måndag 12 september 2011

Zoroastrian Ethics vs Narcissism

Very very interesting!!!
Isn't this also where Zoroastrian ethics is OPPOSED to Narcissism?
Narcissism is built on the illusion that one can affect EVERYTHING in one's surroundings (or even worse, that everything in one's surroundings is affected by the presence of The Narcissist).
When in reality 99% of what affects us is contingency, pure luck (or lack of luck).
So ethics is left with that which we CAN affect. This is where Zoroastrianism, Epictectus, and Nietzsche are in perfect agreement.

2011/9/12 Special Kain

What I consider most important is the difference between that which we can't control and that which we can control (our ethical choices in Zarathushtra's sense and what Epictetus called "prohairesis"). It is this difference that goes beyond individualistic ideology and this ideology's obsession with the narcissistic self. We live and act within social situations. And situations provide for resources, opportunities and restraints. So in order to provide ourselves with more freedom, we have to change the bigger picture collectively. Anything else leads to the typical narcissist's neurotic avoidance of happiness.


Von: Special Kain
An: "Ushta@yahoogroups.com"
Gesendet: 22:20 Sonntag, 11.September 2011
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] The issue of suffering

The difference between Zoroastrianism and Daoism is the difference between political activism and urban subsistence farming. While Zoroastrians strive to contribute to civilization, Daoists retreat and live their lives independently.

Von: Hampus Lindblad
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Gesendet: 16:02 Sonntag, 11.September 2011
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] The issue of suffering

Dear Dino,

This reminded me of the saying "Achieve more, or want less". I did a quick search to find out the origin and the first hit was from some "Daily Tao"-site which quoted the Tao 12:

"The five colors blind the eye.
The five tones deafen the ear.
The five flavors dull the taste.
Racing and hunting madden the mind.
Precious things lead one astray.

Therefore the sage is guided by what he feels and not by what he sees.
He lets go of that and chooses this."

Then I started looking for alternative translations of which there seem to be plenty. The interpretation of the first page differs somewhat from the one above. Very telling how much they differ from each other. Historically the Tao Te Ching seems to be a free for all in projection. Of course the same fate is shared by the Gathas and most other religious texts, which I guess is both a blessing and a curse - depending one the chosen attitude of the observer and holder of opinion...

There's also that Richard Feynman quote that "No problem is too small or too trivial if we can really do something about it". Now the other side of that same coin is that problems that have no solution ARE "too small" to worry about. I would even go so far as to rob them of their problem status and instead sort them under the must-be-integrated foundational structure on which we can start to make our choices and create - not free will - but a wider and exponentially growing array of choice.

By the way Feynman seems to have been very much into process philosophy:

"All matter is interaction"

And talked like a Mazdayasni too:

"Our imagination is stretched to the utmost, not, as in fiction, to imagine things which are not really there, but just to comprehend those things which are there."

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool."

On a side note I think that Buddhism has gotten a lot of credit historically for the "why lament over the unchangeable" line of thought. It would indeed be satisfying to see some of that appreciation redirected back towards Mazdayasna if that indeed is a much earlier fountainhead. And talking about fountainheads; what is known about Zarathushtras influences?


On Sun, Sep 11, 2011 at 2:51 PM, Special Kain wrote:

Dear Hampus

I agree. As I said a few times before, we have to choose for ourselves what to do with that which happens to us. When we learn new skills, we possibly learn better ways of coping. New problems arise, old problems prove to persist, we simultaneously loathe and enjoy certain problems (what Lacan called "jouissance" as opposed to "plaisir"), we learn to live with a few problems still unsolved, etc. What matters the most is one's attitude (spenta mainyu vs angra mainyu): to make a distinction between medicine and poison. You have to decide for yourself what is the right thing to do, and then just do it as if it was a sacred law. This is what Aleister Crowley meant by saying: "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." We have to live truthfully and be brutally honest with ourselves.

I personally love Epictetus. We have to distinguish between that which is within our power to control (and therefore can be useful and good or harmful and bad) and that which is not within our power (and is either 'preferred' or 'dispreferred'). Why lament over something that we can't influence nor change? We should keep our cool and focus on that which we can influence and change: our feelings and thoughts, our attitude and character, opinions and decisions, convictions and abilities, etc.


Von: Hampus Lindblad
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Gesendet: 14:03 Sonntag, 11.September 2011
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] The issue of suffering

I think it is a matter of definition whether suffering can be said to contain learning potential as it's usually the overcoming of suffering that provides most of the insight. Indirectly the absence of suffering is of course also a good indicator that one has progressed i.e "I would previously have been suffering under these circumstances (facing infidelity or whatever) but now I'm not").

To a certain degree I agree with you regarding Spinoza though. New problems arise as old ones vaporize as a result of our growing knowledge. It's a little bit like how the problem of falling off the edge of the Earth was resolved by the realization that our planet is spherical. The new problem that took it's place was now how to spread that knowledge without being burned on a stake by fanatical flat-Earthers.

Fundamentally I don't think there's a static and permanent way of avoiding suffering. One has to adapt alongside the change. One of the few things that would be wise to upkeep always is of course the constructive Ashavan mindset. Do you agree with the above or do you have diverging perspectives?


On Sun, Sep 11, 2011 at 11:40 AM, Special Kain wrote:

Zarathushtra talked about the courage and strength to do what is right and necessary, to live in accordance with "that which fits" and defend ourselves against those who act upon destructive mentalities. So it's a matter of what we choose to do with that which causes misery and pain, and whether or not long-term thinking and education may ease the pain.
According to Spinoza, all that is "harmful" is caused by our limited knowledge, and the more and better we educate ourselves, the less we will suffer. But I disagree with Spinoza's optimism here.


Von: Hampus Lindblad
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Gesendet: 1:17 Sonntag, 11.September 2011
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] The issue of suffering

I would personally not state that "suffering is not a learning experience" or words to that effect. Instead I prefer to postulate that suffering - given a constructive enough attitude - can be a learning experience (just as any other type of experience). Nothing more and nothing less. Which is more or less exactly what Dino has written here below... I'm just bringing it up because I believe statements like "suffering is not a learning experience" can be easily misinterpreted unless they are given in a wider context like that of this thread. It would for example be unsuitable for a more concentrated Zoroastrianism 101 conversation I think.

With the right attitude I believe temporary suffering can be a very efficient learning experience. Similar to that of bliss and ecstasy, just on the other extreme of the spectrum. I find that strong contrasts are generally very useful tools to build understanding and constructive self-policy.


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