torsdagen den 26:e januari 2012

Fate vs Asha in Zoroastrian philosophy

Exactly!
And to Zarathushra Asha also IMPLIES an ethics (not a morality) based on a life in accordance with truth, honesty, science, the here-and-now rather any fantasy place somewheer distant in time and space.
All of this taught by Zarathushtra remarkably 3,600 years ahead of Hegel, Nietzsche, and Heidegger.
The Scandinavian Wyrd (Ödet in contemporary Swedish) is probably more pre-Zoroastrian by nature. Something to confront and deal with, rather than Zarathushtra's EMBRACING and more Spinozist attitude towards "Asha".
Ushta
Alexander

Den 24 januari 2012 00:07 skrev Special Kain :

Dear Kenneth

Asha is that which exists, which is real, the facts. It is what is "right" in the sense that it works and fits with reality. You can think of scientists as Ashavands: as those practising and promoting Asha through thoughts, words and actions. Think of methodologists, for example. Whereas Druj is that which deceives (see the German word "Trug" which is rooted in the Avesta word "druj") or that which simply isn't true.

Ushta,
Dino

Von: Kenneth Christensen
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Gesendet: 19:43 Montag, 23.Januar 2012
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Zoroastrianism vs The Abrahamic Faiths


Interesting. This brings up another topic. I am fascinated with the concept of Asha. It seems very complicated. Maybe Alexander having grown up in Scandinavian culture might be able to elaborate on this. From what I read Asha seems to be similar to a concept in Scandinavian cosmology called Wyrd. Modern English will translates it to mean Fate. I think that is an injustice to the word as the word has nothing to do with pre-destiny. The best way I can explain it is that it deals with what everything in the universe is becoming. This could a concept dealing with the way of the world as you described Asha. It would make sense that both religions would have similar concepts since the languages in both those religions have a common ancestor. Like Wyrd does Asha deal with accountability for one's actions?

Kenneth

"Life-- The opposite of life is not death, but non-existence. To die means having lived-- but to not exist means being nothing! To live means to influence the cosmos! Ones actions-- ones presence-- changes every being he meets! The cosmos is everything! To affect any part of the cosmos is to affect the totality! Life is the most precious gift the cosmos can bestow....." --Steve Englehart: Marvel Premiere Featuring Doctor Strange # 12

--- On Sun, 1/22/12, Special Kain wrote:

From: Special Kain
Subject: Re: [Ushta] Zoroastrianism vs The Abrahamic Faiths
To: "Ushta@yahoogroups.com"
Date: Sunday, January 22, 2012, 11:14 PM


Dear Kenneth

There are pantheists as well as panentheists in Zoroastrianism. Either way our world is regarded as that which we should hold sacred. People are defined as co-creators and not as God's subordinates and servants. We are ethically obliged to live in accordance with asha which is nothing less than The Way of The World.

Ushta,
Dino

Von: Alexander Bard
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Gesendet: 12:14 Sonntag, 22.Januar 2012
Betreff: [Ushta] Zoroastrianism vs The Abrahamic Faiths


Dear Kenneth

You're absolutely right.
The WORLD AFFIRMATIONCition to the Abrahamic faiths) has a very obvious origin: Zarathushtra does NOT believe in sin!!!
The idea of sin, of original sin, of a gap between God and Man created by Man, which is at the very ROOT of all Abrahamic faiths, has no bearing within Zoroastrianism at all. There is not even a word for sin in Avesta.
Instead. Zarathushtra is completely focused on THOUGHT and HOW THOUGHT WORKS. It is in this process that he separates between Asha (constructive mentality) adn Druj (destructive mentality).
The result is an ETHICAL FAITH without moralism. There are no rules to break. But there is a firm belief that "you are your thoughts", "you are your words" and "you are your actions".
Which is of course radically different from Abrahamism and its obsession with sin.

Ushta
Alexander

Den 22 januari 2012 04:23 skrev Kenneth C :

Hello

I am starting some Ethnographic field work research on Zoroastrianism. I have been very inspired by the Gathas. I am a Danish American and have studied a lot of Scandinavian spirituality and that is my background. Even though Zoroastrianism is often associated with Judeo-Christian thought, from what I read it seems to be a completely different thought process all together.

One of the major things that impresses me about Zoroastrianism and where I think it is way different than the Abrahamic religions and in this regard there would be more similarity to older Scandinavian religion, is that from my understanding Zoroastrianism is very world affirming. In other words it seems to promote a spiritual view of the here and now and what should be done on this earth without hoping for a better afterlife in another reality which is intangible. One of the major things that upsets me about the desert religions is that they use phrases like "earthly" or "of the flesh" in the negative. Even more tolerant religions like Gnosticism can use those terms in a negative light. It's as if suggesting that while we're here on this earth in our bodies we are trapped. I find that ideology ultimately destructive and in many ways can be harmful. One example of how harmful world rejecting dualistic ideology can be is if you go back to 1996 when the Heavens Gate cult committed mass suicide because they felt they were trapped in this lower dimension and in their physical bodies. Anyone who believes that the earthly is something we're trapped in and that we must attain somewhere higher that we cannot even see is not being honest with themselves. If the flesh or the earthly is bad than why did I come out of my mother's womb? And since I am a firm supporter of evolution where did all life come from down to the very first ancestor on this planet. To me these world rejectors are making something up and saying that it comes from something intangible that we can never put a finger on.

I remember one part of the Gatha's where Zarathustra pays respect to the waters and earth. So there seems to be quite a bit of world affirming ideology in the philosophy. Now I don't know, but from my interpretation, would you as Zoroastrians even say that Ahura Mazda is not separate from nature. If so, I find Zoroastrianism hard to disagree with.

btw my next post will be a question regarding my field work research. I want to do a study on Zoroastrianism and how it relates to Psychology.

Kenneth

måndagen den 23:e januari 2012

Alain de Botton, Slavoj Zizek, and the ideas of a New World Religion Part 2

Dear Kenneth and friends

The last time Zoroastrianism spread in the West was through Mithraism in the Roman Empire, a religion with Zoroastrian roots which was for a time the most widespread and popular religion in the entire empire. It was ultimately defeated by Christianity through imperial decree and mass prosecution of its practitioners. I actually believe it is in a new version that Zoroastrianism and its philosophy will take hold in the west again. At least Parsi Zoroastrianism is too frought with infighting and resistance to change to become a credible alternative. A Zoroastrian revival in a post-mullah Iran could however be extremely attractive to western masses (when they finally discover that Iranian philosophy is on an equal level with Indian and Chinese thought). But until then I keep my hopes for a Hegelian-style religion in the west, referring credibly back to Zarathushtra and his philosophy. The next ten years will decide.

Ushta
Alexander

Den 23 januari 2012 19:59 skrev Kenneth Christensen :

Interesting. I live in a College town in California. This city is quite a center for ideas. After reading the Gatha's I started discussing the philosophy to some friends and college professors. Many of them said how from what I've been describing Zarathustra's philosophy is very logical and compatible with science. One guy even told me after I described the philosophy that he wants to look into it because from what I told him, Zoroastrianism makes more sense than any other religious ideology he has heard. Zoroastrianism could have the potential to spread tremendously in the West because it is compatible with the western values of logic, reason, and the scientific method.

Kenneth

"Life-- The opposite of life is not death, but non-existence. To die means having lived-- but to not exist means being nothing! To live means to influence the cosmos! Ones actions-- ones presence-- changes every being he meets! The cosmos is everything! To affect any part of the cosmos is to affect the totality! Life is the most precious gift the cosmos can bestow....." --Steve Englehart: Marvel Premiere Featuring Doctor Strange # 12

Alain de Botton, Slavoj Zizek, and the ideas of a New World Religion

Dear Friends

I have some very interesting news to share.
The Swiss-British philosopher Alain de Botton has a brilliant new book out called "Religion for Atheists".
You can hear his presentation of the book at the latest TED conference here:
http://www.ted.com/talks/alain_de_botton_atheism_2_0.html
Interestingly, it seems Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek's new massive "Less Than Nothing" - 1 200 pages of Hegel applied on contemporary society, argues along similar lines to de Botton: What society needs today is a new world religion which is monist and denies the existence of the supernatural but which in every other aspect acts as a religion-proper. And Zizek is probably the world's most reknown and influential philosopher today.
But isn't this precisely what Zoroastrianism already is and has been for 3,700 years? At least this is what I argued with my co-writer Jan Söderqvist when we wrote "Det globala imperiet" in Swedish in 2002 (this book is finally out in English later this year as "The Global Empire").
Maybe we should now seriously consider marketing Zoroastrianism as "The Religion for Atheists" in contemporary society as a radical departure from the Irano-centric presentation of an "ancient philosophical faith"? An alternative is of course to join and work towards a Religion for Atheists first (an "atheology") and then connect it properly to Zarathushtra's philosophy afterwards. After all, there are quite a lot of dualists and panentheists among Zoroastrians too, and they would disagree with RFA on basic fundaments.
I truly believe this is the big opening to present Zarathushtra's philosophy to the West that I have been waiting for for over two decades!!!

Ushta
Alexander

söndagen den 22:e januari 2012

Zoroastrianism vs The Abrahamic Faiths

Dear Kenneth

You're absolutely right.
The WORLD AFFIRMATION of Zoroastrianism (in opposition to the Abrahamic faiths) has a very obvious origin: Zarathushtra does NOT believe in sin!!!
The idea of sin, of original sin, of a gap between God and Man created by Man, which is at the very ROOT of all Abrahamic faiths, has no bearing within Zoroastrianism at all. There is not even a word for sin in Avesta.
Instead. Zarathushtra is completely focused on THOUGHT and HOW THOUGHT WORKS. It is in this process that he separates between Asha (constructive mentality) adn Druj (destructive mentality).
The result is an ETHICAL FAITH without moralism. There are no rules to break. But there is a firm belief that "you are your thoughts", "you are your words" and "you are your actions". So Zarathushra's question is: Who are you? Who do you want to be? To yourself?
Which is of course radically different from Abrahamism and its obsession with sin and The Judgment Day. ;-)

Ushta
Alexander

Den 22 januari 2012 04:23 skrev Kenneth C :

Hello

I am starting some Ethnographic field work research on Zoroastrianism. I have been very inspired by the Gathas. I am a Danish American and have studied a lot of Scandinavian spirituality and that is my background. Even though Zoroastrianism is often associated with Judeo-Christian thought, from what I read it seems to be a completely different thought process all together.

One of the major things that impresses me about Zoroastrianism and where I think it is way different than the Abrahamic religions and in this regard there would be more similarity to older Scandinavian religion, is that from my understanding Zoroastrianism is very world affirming. In other words it seems to promote a spiritual view of the here and now and what should be done on this earth without hoping for a better afterlife in another reality which is intangible. One of the major things that upsets me about the desert religions is that they use phrases like "earthly" or "of the flesh" in the negative. Even more tolerant religions like Gnosticism can use those terms in a negative light. It's as if suggesting that while we're here on this earth in our bodies we are trapped. I find that ideology ultimately destructive and in many ways can be harmful. One example of how harmful world rejecting dualistic ideology can be is if you go back to 1996 when the Heavens Gate cult committed mass suicide because they felt they were trapped in this lower dimension and in their physical bodies. Anyone who believes that the earthly is something we're trapped in and that we must attain somewhere higher that we cannot even see is not being honest with themselves. If the flesh or the earthly is bad than why did I come out of my mother's womb? And since I am a firm supporter of evolution where did all life come from down to the very first ancestor on this planet. To me these world rejectors are making something up and saying that it comes from something intangible that we can never put a finger on.

I remember one part of the Gatha's where Zarathustra pays respect to the waters and earth. So there seems to be quite a bit of world affirming ideology in the philosophy. Now I don't know, but from my interpretation, would you as Zoroastrians even say that Ahura Mazda is not separate from nature. If so, I find Zoroastrianism hard to disagree with.

btw my next post will be a question regarding my field work research. I want to do a study on Zoroastrianism and how it relates to Psychology.

Kenneth

onsdagen den 11:e januari 2012

Zoroastrianism and Satan

Dear Kenneth

I guess you have to ask Muslims and Christians what kind of devil they believe in. I have personally never grasped their beliefs as find them both contradictory and totally uncredible. But then again, I'm not a Muslim nor a Christian and that for very good reasons.

There is no such thing as a personal Satan in Zoroastrianism proper. Sure there are devils in folk religion in the Indo-Aryan cultures, but Zarathushtra does not believe in any satanic being. However, there are obviously stagnant or destructive minds around and this is what "Angra Mainyu" means. I would even stretch the concept and speak of "minds of bitterness" or "minds of ressentiment" as proper translations of Angra Mainyu. We all have to fight a daily struggle against such a mentality taking over our minds. But this is precisely what the life of a Zoroastrian proper is all about.

Ushta
Alexander

Den 11 januari 2012 20:03 skrev Kenneth C :

Hello

I am an Anthropology student who would like to focus his studies on a combination of Religious Anthropology and psychological anthropology. I am a practitioner of a religion that is a reinvention of an older Scandinavian religion called Asatru. In Sweden I think Alexander Bard might know it as Asatro. Alexander I hope you don't mind me saying. I grew up in the metal scene. Your music was music I found catchy and liked, but was embarrassed to admit it to my macho Heavy Metal friends. I do sincerely mean that as a compliment, so I hope you do not take offense.

Zoroastrianism and Indo-European thought in general if fascinating to me as it deals a lot with matters of mind, and consciousness. I have found that Zoroastrianism has the most emphasis on matters of the mind. After reading the Gatha's I came to the conclusion that Zoroaster was the first Psychologist. In Zoroastrianism there are thousands of years studying the mind and western culture is just starting. One reason why I am hoping to do ethnographic field work on Zoroastrianism.

Now because I do not think like my ultra conservative, American nationalist, evangelical family, I have been at war with myself between what my family told me I was not capable of (because I am on the autistic spectrum, what they wanted me to be, what am capable of, and what I really am. This has caused much mental stress which has lead to severe stomach problems. Because of this I often wondered if I was in fact a child of the devil, so to overcome this anxiety I considered the possibility. Then suddenly the voice of Terence Mckenna saying "Well if I am a disciple of Satan, it is an unknowing disciple." I felt at ease. A just parent would never punish a child for not knowing what he or she is doing is wrong. Therefore if God exist and God is just, why should I be punished for not knowing. That kind of God cannot be good.

It was then that I came to the conclusion that the devil is not real. The devil is nothing more that a cartoon character created by human thought as a way to scare people from thinking. Fascinating thing is I started reading more on Zoroastrianism and I am by no means trying to simplify Angra Manyu as a devil. However I remember reading that the two words translate to Dead Mentality or Stagnant mind. A ha! I am seeing synchronicity. So my question is could the devil as a concept in the Christian or Muslim in fact be something that promotes the Stagnant mind? It would appear that most Christian or Muslim motivation is from the concept of fear of the devil rather than a love for God. I remember reading in the Gatha's and this saying really hit me like a lighting bolt. What I read was "Do good for the sake of doing good, without fear of punishment or expectation of reward." This is the utmost way to practice altruism. Ayn Rand would not be proud. I do not consider myself a Zoroastrian because I don't feel that I live up to such an altruistic standard. For that reason I am not worthy to call myself that. Well back to the point. How many Christians or Muslims are doing good because the act of good gives a better quality life, or how many of them are doing it because of a combination of hopes for rewards in Heaven or Fear of suffering in Hell. One Muslim at my school said "Well if you aren't doing it to be in Heaven than what are you striving for?" In which my response was "but if you are striving for that, than does that not cheapen your action by intention?" I ended up stumping her with that.

I guess what I am getting at is I find the goal of Heaven, or fear of Hell is the leading cause in this world today of human strife, not advancing in science (like how in America people want to teach Intelligent Design in Schools) and people's inability to think outside their cultural conditioning. It seems that the fear of the devil is a bigger motivation in these religions, than a hope for reward. So are they really serving God, or are they really serving the concept of a devil? This would be an interesting discussion. I would like to know what the Zoroastrians here think.

Kenneth