måndag 21 juni 2010

Zoroastrianism and The Theory of Mind

Dear Mehrdad

Philosophy deals with "theory of mind" all the time.
Mazda is Avesta for "mind" or rather "that which thinks". Please note, it is WHATEVER IT IS THAT THINKS.
Zarathushtra was concerned with mind AS mind. He was not and did not claim to be a scientist.
So Science is welcome to ADD its bits to our understanding of what MIND is.
Now, once you put Zarathushtra's thoughts IN MOTION and SET THEM ALIVE you realise how extremely suitable they are to our modern understanding of the world (Zarathushtra himself was NOT obsessed with his forefathers and upholding traditions and quoting books,m let's therefore live within his sprit and follow him as an example and THINK criticially for ourselves!!!).
So DUALISM was indeed alien to Zarathushtra. You are mixing up Zoroastrianism (or rather Zoroastrian philosophy) with MANICHAEISM.
If Zoroastrianism would indeed have been Platonist, then why on earth would Manichaeism have been invented in the first place, and as such became Zoroastrianism's fiercest rival in the Middle East???
So the Greek thinker who was TRULY Zoroastrian was Heraclitus and not Plotinus. Plotinus and the Platonists were the Manichaeists of the Greeks!


2010/6/21 mehrdad farahmand

I am not interested in rehatching this one more.
I am happy that you graduated from a prestigious university and my deepest congrats. However, you should have mentioned the field as well.
As for Alexander, I have nothing but respect for him and I do value his philosophical works. Although, I believe he is wrong in his understanding of the basic principles to some degree. I believe he reads too much humanistic enlightenment philosophy into zoroastrianism. Spinoza is a radical shift from the traditional judeo christian tradition, but he is not zoroastrianism. Neoplatonism of plotinus comes closest to zozoastrianism in the western tradition. Closest philosophies to zoroastrianism are the advaita vedanta of ramanuja and shankara and in the modern philosophy sri aurobindo. Also Nagarjuna's notion of shunyata and alaya vijnana are also good points of comparison, which is tathagata buddhism and vajravanya. Zoroastrianism is not spinoza 's pantheism.
you identify mazda with mind. then the question is what is mind? define it!
science will benefit from you definition. mind is a folk psychological concept, which is very difficult to pack out in terms of neuroscience. As I said before, we know of brain activities which correlate to brain functions. When you talk about mind, are you talking about the collection of these activities or a central command post. there is no evidence of either. this is the famous binding problem in neurosciences.
So you throw around folk psychological terms that remains of enlightenment period and the Newtonian physics era and believe you are talking current science. There is not even a shred of notion where the so called mind begins and the normal physiological process of the brain and the nervous system end. Add to it that the immune system seems to be as complex as nervous system and we have second independent nervous system in out gastrointestinal tract, which is more complex than some simpler animals with relatively complex behavior. So where is this mind? this is the question, which Hume posed and it would be good to review it again.
in all this complexity and sometimes confusion you compound the confusion and identify mazda with human mind or set of all the minds in the universe.
we don't even know what the role consciousness is or the unconscious aspects of the brain function. we dont even know what to do with qualia and subjectivity and what is the role awareness and attention with respect to consciousness. is it thalamus reponsible for these functions? or is it a universal function of the brain. we have found a whole new level of information processing above the molecular level and below the cognitive level and that is the systemic level corresponding to the electrical activity of the brain as it is reflected in the EEG with gama waves at 40 hz and spikes at 200 300 hz range. so tell me where is the mind?

now you tried to insult me by saying 'obviously' in response to me saying intelligence is rare commodity etc. listen i did not name names in my email and did not insult any person. i just called the statements nonesensical. you made this personal. just know this and i say this very bluntly: don't f.. with me. I have chunk of guys bigger than you in my sh...
be nice!

let us keep this at a higher level and not insult each other personally.
the problem with your understanding of this religion is that you have mistaken it for another version of enlightenment philosophy. that is utterly false. that was never so. zoroastrianism values human mind and the power to choose but it never identified mind with mazda. here you have to know the difference between sense and reference, intension and extension of a concept. the question what is the extension of mazda, to what does it refer.

On Sun, Jun 20, 2010 at 3:04 PM, Special Kain wrote:

Dear Mehrdad

> I cannot believe my own senses when I read that you guys call the scriptures of a religion as old moldy books. It is like telling a Hindu that the Vedas and the Upanishads are nonsense, telling a Buddhist that the Sutras and the Dhammapada are junk, like telling a Jew that Torah has to be abandoned, and so on.

Nobody is telling anyone to abandon any books. Alexander, Parviz and I merely insist that it's not about the books THEMSELVES or their ALLEGED SACREDNESS, it's about what we LEARN from reading such books that matters.
Everyone is free to worship whatever books they like. But Zoroastrianism does not end with reading Zoroastrian scriptures.

> How many of you are scientist? Have you ever been in a lab? Have you ever published anything in a credible scientific journal for your for your peers?

I studied at the prestigious University of Zurich and the Free University Berlin. I graduated at the University of Zurich with best and second-best grades. Yes, I am a scientist. Yes, I have conducted some research. Yes, I know what science is.

> I am physician, neurologist- neurosurgeon- neuroscientist. I have a doctorate i philosophy of mind and spend most of my adult life, if not all of it, study mind and consciousness and diseases thereof. I have not even come across one credible scientist, who make these naive and informed claims that we understand and explain everything. In contrary, we do not even know what to do with ideas such as mind, consciousness, etc. We know somethings about brain FUNCTIONS, but what is a mind. Don't even mention consciousness. They idea of faculties such as cognition, emotions, and volition refer back to platonic idea of tripartite notion of mind. That does not pan out on the brain functions. Ask any credible physicist whether we understand and explain the workings of the universe and he will smile and tell you we have made great progress but we are not even close.

Guess what: the people that you're so strongly criticizing ACTUALLY AGREE WITH YOU ON THIS!!! The world itself is the most amazing miracle there is.

> You fellas identify Mazda with collection of human intelligence and minds. Whose intelligence and mind? Yours maybe and people who think like you. Shall we worship you O Master?

Please stop this nonsense and start reading our postings CAREFULLY!
Mazda is "the mind". As long as there is no other mind than the human mind, why not fallibilistically assume that Mazda is the total sum of all human minds? Please look for the term "fallibilistic" in my previous postings.

> A religion is based on some foundations, most notably its scriptures that must be living. It means that they must evolve with time WHILE MAINTAINING ITS IDENTITY. That is precisely the challenge. If you fellas are interested in creating your own religion, go ahead nobody wants or would stop you. Nobody could stop you from stealing the label from another religion and call yourself zoroastrians, but do not have the audacity to tell us that we are not zoroastrians.

We don't tell our fellow Zoroastrians that they're not Zoroastrians. Many, many members of the The Ushta List have repeatedly made perfectly clear that Zoroastrian philosophy embraces Pantheism and Panentheism. And I'm perfectly fine with that. It's just that modern science is a much better guide now than religion. Science has even already replaced philosophy!

> Emergence and creation of the world is one the main things that any religion tries to explain and also where do humans fit in. How can the grounds of existence be the collection of human minds while the world and the universe existed for billions of years before any nervous system? That is nonesense.

Yes, this is nonsense, and no-one has ever seriously stated anything as ridiculous as this. So let me please again tell you to read other members' postings carefully.

> I have news for you there are not many sane minds in this world and intelligence is also a rare commodity.


> We could say that human mind is the inflection of that universal mind through our nervous system and brains. This is a philosophical question outside the realm of science. Science works with hows, philosophy works with whys. This is a metaphysical question and not a physical one no matter how the post-modern and post-structuralist bull-shit artists try to twist and turn it.

Absolutely. I agree 100%. But I try not to concern myself with too much metaphysics. ;-)

> You guys would be well advised to read the moldy books from across traditions, modern philosophical works on mind and consciousness, and some real science and not play science cheer leaders.

So the research that I have conducted so far doesn't really exist? And Alexander's best-selling philosophical books - including all translations in more than ten languages - have never been written?

This is indeed a strange world.


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