I agree with Dina, you are quite a theologian!!!
We are sooo happy to have you with us.
I believe Zarathushtra's reluctance to define good and evil have two reasons:
First of all, good and evil are RELATIVE. It is in relations, and purely in relations, to something that good and evil appear. This is why there are no clear "good guys" and "bad guys". Good and bad are ever-present and cut through everything. It is only in the moment of things, in the occasional attitude of a decision, that we can trace their almost quantum physics-like appearances of pure good and pure evil. Haurvatat is that glimpse of pure good.
The other reason is that good always has a substance to it, as opposed to evil, which is the lack of substance per se. The something of existence versus the nothingness of non-existence (which is were Mazdayasna agrees with Brahmanism in India). Which is why I have always preferred the translations "constructive" vs "destructive" in contemporary English compared to the Christianized terms good and evil. What is a constructive mentality if not the attitude of building, constructing, adding, including, metamorphosizing, playing, loving, caring? As opposed to a destructive mentality which strives for elimination, subtracting, excluding, demoralizing, distancing itself from the world and whatever it confronts.
Then there is of course also "constructive destruction" and not to forget "destructive constructions" (such as concentration camps). Good and evil is not easy, perhaps it's the most difficult subject of all, and I agree the terms should never be used lightly (and definitely not as proselytization slogans). Rather the terms need to be carefully approached precisely in fora such as Ushta.
I have started longing for a Mazdayasna monastery again. Guess what I want to do when I have finished my career in the music business in a few years' time?
I'm happy that you approve!
Admittedly, I am not sure about what the best wording
ought to be. The sense in which I would use the terms
"ethics" and "morality" might be to define ethics as
the science of morality, where morality is defined as
something like a mysterious, irrational (or
super-rational) sense of value, or meaning. Perhaps
better terms can be found.
Speaking of good and evil is dangerous, and I think I
understand why reasonable people avoid such language.
As soon as you bring up the topic, some people want to
start dividing the good guys from the bad guys.
Here I might need some help from the experts: the
Gathas recognize the spirits of good and bad, but they
do not really personify either. They do, if I recall
correctly, make strong associations between Spenta
Mainyu and Ahura Mazda, but Angra Mainyu is completely
disassociated. It's almost as if Zarathushtra said
"ok, we covered that. Now let's forget it."
It is one thing to acknowledge evil; it is another to
dwell on it. To dwell on evil is, in a sense, to
worship evil. One might say that while Zarathushtra
recognized that ethical/moral antenna inside us, it
may be incorrect to suggest that Mazdayasna, that is
Zarathushtra's form of worship, is dualistic. The
metaphysics (or metaethics?) may be seen as dualistic,
but the yasna of the Gathas appears to have largely
refused to dwell on evil.
What do you think?Dan