Zoroastrianism

The study of religious or heroic legends and tales. One constant rule of mythology is that whatever happens amongst the gods or other mythical beings was in one sense or another a reflection of events on earth. Recorded myths and legends, perhaps preserved in literature or folklore, have an immediate interest to archaeology in trying to unravel the nature and meaning of ancient events and traditions.

Moderators: Minimalist, MichelleH

Postby Minimalist » Fri Jun 06, 2008 4:06 pm

says that it is now accepted that agriculturalists had to work harder and longer hours than hunter gatherers,



He misses the point. No one gives a shit what happens to the peasants. No one cares how hard they have to work.

Agriculture creates food surpluses that can allow societies to have some people "specialize." There are warriors, priests (unfortunately) peasants and eventually a few merchants. If the peasants work themselves to death the upper rungs of society do not care. They are supported by the work of the peasants and in turn the warrior provide "protection", the merchants provide some luxuries....and the priests provide bullshit.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin
Minimalist
 
Posts: 15426
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 1:09 pm
Location: Arizona

Postby Ishtar » Sat Jun 07, 2008 12:38 am

Sorry, Min... but I think you're missing the point. Yes, there were corrupt priests who lived off the toil of the farming peasants. But it was not they who invented religion - if by 'religion' you mean the worship or honouring of gods or a God. It may have been the priesthood who eventually wrote it down. But religious thought and ritual existed in oral and dramatic format for thousands of years before that.... and this is widely accepted - it's not just me with one of my off the wall opinions. :lol:

You didn't accept my example of Gobustan, which shows that Palaeo man conducted the horse sacrifice, even though you'd think you'd have to ask who or what they were sacrificing to if they didn't believe in gods or God?

So how about Gobekli Tepe? This Neolithic structure was built solely for religious purposes by hunter gatherers, who would only meet there to carry out their rituals, most probably at the solstices and equinoxes. There were no living quarters either within the ritual complex, or nearby.

Then there's Catal Hoyuk. Both James Mellart and Ian Hodder who have, over time, uncovered Catal Hoyuk, came to the conclusion that the pastoralists who built and settled down there did so solely in order to create a permanent cult building for their already existing rituals.

When you examine the mental linkage betweeen surplus, leisure and religion more closely, imo, it's logic is faulty. It comes from associating hunter gathering with 'lack' which, again on closer examination, proves not to be the case. But even if it did prove to be the case, we also know that man is more likely to pray to gods/God when he is trouble, or in need, and not when everything is hunky dory. :lol:

On top of that, specialization was not exclusive to farming communities. Some people in HG tribes specialized in being warriors. Others, like the shaman, specialized in religion.

How do you think those farming priests* got the peasants to obey them in the first place? By trading on, and corrupting, their already existing beliefs about the gods, the cosmos and their place within it....imo.

*In the Vedic society, the highest caste was the Brahmin priestly caste. Kings, or kshatriyas, came second in the pecking order, and had to obey the priests. The merchant class came third and then the sudras, the workers, came last.
Ishtar
 
Posts: 2631
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:41 am
Location: UK

Postby Minimalist » Sat Jun 07, 2008 2:55 pm

Yes, there were corrupt priests who lived off the toil of the farming peasants



There is no "corruption" (in the modern sense) about it. The peasantry worked their butts off in the fields and their taxes supported the military establishment which protected those fields from enemies and their "contributions" (less than voluntary, I'm sure) supported the parasitic priest class who promised to intervene with the 'gods' for rain, fertility, etc.

The model existed with little variation until 1789 in France and 1861 in Russia.

To quote my old stand-by, H. L. Mencken:

What is the function that a clergyman performs in the world? Answer: he gets his living by assuring idiots that he can save them from an imaginary hell. It is a business almost indistinguishable from that of a seller of snake-oil for rheumatism.



btw, when digging up that quote I spotted this one, which I'm sure you'll hate.


The so-called Philosophy of India is even more blowsy and senseless than the metaphysics of the West. It is at war with everything we know of the workings of the human mind, and with every sound idea formulated by mankind. If it prevailed in the whole modern world we'd still be in the Thirteenth Century; nay, we'd be back among the Egyptians of the pyramid age. Its only coherent contribution to Western thought has been theosophy—and theosophy is as idiotic as Christian Science. It has absolutely nothing to offer a civilized white man.




But, to redeem Mencken in your eyes, a bit, he also offers this on the same page.

The only really respectable Protestants are the Fundamentalists. Unfortunately, they are also palpable idiots...
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin
Minimalist
 
Posts: 15426
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 1:09 pm
Location: Arizona

Postby Ishtar » Sun Jun 08, 2008 12:33 am

Min, are you sure you're not a reincarnation of Mencken? Reading his quotes was just like talking to you, (which I always very much enjoy, btw) :lol:

But I can see where's he's coming from with his quote on the Philosophy of India, because it's pretty well word for word exactly what I was thinking when I first went to India. I'd been in Bombay for about three weeks and was lying on my bed suffering from the heat, mosquito bites and Delhi Belly big time, trying to read a book on Indian beliefs which I ended up throwing across the room with a shriek of despair! I just wanted to come home.

But I stayed, and started working with a guru (spiritual guide) and after a month or so, the boxes in my head started to rearrange themselves so that I could start to see what they were talking about.

It's just like with anything in life. If you want to learn to drive, you need a driving instructor. If you travel to a strange land, you need a guide. The human mind is a landscape too. But Mencken, for reasons best known to himself, never bothered to get a guide. So he never got to understand another way of thinking - hence his reaction.

I'm sure he was a great chap otherwise, though!

But if you want to understand Zoroastrianism, you may have to move a couple of boxes in your head too, as I'm afraid it is based on the "blowsy and senseless Philosophy of India that is at war with everything we know about the workings of the human mind, and with every sound idea fomulated by mankind."

If you don't do that, you'll remain forever in the Philosophy of Menckenism. :wink:
Ishtar
 
Posts: 2631
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:41 am
Location: UK

Postby Minimalist » Sun Jun 08, 2008 9:19 am

Mencken was a cynic, Ish, and if there is one problem with cynicism it is that one tends to apply it to EVERYTHING.

Fortunately, I live in the US in the 21st century with Dubya in the White House so it is easy to apply cynicism to EVERYTHING.


As for religion, I agree it exists and has in one form or another since the dawn of time and to the eternal detriment of mankind. What I do not accept is that there is any "reality" to it. There are no gods with whom the priests may "intervene." If it rains, it was going to rain anyway. If there is a drought the priests are going to die of thirst along with everyone else.

Now this is not to say that there may not have been an honest belief on the part of the priest that the rock he was praying to was in some way divine. The priests weren't any smarter than anyone else.

But as civilization developed a nasty and natural alliance grew between the rulers and the priests. The kings threatened to kill you in this life and the priests threatened to punish you in the next if you didn't do what they said. An effective double-whammy for primitive men.


In the words of Lucius Annaeus Seneca: "Religion is recognized by the common people as true; by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful."
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin
Minimalist
 
Posts: 15426
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 1:09 pm
Location: Arizona

Postby Ishtar » Sun Jun 08, 2008 9:34 am

Minimalist wrote:Mencken was a cynic, Ish, and if there is one problem with cynicism it is that one tends to apply it to EVERYTHING.

Fortunately, I live in the US in the 21st century with Dubya in the White House so it is easy to apply cynicism to EVERYTHING.


Actually, I think you are a secret European at heart! :lol:

But I think of Mencken as a satirist. There is another satirist I used to like, Clive James, and I occasionally read his books if I want a good chuckle. But I usually get bored within two chapters because, like you say, the same formula applied universally does begin to pall eventually.

As for religion, I agree it exists and has in one form or another since the dawn of time and to the eternal detriment of mankind. What I do not accept is that there is any "reality" to it. There are no gods with whom the priests may "intervene." If it rains, it was going to rain anyway. If there is a drought the priests are going to die of thirst along with everyone else.

Now this is not to say that there may not have been an honest belief on the part of the priest that the rock he was praying to was in some way divine. The priests weren't any smarter than anyone else.

But as civilization developed a nasty and natural alliance grew between the rulers and the priests. The kings threatened to kill you in this life and the priests threatened to punish you in the next if you didn't do what they said. An effective double-whammy for primitive men.

In the words of Lucius Annaeus Seneca: "Religion is recognized by the common people as true; by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful."


I agree that religion has become debased over thousands of years into the manner you describe. But as you know, I disagree with the rest. :wink:
Ishtar
 
Posts: 2631
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:41 am
Location: UK

Postby Minimalist » Sun Jun 08, 2008 11:11 am

I can live with that.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin
Minimalist
 
Posts: 15426
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 1:09 pm
Location: Arizona

Postby Ishtar » Sun Jun 08, 2008 1:26 pm

That's the spirit! :lol:

So how's the book going?
Ishtar
 
Posts: 2631
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:41 am
Location: UK

Postby john » Sun Jun 08, 2008 2:12 pm

Ishtar and Minimalist -


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons

(And, yeah, ever so slowly I'm getting around to Whitehead......)

So, Tragedy of the Cognitive Commons:

1.) Confuse Belief with Religion.

2.) Confuse Religion with Understanding.

3.) Confuse Understanding with Wisdom.

4.) Confuse Wisdom with Knowledge.

5.) Confuse Knowledge with Belief.

6.) Repeat Ad Nauseam.


And, then, properly manipulated,
Let the priesthood, the politicians, and the profits

ROLL.


I'll refer you again to the Oxherding Pictures, as

A bicameral cut on "actual, wilful" (stealing from Charles Olson, here)

Cognition.


hoka hey


john
"Man is a marvellous curiosity. When he is at his very, very best he is sort of a low-grade nickel-plated angel; at his worst he is unspeakable, unimaginable; and first and last and all the time he is a sarcasm."

Mark Twain
User avatar
john
 
Posts: 1004
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 7:43 pm

Postby Minimalist » Sun Jun 08, 2008 3:13 pm

True, John....just because people can think doesn't mean they get it right.

Exhibit "A" George Bush.



Ish I took time out to watch a movie last night. I'll get back to it tonight...now that the Tudors is over. Yes...Anne Boleyn's head went rolling down the yellow brick road at the end of Season II.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin
Minimalist
 
Posts: 15426
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 1:09 pm
Location: Arizona

Postby Ishtar » Mon Jun 09, 2008 5:50 am

Minimalist wrote:
Ish I took time out to watch a movie last night. I'll get back to it tonight...now that the Tudors is over. Yes...Anne Boleyn's head went rolling down the yellow brick road at the end of Season II.


How we never tire of that! :?
Ishtar
 
Posts: 2631
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:41 am
Location: UK

Postby Minimalist » Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:27 am

As promised, I did get back into it and noted the similarity between Z-ism and Egyptian religion in the "weighing of the soul" concept.

The Egyptians believed in the idea that the heart was weighed and if too heavy a big crocodile came and devoured the unlucky sinner. Z-ism has an idea of weighing the soul and, if it fails, some ugly old hag drags the sinner down to hell. As she gives Zoroaster credit for inventing hell that seems to be a later addition to an old idea.

One bone that I do have to pick with Boyce is her crediting Z-ism with being the first to teach the "doctrines of an individual judgment, Heaven and Hell, the future resurrection of the body...." Heaven and Hell maybe but the other two ideas show up in the pyramid texts which were carved into the walls of the 5th Dynasty pharaoh Unas' tomb . Allowing for the 1500 BC date for Zoroaster, that still means these ideas were 8-10 centuries old and we know that there was trade between the region and Egypt because there is Afghan lapis lazuli in Egyptian tombs. Ideas travel in both directions along a trade route.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin
Minimalist
 
Posts: 15426
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 1:09 pm
Location: Arizona

Postby Ishtar » Mon Jun 09, 2008 12:34 pm

From Online Etymological Dictionary:


hell
O.E. hel, helle "nether world, abode of the dead, infernal regions," from P.Gmc. *khaljo (cf. O.Fris. helle, O.N. hel, Ger. Hölle, Goth. halja "hell") "the underworld," lit. "concealed place," from PIE *kel- "to cover, conceal, save" (see cell). The Eng. word may be in part from O.N. Hel (from P.Gmc. *khalija "one who covers up or hides something"), in Norse mythology Loki's daughter, who rules over the evil dead in Niflheim, the lowest of all worlds (nifl "mist"), a death aspect of the three-fold goddess. Transfer of a pagan concept and word to a Christian idiom, used in the K.J.V. for O.T. Heb. Sheol, N.T. Gk. Hades, Gehenna.


Interesting that the queen of the Norse underworld was named Hel.
Ishtar
 
Posts: 2631
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:41 am
Location: UK

Postby Minimalist » Mon Jun 09, 2008 4:36 pm

Probably where they got the name from....along with the christmas tree.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin
Minimalist
 
Posts: 15426
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 1:09 pm
Location: Arizona

Postby Ishtar » Mon Jun 09, 2008 10:26 pm

Min, what does Mary Boyce think about the Vendidad, it's age and so on?
Ishtar
 
Posts: 2631
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:41 am
Location: UK

PreviousNext

Return to Mythology, Ritualisms, Traditions and Folklore

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron