or conscience. It is difficult to describe Him/Her!

Yezad

On Sat, Aug 20, 2011 at 3:37 AM, Alexander Bard wrote:
Dear Behnaz
I believe there is a universe and I have DECIDED that this universe is sacred to me.
I don't care about all that God-talk and neither did Zarathushtra. He does not use the term God even once in "The Gathas".
If you share my belief, then you are a true Zoroastrian. And there is no need to look for something bigger and better than yourself or the world around you. Make the best of yourself and the world around you instead. You are divine. The world is divine. Which is precisely why you should be nice to yourself and those around you that you love.

Ushta
Alexander

The Meaning of Asha

Very very good, then have settled on a great and important agreement!!!
If there was confusion on this topic it could be because I don't even talk of asha but of asha-vahishta when it comes to the ETHICAL aspect of asha which can of course only be PRECEIVED as an existential choice by minoo, not in itself as a physical phenomenon only, even though it could be proved to be such a thing deep beneath (pretty much ironically like physics is in itself always in flux, there is no such thing as fixed physics).
The important thing is that the laws are not the same. I would prefer to speak of THE MENTAL REALM as an EMERGENCE coming out of the physical realm, still 100% physical but PERCEIVED as a world of its own.
For example, we all know that the color yellow is a certain wavelength of light but we do not perceive it as such, we percieve the color yellow not for its wavelength but for its YELLOWNESS which our minds add to the wavelengths our sight picks up.
Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/20 Parviz Varjavand

Dear Alex,

This has been my point all along.
While Asha has hard laws applying to it in the Phisical or Giti realm, it does not have such laws in the Minoo or Mental realm. In the Minoo, you have to choose from amongst many Asha their best. So Asha in Giti and Asha in Minoo are not the same.

Parviz

--- On Fri, 8/19/11, Alexander Bard wrote:

From: Alexander Bard
Subject: [Ushta] The Meaning of Asha
To: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Cc: "Dina McIntyre"
Date: Friday, August 19, 2011, 3:01 PM

Dear Parviz

I don't think anybody should sign any contract stating that they promise to follow asha.
That would be way too Abrahamic. We as Zoroastrians live with a fluid and flexible ethics, not with a fixed and assumed objectively valid moralism. We become our actions but we are not our actions in advance!
We have no commandments since it is the CIRCUMSTANCES that always determine what is the right thing to do (what is likely to be the best long-term outcome). And this can never be detailed in advance but rather has to always BE LIVED WITHIN THE MOMENT OF DECISION ITSELF.
Zarathushtra was indeed NOT an Abrahamist. So why would he ask us to behave as if we were?

Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/19 Parviz Varjavand
Dear Dina,

First, allow me to apologize for mixing your views and those of Dino, even though I think you are both very close in thinking of Asha as “that which Fits”. In philosophy, abstract thinking is what we need as a tool and not trying to figure out the minds of Mahatma Gandy, Mother Theresa, or Jesus Christ. (You know what I am trying to say here ;-). Mithra is the guardian of contracts and as a lawyer you know how important the precise language and the precise meaning of words are when written in a contract. I feel Mazdayasna in the modern world can be a religion for the intellectuals and as such I wish it to have precise meanings to the key nomenclature it uses. The meaning of Asha as you describe it, is clear in the physical (Giti) realm. It is how physical things behave and the laws that apply to them. Water runs down hill, and that is how it is.

But when we get to separating Asha from Droj in the mental world (Minoo), we as Ashavands need the two words described more clearly. If the way you describe what Asha and Droj are is satisfactory to all who are interested in Mazdayasna, then good for you all. I am the odd man out and to me the words are most confusing. I would not sign any contract in which one of the clauses is, “and Parviz Varjavand hereby promises to act according to Asha in the premises or else loose all the deposit money he has put down.”

There are religions that need the smoke and mirrors and the unclear language so that their Gurus will never be out of a job while sitting on a top of mountain answering the pilgrims what he thinks Dharma or Karma is. I do not feel Mazdayasna need to be one more such path. The old Magi would melt bronze and pour it on the chest of their victims in order to find if they were telling the Asha or Droj of a situation. This is also part of our heritage when it comes to the distinction between Asha and Droj in the mental world. I want the heritage to change so that we can write contracts that Mithra will understand and so will lawyers.

Mehr Afzoon,

Parviz Varjavand

Daoism vs Zoroastrianism

I agree with Dino on the differences between Daoism and Zoroastrianism.
Zoroastrianism is pro-active in a sense that Daoism is not. And Zoroastrianism is not against any drives and desires other than it advocates the LONG-TERM drives and desires when these collide with short-term impulses.
Therefore Zarathushtra's focus on thinking BEFORE speaking BEFORE acting.

Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/20 Special Kain
Another difference between Zoroastrianism and Daoism is that in Daoism people want to become immortal and live forever. There were several meditation practices and chemical experiments that were devoted to this ideal. For example, there is one Daoist school that would have its followers create an "astral foetus" within their physical bodies in order to survive one's physical death.

Von: Special Kain

An: "Ushta@yahoogroups.com"
Gesendet: 12:47 Samstag, 20.August 2011
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Tao and Asha

Dear Daniel

You are right. Daoism and Zoroastrianism put their focus on the physical world around us and encourage us to live in accordance with the flows and complexities of life. But Zoroastrian philosophy is also concerned with civilizations and therefore more proactivist in nature than Daoism. For example, I act as a Zoroastrian and I rest as a Daoist.

Ushta,
Dino

Von: Daniel Samani
An: "Ushta@yahoogroups.com"
Gesendet: 12:39 Samstag, 20.August 2011
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Tao and Asha

Dear Dino,

Indeed I agree here. I don't know what "Daudejing" intention is when they talk about natural flows. I do like activism more, I just want to have a clear understanding of the difference. Both seem to focus on roughly the same thing to my mind.

Ushta
Daniel

20 aug 2011 kl. 11:47 skrev Special Kain :
Dear Daniel

There is no talk about our drives and desires in the "Daudejing". It is rather a practical guide concerning lifestyles that are in conformity with nature. As such, it states that we should not freeze and stiffen, but rather go with the flow of nature, because this flow overcomes all obstacles in time. So Daoist philosophy is more about surrendering to natural flows, rather than proactively change the way streams flow.

Ushta,
Dino

Von: Daniel Samani
An: "Ushta@yahoogroups.com"
Gesendet: 9:07 Samstag, 20.August 2011
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Tao and Asha

Are you saying that Zoroastrianism is more clear when defining long term desires as the better choice. While Daoism use wage words as balance? To be against short term desires is to be against some sort of desire is it not? You just stated that Daoism wasn't negative towards restraint, so not pro-restraint then? How is Daoism and Zoroastrianism different in regard to productivity of drives and desires?

Ushta
Daniel

19 aug 2011 kl. 23:51 skrev Alexander Bard :
I agree fully with Dino and this is also most often mentioned as the reason for people choosing Zoroastrianism over Daoism. Daoism does not have the NEGATIVITY towards drives and desires that is so common in Buddhist philosophy. But neither does Daoism harbor the concept of PRODUCTIVITY of drives and desires inherent to Zoroastrianism. So while Daoism fosters an attitude of CONTROL and BALANCING, within Zarathushra's philosophy the act of balancing is never directed AGAINST DRIVE or DESIRE but rather Zarathushtra discusses the opposites of long-term drives and desires as SUPERIOR to short-term drives and desires. But in Zarathushtra's world drives and desire are good and productive in themselves. No wonder Zarathushtra was opposed to the cultures of monks, nuns, and hermits common to CULTURES OF RESTRAINT. Zarathushtra was opposed t restraint, but he was all for CLEVERNESS. I believe this is what Dino is at too when he points out the small but still existant difference between Zoroastrianism and Daoism, its possibly closest relative in philosophy, and also a dominant influence on Zen, just like Zoroastrianism.
Ushta
Alexander

fredagen den 19:e augusti 2011

Was Zarathushtra a teleologist? My answer is no!

However, the one thing that DOES change over time is technological complexity.
This means that we both get wonderful new tools like computers and the internet that connects people productively and creatively around the world.
But technology also creates rampant pollution and atomic bombs.
But as far as human beings are concerned, we are the same people and have the same genes we did 100,000 years ago.
And I mustoffer friendly disagreement with Dina on the supposed teleology of Zarathushtra. I don't see any such traces in "The Gathas". Zarathushtra is an ETHICIST and not an historicist.
And if teleology was correct, then why would we listen to a man from 3,700 years ago. We should then all be infinitely smarter than him by now. Which I happen to think is obviously not true. ;-)

Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/19 Special Kain

Dear Dina

As a sociologist I am very sceptical when it comes to teleology. My inner scholar tells me that we are not progressing towards a better state. We are not progressing towards The Ultimate Democracy (as in Hegel's "the end of history"). Times just change, and we change with them, for better or worse. What we can't deny is an increase in complexity and the creation of new and more efficient technologies. And if we're not completely deranged, we can learn from previous experiences. I would recommend "soft teleology" that does justice to the fundamental uncertainty of social change.

Ushta,
Dino

----- Weitergeleitete Message -----
Von: "dinamci@aol.com"
An: special_kain@yahoo.de; bardissimo@gmail.com
Gesendet: 16:10 Freitag, 19.August 2011
Betreff: Re: Reply to Dino The Meaning of Asha

Dear Dino

I hope that you are well and in good spirits. Thank you for your kind words. Your comment regarding 'teleological misunderstanding' sent me flying to the dictionary (so much for my 'brilliant mind' which I assure you is far from it!). According to my dictionary 'teleological' means 'exhibiting or relating to design or purpose', so yes, I do see that in Zarathushtra's thought, and I am inclined to agree with him.

You are indeed accurate when you say that social change is hard to predict. And I fully agree that our society is not 'objectively superior' (I really dislike the notion of 'superiority' in any event). But I (with due respect) do not agree that as a society we have not, slowly but surely, improved in many (though not all) respects over our past. Let me give you a few examples:

In the Middle Ages in Europe, people who dared to think differently from the established Church -- whether in matters of science, or 'morals' or philosophical belief, were condemned as heretics. Many of them were tortured by the Inquisition, imprisoned for long years, or burned alive at the stake. This kind of control also extended to secular rulers, with Protestant rulers burning Catholics, and Catholic rulers burning Protestants. And prisoners were routinely tortured to obtain 'confessions' which were admissible in court and used to condemn them. Today, it is true that religious authorities still exercise a measure of control over people's minds (witness the fundamentalist sects in various religions, and even in mainstream sects, the control that is exercised through fear of damnation and 'hell' ), but neither church nor state has such pervasive control over human thought as they did in the Middle Ages. It is true that we do take steps backwards, (witness the brutalities and controls of the Soviet Union and the Nazis), and it is also true that we do still have the torture of individuals to obtain information, some times by a government (as we know to our shame and sorrow), but again, not to the pervasive extent that was prevalent during the Inquisition. Then it was considered "right". Today it is condemned by most people. And most courts in our societies do not accept testimony obtained through torture. It is also true that we have terrorists who blow people up, but again not to the extent of the systematic and frequent (almost routine) burning at the stake of those who were 'different' in thought, word or action, that occurred in the Middle Ages.

So yes, I do think, that slowly, with many ups and downs, -- two steps forward, one step backwards -- we nevertheless are progressing towards a better society. According to Zarathushtra, (as I understand his thought) this occurs because of the way things have been ordered (asha) which includes many factors -- the law of consequences (that we reap what we sow), the ability to think / feel, and mutual loving help, which helps to break destructive cycles (such as the abused abusing others, cycles of injustice, hatred and revenge etc.). This ability to think/feel, is a part of asha (good thinking is the comprehension of the true (correct) order of things, however incrementally). This mutual loving help is also a part of asha. It is delivered through words and actions that embody the true (correct) order of things. Such words and actions which embody asha are (in my view) the concept of aramaiti.

So I do not think that in Z's thought there is any teleological misunderstanding. I think he did see a design and purpose in the experiences that engender an evolution in our thoughts, words and actions. And I have to say that I find his idea persuasive. But my dear friend, it is perfectly all right for you to disagree with me. Zarathushtra's whole idea of the freedom to think requires that we respect differences of opinion, or it would be a hollow freedom indeed.

You are welcome to forward this to the Ushta list if you think it appropriate.

Wishing you the best,

Dina.

-----Original Message-----
From: Special Kain
To: Ushta ; dinamci
Sent: Fri, Aug 19, 2011 9:19 am
Subject: Re: [Ushta] The Meaning of Asha

Dear Dina

Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge and wisdom with us. I have always loved your brilliant mind!
If asha also applies to the mind, then should we see ourselves as progressing towards a better society built on wisdom? Isn't this a teleological misunderstanding? Frankly, I don't believe in teleology as a sociologist. Social change is hard to predict. Our future society isn't "objectively superior" to our current or any past societies.
What do you think?

Ushta,
Dino

Zoroastianism: I believe there is a universe and I have DECIDED that this universe is sacred to me

Dear Behnaz

I believe there is a universe and I have DECIDED that this universe is sacred to me.
I don't care about all that God-talk and neither did Zarathushtra. He does not use the term God even once in "The Gathas".
If you share my belief, then you are a true Zoroastrian. And there is no need to look for something bigger and better than yourself or the world around you. Make the best of yourself and the world around you instead. You are divine. The world is divine. Which is precisely why you should be nice to yourself and those around you that you love.

Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/18 Behnaz Larsen

Dear Alexander
Right now I don't believe in much. Have a hard enough time believing in a God. Angels, I am afraid have taken a backseat and believing in them would simply be too much to ask.
I am though aware of a desire that I have which pushes me forward to find peace with something else, a bigger, better being. Believing in angles and gods and extra ordinary beings take practice. So far I haven't had the time or the desire for it but I want a God! I want to listen to my instincts and look for it. I might find myself after a long search but then I will believe in me!
I am afraid I am not as advanced in this as you are. I have just began but you are inspiring me with the words you write and I am finding a new path. I am afraid I can never be a blind follower but I do envy them. Life is just easier when you have another watching over you. Keep on writing. I am listening.

Sent from my iPad

On Aug 18, 2011, at 9:33 AM, Alexander Bard wrote:

Dear Behnaz

Folk religion has and probably always will exist.
In India, people make the clear distinction between those who believe in Hindu philosophy (Brahmanism) and those who believe in folk religions with gods, angels and all the other bits and pieces (who for example worship Ganesha The Blue Elephant God). A Brahmanist would never worship Ganesha as he or she does not even believe Ganesha exists. Still, the two cultures of Philosophy and Religion co-exist peacefully and to mututal benefit.
Iranian culture somehow lost this dual culture. What was left after Islam came into Iranian culture was the angel worshipping part while the Philosophy (Mazdayasna) went into hiding or even disappeared.
We are now trying to resurrect Iranian philosophy (Mazdayasna) as it was set out from the beginning from Zarathushtra (the original Zoroastrianism). And there is not a single word of angels anywhere in "The Gathas", Ahura Mazda is not Lord Wisdom (a male god figure with male genital organs etc) but rather a principle of existence on which a philosophical religion rather than a folk religion can be based (wherever there is supreme wisdom, this is a menifestation of Ahura Mazda etc).
The angels and other fluffy things are not Zoroastrian, those things are pre-Zoroastrian. But do you honestly believe in the existence of such things? If so, like Dino said, please go ahead! But on the Ushta List we are dealing with the philosophical religion Zarathushra invented which we have inherited and are trying to do something meaningful with. And if Zarathushtra did not believe in supernatural beings, why should we? What's wrong with NATURAL beings as a foundation for a religion. Asha means "that which exists" and not "that which we make up to tell each others as fairytales".

Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/17 Special Kain

Dear Behnaz

There is nothing wrong with you. :-)
You are free to believe in a supreme being. You are free to focus on the big picture rather than the details. A good exercise for you would be to be totally honest with yourself and ask yourself why you have these desires. Not because there would be anything wrong with them, but because this means to live truthfully.
There are so many differences among Zoroastrians, because our faith is 3.700 years old. Zoroastrians have spread and lived among other cultures and religions, and they have adoped and creatively re-used the ideas and theories in their different cultural and religious environments. This perfectly explains the differences between Zoroastrians in Iran and their Parsi sisters and brothers in India. But there are a lot more beliefs that we share.

Ushta,
Dino

The Meaning of Asha

Dear Parviz

I don't think anybody should sign any contract stating that they promise to follow asha.
That would be way too Abrahamic. We as Zoroastrians live with a fluid and flexible ethics, not with a fixed and assumed objectively valid moralism. We become our actions but we are not our actions in advance!
We have no commandments since it is the CIRCUMSTANCES that always determine what is the right thing to do (what is likely to be the best long-term outcome). And this can never be detailed in advance but rather has to always BE LIVED WITHIN THE MOMENT OF DECISION ITSELF.
Zarathushtra was indeed NOT an Abrahamist. So why would he ask us to behave as if we were?

Ushta
Alexander
- Dölj citerad text -

2011/8/19 Parviz Varjavand

Dear Dina,

First, allow me to apologize for mixing your views and those of Dino, even though I think you are both very close in thinking of Asha as “that which Fits”. In philosophy, abstract thinking is what we need as a tool and not trying to figure out the minds of Mahatma Gandy, Mother Theresa, or Jesus Christ. (You know what I am trying to say here ;-). Mithra is the guardian of contracts and as a lawyer you know how important the precise language and the precise meaning of words are when written in a contract. I feel Mazdayasna in the modern world can be a religion for the intellectuals and as such I wish it to have precise meanings to the key nomenclature it uses. The meaning of Asha as you describe it, is clear in the physical (Giti) realm. It is how physical things behave and the laws that apply to them. Water runs down hill, and that is how it is.

But when we get to separating Asha from Droj in the mental world (Minoo), we as Ashavands need the two words described more clearly. If the way you describe what Asha and Droj are is satisfactory to all who are interested in Mazdayasna, then good for you all. I am the odd man out and to me the words are most confusing. I would not sign any contract in which one of the clauses is, “and Parviz Varjavand hereby promises to act according to Asha in the premises or else loose all the deposit money he has put down.”

There are religions that need the smoke and mirrors and the unclear language so that their Gurus will never be out of a job while sitting on a top of mountain answering the pilgrims what he thinks Dharma or Karma is. I do not feel Mazdayasna need to be one more such path. The old Magi would melt bronze and pour it on the chest of their victims in order to find if they were telling the Asha or Droj of a situation. This is also part of our heritage when it comes to the distinction between Asha and Droj in the mental world. I want the heritage to change so that we can write contracts that Mithra will understand and so will lawyers.

Mehr Afzoon,
Parviz Varjavand

From: Alexander Bard
To: Ushta
Cc: jafarey@aol.com; Dina McIntyre
Sent: Fri, August 19, 2011 5:39:54 AM
Subject: [Ushta] The Meaning of Asha


Dear Friends


We thank our dear friend Dina McIntyre for making this posting available to us all on the Ushta List.

Please read and feel free to comment!
Alexander

2011/8/18
Dear Alexander,

It is kind indeed of so many of you to copy me on these interesting discussions. I note that Zaneta mentioned in one of these emails that I had defined asha as 'what fits' although Dino seems to have got the blame for it in subsequent exchanges. I thought, in the interests of integrity, I should set the record straight, and I apologize for waiting for so long to do so. You are welcome to copy this email to any List that you think appropriate. The following represents my opinion on what meaning Zarathushtra ascribes to asha, based both on linguistics, and also on the ways in which he uses the word in the Gathas.

The literal meaning of asha (according to many first class linguists) is indeed 'what fits' as in what is ordered in a system. It corresponds to the Vedic rta, and the Old Persian arta, which have roughly the same meaning. The question of course arises (for anyone interested in Zarathushtra's ideas) what does Zarathushtra have in mind when he uses the word 'asha'. This question is relevant, not for the purpose of slavishly following Zarathushtra's ideas, but for the purpose of understanding his ideas. Before any of us can decide whether we agree or disagree with his ideas, we have to first understand what his ideas may have been in this (as in any other) instance.

Based on its Vedic and Old Persian cognates, Asha has been variously translated as 'truth' 'order' and 'righteousness'. It would be reasonable to question how one word could possibly have three such different meanings. Well, Zarathushtra did not think in English (or any other language in existence today). So to understand what he may have had in mind, we have to think outside of the box of the English language, and try to look at the matter through his eyes.

Zarathushtra sees (our) reality as the existences of matter and of mind, which (in our reality) are integrated, and asha 'what fits' applies to both existences.

In the existence of matter, 'what fits' is what is correct -- as in factually (physically, materially) correct -- the natural laws that order the universe, the laws of what today we call science -- physics, chemistry, biology, etc. So asha is the true, (correct) order of things in the existence of matter.

In the existence of mind, 'what fits' is also what is 'correct' -- as in what is right. But in the Gathas, what is 'right' is not a judgmental, puritanical rectitude. If we look at all the evidence of what Zarathushtra sees as 'right' we see that it comprises such notions as truth, goodness, beneficence, lovingkindness, generosity, solicitude, friendship, compassion, justice, being constructive, not being destructive, not being inimical, et cetera. In short, asha in the existence of mind includes all the good values we cherish which befit the true (correct, right) order of things in the existence of mind.

So in essence, asha means the true (correct) order of things in the existences of matter and of mind. There is no one-word equivalent in English that comes even close. The word 'truth', is an inadequate equivalent but the best one word equivalent I can think of.

And what I really like is that in speaking of this true (correct) order of things, Zarathushtra does not give us fact specific answers. Indeed, he endearing admits he does not have all the answers. He says "...As long as I shall be able and be strong, so long shall I search in quest of truth. Truth, shall I see thee as I continue to acquire ... good thinking..." Y28.4-5. In other words, he tells us to search for the true, (correct) order of things in the existences of matter and of mind.

This quest for truth, with good thinking, includes searching for the physical (factual) truths of our universe. Zarathushtra does not tell us, as an article of faith that the sun revolves around the earth. Instead, he demonstrates his quest for truth in the existence of matter, not by giving fact-specific answers, but by asking all sorts of questions pertaining to such things: "...Which man did fix the course of the sun and of the stars? Through whom does the moon wax (now) and wane later?" Y44.3; "...Which man has upheld the earth below and the heavens (above) from falling? Who the waters and the plants?..." Y44.4; "...which craftsman created the luminous bodies and the dark spaces? ... sleep and activity? Through whom does the dawn exist along with midday and evening?..." Y44.5. Gallileo would have been happy with this approach.

This quest for truth, with good thinking, also includes searching for what is correct (right) in the existence of mind. What is 'right' in one generation, or in one culture, may be very different from what is 'right' in another culture. So is Zarathushtra's idea of 'right' subjective? I do not think it is. I think it is our perceptions of 'truth' or 'right' that are subjective. But as we evolve or grow, through time and experiences, our perceptions change. A hundred years ago in the US, women were not allowed to have careers, own property, or vote. That was considered 'right'. Today no one (in the US) would consider that state of affairs as 'right'. Over time, through thinking, and experiencing, and debating, our perceptions change, and change, and change, until eventually, 'truth' and 'right' and our perceptions of it, are the same. And that is wisdom personified (mazda). I am persuaded by Thieme's view that mazda means not just wise, but wisdom personified. Mazdayasni (in my opinion) means the worship of wisdom. And in Zarathushtra's thought, we 'worship' with truth, good thinking, and embodying the truth with each thought, word and action. A living, loving worship. So (as in philosophy which means love of wisdom) in Zarathusthtra's thought, mazdayasni does indeed mean loving wisdom.

Also (for what it's worth) do not think there are two kinds of asha -- asha vahishta and just plain asha. Vahishta simply is the superlative degree of 'good' vohu. So asha vahishta simply means the most-good asha. Asha (truth) has also been called 'the most beautiful'. It is just a way of describing the nature of asha, bearing in mind that it applies to both the existences of matter and mind -- the physical and the abstract.

I hope that above clarifies any misunderstandings that may have occurred as to my views on asha, and especially I hope that it relieves Dino of any blame for what may not be his views at all.

Wishing us the best,

Dina G. McIntyre

Taoism vs Zoroastrianism

I agree fully with Dino and this is also most often mentioned as the reason for people choosing Zoroastrianism over Daoism. Daoism does not have the NEGATIVITY towards drives and desires that is so common in Buddhist philosophy. But neither does Daoism harbor the concept of PRODUCTIVITY of drives and desires inherent to Zoroastrianism. So while Daoism fosters an attitude of CONTROL and BALANCING, within Zarathushra's philosophy the act of balancing is never directed AGAINST DRIVE or DESIRE but rather Zarathushtra discusses the opposites of long-term drives and desires as SUPERIOR to short-term drives and desires. But in Zarathushtra's world drives and desire are good and productive in themselves. No wonder Zarathushtra was opposed to the cultures of monks, nuns, and hermits common to CULTURES OF RESTRAINT. Zarathushtra was opposed t restraint, but he was all for CLEVERNESS. I believe this is what Dino is at too when he points out the small but still existant difference between Zoroastrianism and Daoism, its possibly closest relative in philosophy, and also a dominant influence on Zen, just like Zoroastrianism.
Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/19 Special Kain

Dear Daniel

The Chinese word "dau" means "road" in modern-day English. In Daoist philosophy, it is the flow and process of reality itself: the dynamic change between "the 10,000 things". The relationships between "the 10,000 things" are in constant flux, nothing is ever settled and fixed. Since these 10,000 things do not merge into one larger whole, but always retain their plurality, we cannot fully grasp "dau". Therefore we cannot name it nor comprehend it. The Chinese word "de" is often translated as "virtue", but it rather means "the order of things" or how things that come together (dau) are being ordered (de). Even though the basic characteristic of this world is change, the world is not merely chaotic.

So the pathos is similar: Daoists examine the nature of this world and then choose to live in accordance with it ("wu wei" as "acting naturally", since "not doing" is a misleading translation). However, the difference between Zoroastrianism and Daoism is PROACTIVITY. Zoroastrianism is much more activist than Daoism.

Ushta,
Dino

Von: Daniel Samani
An: "Ushta@yahoogroups.com"
Gesendet: 11:49 Freitag, 19.August 2011
Betreff: [Ushta] Tao and Asha

"Lao-Tzu considered that ‘When tao is lost only then does the doctrine of virtue arise’. As a practical philosophy Taoism is therefore based on the suppression of desire in favour of natural simplicity and tranquillity." - Oxford Dictionary

So what does this tells us about the diffrence between Asha and Tao? To my mind Zoroastrism talks about that with works for our and others desires in the long run. Does Taoistic Tao consider desires to be virtues? Any thoughts on this?

Ushta
Daniel

The Substance of Humanity (was: Asha and the Bikini)

Dear Parviz

What a wonderful topic and discussion!
The answer to your most interesting question lies in the CONSEQUENCES of the actions. The long-term effects of the actions.
Even humans are known to eat their babies during extreme conditions of war and malnutrition. Even if this sounds horrible to us modern human beings it can still be "asha-vahishta" during extreme conditions when this is THE LEAST BAD ACTION POSSIBLE considering the long-term effects. I would even add that TRUE ETHICS is precisely to be able to take the leats bad option - even if it is horrible - during the most difficult conditions, This is what makes us proud to be humans. Zoroastrianism is not for softies. ;-)
The reason why we humans are ethical beings rather than just animals is precisely because we can speculate and take different possible outcomes into account (what you correctly describe as the realm of minoo). This is why Zarathushtra added the vahishta to the realm of the minoo. And not only did he point out that our mental capacity makes us ethical beings, the true radicality of Zarathushtra is his historically unique claim that OUR ETHICAL BEING IS OUR VERY SUBSTANCE. You minoo is IDENTICAL with your thoughts, words and actions.

Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/19 Parviz Varjavand

Dear Dino,

I think you are a poet as well as a philosopher and I like your views more and more as I go over them. I know that as men, we tend to purify things and that works at times against us, like making sugar out of beats, while if we ate the beat itself, it would be much more beneficial for us. Now about Asha in the woods, it is Asha in the state that the mind of men has not tried to extract its essence out of it. So if I reach out my hand in the woods and touch a poisonous snake and it bites me and I die, nothing BAD has happened to me, it is just Asha of how things are in the woods that has happened to me. When a cat gives birth, the mother cat is known to eat one or more of its kittens, this is just ASHA then and mama cat is not doing something BAD or DROJ. But if a mama human eats her baby, we do all sit up and shout DROJ, DROJ. So when does the Asha in nature become the DROJ? Qaddafi in Libya is like the snake in the woods, or is there a difference just because we assume that he is more of a human than an animal? How much of the consciousness of a Swede does Qaddafi need to poses before the laws of Alex can apply to him?

Mehr, Parviz


From: Special Kain
To: "Ushta@yahoogroups.com"
Sent: Thu, August 18, 2011 1:13:43 PM
Subject: Re: [Ushta] Asha and the Bikini

Dear Behnaz

Asha is not a state of mind. When you're in the woods, you can reach out your hand and touch asha everywhere. For better or worse, the world is as it is.

Ushta, Dino

Von: Behnaz Larsen
An: "Ushta@yahoogroups.com"
Cc: "Ushta@yahoogroups.com"
Gesendet: 20:36 Donnerstag, 18.August 2011
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Asha and the Bikini


Dear Dino,
I have to read this a couple of times..... Is Asha then unreachable? I thought we have to strive to reach the state of Asha, as though it were there to be reached with our hands, thoughts, words and deeds. If Asha is there because it is, then cancer cells could also be Asha, assuming they are caused due to genetic irregularities. They are there and we have to decide what attitude we will have towards them.
I guess I should read your respond again.
Thank you

Sent from my iPad

On Aug 18, 2011, at 11:16 AM, Special Kain wrote:

Dear Behnaz

Asha has nothing to do with social norms. Asha is the truth as in "that which truly exists". It has more to do with natural phenomena such as plant growth than with socially accepted behaviors.
Asha as such is neither good nor bad. If we translate asha as "righteousness", it should not be mistaken for a moralistic imperative. It rather refers to the regularities in the natural world (the course of the sun and the stars, certain plants grow under different conditions, etc.). It is the habits that we can observe in the natural world.
There are indeed regularities in human behaviors that can be explained (neuro-)psychologically, physiologically, sociologically and so on. But it says nothing about ethics. The Greek word "ethos" means "Haltung" in German ("attitude" in English). Zarathushtra stressed vohu manah in relation with asha: it is one's attitude towards that which truly exists that matters ethically in this context. For example, one's willingness to live truthfully and in accordance with asha (asha-vahishta, "furthering asha").

As Parviz suggested, we should keep asha and asha-vahishta separate and not confuse them with each other. Asha has to do with the engine of your car, asha-vahishta has to do with the pollution of the environment and constructing eco-friendlier cars in order to protect the environment.

Ushta,
Dino


Von: Behnaz Larsen
An: "Ushta@yahoogroups.com"
Cc: Ushta ; zoroastrians
Gesendet: 1:21 Donnerstag, 18.August 2011
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Asha and the Bikini


I am not an expert on Asha, but the Asha that I believe in, does not consider a nude person a criminal. You cannot call yourself a wise society when you spend your time and money on arresting people for being nude or ugly or eccentric etc. Not all laws and social norms are wise. Most of the time the laws are out of date. So if the norms are not wise then following them couldn't be according to Asha.

Sent from my iPad

On Aug 17, 2011, at 11:30 PM, Parviz Varjavand wrote:


Friends,

Let me explain why I think there is no fixed Asha when we are in the Minoo or
Mental realm.
How much of their body can they expose when ladies go swimming?
There are some nudist colonies where they can take all their cloths off and
swim in the nude.
Next, in most beaches in the West, ladies are allowed to wear a Bikini and swim.
In many European beaches, ladies can take the top part of their Bikini off and
no one will mind.

In America ladies will get arrested for taking the top part of their Bikini off
as it is considered "Indecent Exposure".
After reading so far you may ask "So what? What is your point?"
My point is that between going around in total nudity and where the women have
to go around totally covered and not allowed to swim in public beaches
altogether, all kinds of laws exists on the book. These laws are man made and
not absolute. One should fight the ones one feels are unjust, but to do the
right thing at the right time to achieve the right results depends on what beach
it is that you want to go swim in. The law that you will sink and suffocate if
your hands and feet are tied by hundred kilos of chain before you are thrown in
the sea is Asha and absolute, the laws of physics will kill you there and not
the laws of man. Laws of Asha in Physics are much more unyealding than man made
laws where you have a wide range of possibilities allowing you to bargain for
Asha-Vahishta or even make Asha Vahishta happen in the shape of changing the
law.

Parviz Varjavand

torsdagen den 18:e augusti 2011

Zoroastrianism: The Difference between a Philosophical Religion and a Folk Religion

Dear Behnaz

Folk religion has and probably always will exist.
In India, people make the clear distinction between those who believe in Hindu philosophy (Brahmanism) and those who believe in folk religions with gods, angels and all the other bits and pieces (who for example worship Ganesha The Blue Elephant God). A Brahmanist would never worship Ganesha as he or she does not even believe Ganesha exists. Still, the two cultures of Philosophy and Religion co-exist peacefully and to mututal benefit.
Iranian culture somehow lost this dual culture. What was left after Islam came into Iranian culture was the angel worshipping part while the Philosophy (Mazdayasna) went into hiding or even disappeared.
We are now trying to resurrect Iranian philosophy (Mazdayasna) as it was set out from the beginning from Zarathushtra (the original Zoroastrianism). And there is not a single word of angels anywhere in "The Gathas", Ahura Mazda is not Lord Wisdom (a male god figure with male genital organs etc) but rather a principle of existence on which a philosophical religion rather than a folk religion can be based (wherever there is supreme wisdom, this is a menifestation of Ahura Mazda etc).
The angels and other fluffy things are not Zoroastrian, those things are pre-Zoroastrian. But do you honestly believe in the existence of such things? If so, like Dino said, please go ahead! But on the Ushta List we are dealing with the philosophical religion Zarathushra invented which we have inherited and are trying to do something meaningful with. And if Zarathushtra did not believe in supernatural beings, why should we? What's wrong with NATURAL beings as a foundation for a religion. Asha means "that which exists" and not "that which we make up to tell each others as fairytales".

Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/17 Special Kain
Dear Behnaz

There is nothing wrong with you. :-)
You are free to believe in a supreme being. You are free to focus on the big picture rather than the details. A good exercise for you would be to be totally honest with yourself and ask yourself why you have these desires. Not because there would be anything wrong with them, but because this means to live truthfully.
There are so many differences among Zoroastrians, because our faith is 3.700 years old. Zoroastrians have spread and lived among other cultures and religions, and they have adoped and creatively re-used the ideas and theories in their different cultural and religious environments. This perfectly explains the differences between Zoroastrians in Iran and their Parsi sisters and brothers in India. But there are a lot more beliefs that we share.

Ushta,
Dino

Von: Behnaz Larsen
An: "Ushta@yahoogroups.com"
Cc: "Ushta@yahoogroups.com"
Gesendet: 22:50 Mittwoch, 17.August 2011
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Zoroastrianism is Philosophy as Religion

That is very clear to me. I don't believe in a God either, though I very much want to. However, this is another matter. What I find confusing is that I believed, from what I have read that mazdayasna is straight- forward and not easily misunderstood as for example a faith or philosophy such as Islam, which no one can understand. I cannot see why an idea could be considered and followed by millions, but be only understood by few. Your version and "their" version are not the same and I consider that a failure of the teacher. Yes, I guess that is what I am confused about. If the idea is brilliant, if the teacher was right, then why such differences among the followers? And where is there a place for people like me, people who only see the big picture and only focus on the result? People who want to believe, for the sake of their sanity, in a supreme being without banging their heads on a temple wall? If I am not an orthodox and don't want to be an atheist, then where will I belong to? Do I consult a Mobed for guidance or a philosopher? am I in the wrong forum?

On Aug 17, 2011, at 10:23 PM, Special Kain wrote:

Dear Behnaz

What is it that you find confusing?
There are panentheists and pantheists. There are those who believe in a divine being that once created this world and those who don't. I don't believe in god - like most modern converts and western scholars. Ahura Mazda is a philosophical concept, above all else. It is Mazda that we worship and hold to be sacred, since Mazdayasna is the original name of our faith. And Mazda means "wisdom" in English.

Ushta,
Dino

Von: Behnaz Larsen
An: "Ushta@yahoogroups.com"
Cc: "Ushta@yahoogroups.com"
Gesendet: 21:51 Mittwoch, 17.August 2011
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Zoroastrianism is Philosophy as Religion

Misleading? The very title of the supreme wisdom, or the very root of the idea of this ideology is Ahura Mazda! Since I am still a student here i will allow myself to ask the above question. I hope you'll understand that I am not criticising but I always thought that the way of the behdins was much more straight forward than the other ideologies.

However, now I am reading that even the Wise lord and righteousness are not what they seem to be and I don't know how to look at it any longer. The beauty of this straight-forward path is no more. I don't disagree with any of you but I am trying to find my place in this. There are the traditionalist, angel worshippers, who follow rituals more than the actual path and here you are entangled in words. Where do you think I could fit in?

Sent from my iPad

On Aug 17, 2011, at 1:32 PM, Alexander Bard wrote:
With one word being feminine and the other word being masculine, Zarathushtra clearly had no "male personality" such as "a lord" in mind when he coined the concept of Ahura Mazda. "Lord Wisdom" is therefore tragically misleadning. "Mind-on-Being-as-a-sacred-unity" is possibly the closest we can get to translating Ahura Mazda to contemporary English.
Ushta
Alexander

2011/8/17 Special Kain
Asha is the truth as in "that which truly exists" and "how it really works".
Ahura is a title that usually designates the divine as in "that which is divine" and "that which is sacred". It is commonly used for proper deities. Mazda is "wisdom" and "intelligence". So if we speak of Ahura Mazda, we speak of wisdom as sacred and divine. The translation "Lord Wisdom" is not necessarily wrong, but it is misleading. The original Avestan expression literally means that it is a sacred act to place one's mind (e.g. to be wise). ago.