Monday, December 3, 2012

Thus Spoke Zarathushtra

A memo.

To:  The Moderns and the Post-Moderns

Date:  Now

Subject:  Wisdom


1.  Right now, in the midst of your years of conversation with your philosophical peers and adversaries, take this moment to consider the wisdom of Zarathushtra.

2.  Thus spoke Zarathushtra:

     I have seen things, and I will speak:   There is a God, one Lord, who is both Wise and Good.  I know that He is, but He has not told me His name.  Therefore, I shall simply call him "Lord Wise" -- Ahura Mazda.

     A Wise Lord would desire in worship that which would most accord with His own nature: an active wisdom and goodness on the part of His worshippers.  Therefore, I will worship Him in the way that He most likes, because it is most like Him:  by following after wisdom and goodness -- by good thoughts, good words, and good deeds.

     I will summarize and symbolize His active wisdom and goodness as a holy Fire.  When I kindle a fire, I shall think of it as a sacred thing, and meditate upon the holy energy of the Wise Lord, which it signifies.

     I will make Songs for my family, and I will sing them.

     I have seen that there is a realm, around and above me, which is usually invisible to me, but not always.  This realm is part of the wisdom and goodness of the Wise Lord.  In this realm, too, the Wise Lord is best worshipped by wisdom and goodness, by any creatures, such as Angels, who inhabit it.

     I see around me much evil, which appears to directly oppose, with much success and energy of its own, all that is wise and good.  This evil is widespread, I see; and I see some of it in the natural world; but it seems to center mostly in Mankind.  I do not know what name it takes for itself, so I shall simply call it "Lord Manu" -- Ahura Manu.

     Lord Manu appears to be a persistent and effective opponent of the One Wise Lord.  He appears to operate not only in the world of Men, but also in that less visible realm of which I know something.

     I am aware of Lord Manu and some of his agencies, both visible and invisible.  I will always seek to oppose the works of Darkness.

     I choose to follow the Wise Lord, and I will worship Him with good thoughts, good words, and good deeds.  I will always think of Him in the sacred Fire, and when I sing my Songs.

3.  Serious reflection on the old wisdom of Zarathushtra can clear many of the cobwebs that have been woven into the modern and the post-modern mind.

*       *       *

     My own words, yes;  not precisely Zarathushtra's.  But, from those who have read him,  I welcome commentary as to whether or not you think that I have expressed the gist (gestalt) of what he said.  Not so much what you or I think that he should have said (although you can include that, too),  but rather, what was his own wisdom.  Do you think of things to add, or revise?

     The place and time of Zarathushtra's life are the subjects of much interest, and I will not go into that here.  There is a serviceable entry at Wikipedia as a starting point, although I have found much better information at other sites available on the Internet.

     A word about names.  Over the many centuries after Zarathushtra's time, Ahura Mazda's name was contracted to the more familiar "Ormuzd," and Ahura Manu likewise to "Ahriman."  Zarathushtra, when his name was translated into Greek with a scribal error, became the more familiar "Zoroaster."

     The Zoroastrians of today are not numerous.  They are to be found mostly in Iran, the country of their origin, and in small communities around the world, notably in southern California.

     Readers of the Bible can find some connection with the Zarathushtrians in the person of Darius the Mede, one of the kings under whom the prophet Daniel served, as well as the Magi (Wise Men) who came to Israel at the Nativity of Christ.

     Twentieth-century allusions to a Zoroastrian paradigm can be found in the music by Richard Strauss, "Also Sprach Zarathustra," which was popularized in Stanley Kubrick's film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.  There is also an implicit Zoroastrian mindset in the original StarWars trilogy (now known as IV, V, and VI, crazily enough), with its perpetual conflict of good and evil, its "dark side," "dark father," and the "Force."  Other comparisons and contrasts may occur to people.

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