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Lecture II (S-II) 2-19-54 We are in the middle of our considerations of Zarathrustra. In order to better understand the decisive difference between the Asiatic concept of free mind and the Western concept of free mind we must understand the break that occurs between the fundamental thinking of Zarathrustra and the thinking of Buddha and Lao Tze. We do not know how much and how far Zarathrustra had been influenced by Hebrew thinking. His thinking is in many parts similar to Abraham's but it is also very different in one decisive point: namely, in the concept of the freedom of man, and the break that Zarathrustra makes with Asiatic thinking is even more decisive than Abraham will make. This break is mainly contained in the concept of divinity which is distinguished from the Asiatic concept of divinity. We have seen that, philosophically speaking, we do not decide but are neutral towards the question as to whether God makes man or man makes God. We leave the decision of this question to belief, faith, or theology, since we in philosophy are only equipped with the means of human reason, and we are bound to the use of those means, hence we are certainly not able to decide this question. Knowing this, we can nevertheless say that although we are not able to decide whether God makes man or man makes God we have seen up to now that the two processes are always related. Looked at from the philosophical side, this means that as soon as a fundamentally new concept of man is developed (that is, when man takes a new view of his own position and being in the world)--then also, a new concept of divinity comes into the world. They are always related. It is a mirror phenomenon, although we still do not know which of the two poles is the original and which is the mirror. We cannot decide that. We can only say that both phenomena are intimately related so as soon as a new concept of divinity comes into the world (whether it be a mythical, metaphysical, or free philosophical one), then we can conclude that bound to it is a new concept of man, and that as soon as a new concept of man is conceived then there will be a new concept of divinity that corresponds exactly to it. Philosophically, it gives us one more means to consider the profundity of the concept of man because in philosophy a concept of God can teach us nothing more than how profound the concept of man is. There we must stop our inquiry, because all other conclusions would go beyond human reason and cannot be used by us. With the mythological concepts of divinity we have considered, Hindu, and Chinese, we have seen that they have a strange thing in common, and this might be the reason why neither Lao Tze or Buddha speak about divinity at all. It has been thought that Buddha was an atheist, which he certainly was not, however the concept of divinity which would correspond to Buddha's conception of man as a free thinking being could only have been Zarathrustra's, yet he did not have this concept. Neither did Lao-Tze. Both refrained from answering this question. Gods or divinities in the old mythological sense were accepted by Buddha in order to, overcome them through the power of the mind of man which he put above those divinities. When a demon said to him that he should become one of the highest gods Buddha answered "I am not concerned with that because I am about to make the gods and the heavens tremble by becoming a Buddha". (A Buddha means an enlightened one--an enlightened human being). To become an enlightened human being was considered, by him, to be an action that would make all of the heavens shake and all of the gods tremble. That is the reason why he was considered to be an atheist. We can see in all of his discourses that he left the question open which shows what a critical philosophical mind is at work here. It was the same with Lao-Tze. He too left the question open. Neither talked about a definite concept of divinity; they refrained from it and they must have done so consciously. Now Zarathrustra does not do so, because those barest thoughts that we will consider from the original Gathas must be the thoughts of one definite thinker, and we cannot help but take Zarathrustra's concept of God or divinity and consider it within the context of these thoughts, because they must be his. But why did he, being not the founder of a religion as neither Buddha nor Lao-Tze were, nevertheless develop a concept of God? In the eighteenth century when Immanuel Kant brought all of the propositions that human reason had developed thus far about itself to their final critical conclusions, he made the, strange and not yet understood discovery that if we start to reason critically (that means always in self-criticism of reason) though we cannot explain everything out of metaphysical propositions like Being or God, nevertheless if we reject these limits of human reason entirely (if we reject this "beyond" of human reason) and take it out of our mind then we lose the very functioning of our reason. Why? Because it means to give up the self criticism of our reason. As soon as we say, as modern positivists like Hans Reichenbach say, that we must stop asking unanswerable questions then we lose the capability of raising answerable questions, let alone answering those that can be answered. Unanswerable questions have a relation to all answerable questions and the reason is simple, because as soon as we stop asking such questions we lose the limits of our reason, and as soon as we lose awareness of the limits of human reason then human reason gets to be crazy. It thinks it can really answer everything. It thinks it is a value in itself and we enter an age of boundless rationalism--rationalism, not as a religion but as a superstition, a cult, or a ritual like any other. It only means that the concept of "admiration" is mistaken for a religious concept. I wouldn't say this is a religious concept just as I wouldn't say that Communism and Nazism are religions. I would say that religions are only lines of human thought that include divinity, however this is a matter of definition. But certainly, they are cults. They are cults, rituals and superstitions--exactly what religions are to a certain degree. But they are only that, and rationalism as an "ism" is as boundless a cult and superstition of the human mind as is any other ideology or "ism". To forget the limits of human reason by not asking unanswerable questions means to go beyond the limits of human reason and to go beyond it uncritically in a mad way. This is not exactly what Kant said but it is certainly what he found. He brought us exactly up to this limit of human reason and he wanted us to understand that we should keep it in mind. Then, he tried to fortify that knowledge by saying there is another reason in us--practical reason, which we always should follow and he tried to give us not a moral law, but rather the moral law, the "categorical imperative". Unfortunately, this was a blunder, because already Nietzsche could easily destroy this proposition showing it to be a metaphysical proposition, and with that we became lost in this stream of boundless rationality which on the other hand brought forth at once irrationality. Both have nothing to do with reason. There are (so-called) irrational acts of human beings which are most reasonable, and there are highly rational acts of human beings which are most unreasonable. We got into a wrong cut of those propositions because it is a scientific cut. We lost entirely our view of the original (creative) functioning of human reason,but if we had considered this borderline we might have preserved it, and we have to try to go back to it. Now, the miracle comes. There has been a thinker, Zarathrustra, who at least five or six hundred years before Christ faced the same situation of reason in the world that Kant faced in the eighteenth century. He was aware of the fact that when the human mind breaks the framework of myth and goes on in free thinking, then this free thinking can only bear fruit if it knows its own boundaries. He set those boundaries very simply: namely, by asserting that divinity exists and by giving a concept of God that would make man aware of the existence of something beyond human reason; but he was very careful to make this concept the most philosophical concept of God we have ever seen. He calls his God Ahura-Mazda. Ahura-Mazda does not even mean God. It means literally "the Well Thinking One". The One (whatever that is), that is well-thinking. There is no other attribute, no enlargement of his powers, nothing but this bare abstract concept. Now we must disregard all that has been made of Zarathrustra's original teachings--that means the whole Persian religion, which has become one of the most involved and mixed up religions in the near Orient. Zarathrustra wanted only this one God. If he had lived earlier than (the historical) Abraham, and Abraham himself had been merely an invention of the Jewish prophetic writers during the time of the prophets, then even if the original Zarathrustra lived around eight or nine-hundred B.C. that only means that the idea of one transcendent God was actually a Persian idea. However we cannot make this assumption because we have no historical material to rely on. We can only try yo distinguish between them. But at least one thing is sure: the idea of Zarathrustra's is the more abstract one. He does not give Him all of the names that the Hebrews gave to the God of Abraham. He does not try to show us that he knows anything about the qualities of God except this one quality--the "Good Thinking One". He makes one more explanation about this Being. He conceives of a Being out of being or above being, and that means philosophically at least, that he makes the first decisive distinction between the Creator and creation. The creation is Being; the Creator is a being. We cannot give Him another name. We cannot say it is a "nothing" that is above Being, because it could not create Being. This God-Creator of Zarathrustra's is so unlike the other God-Creators (the Hindu or Egyptian gods for instance) who are so poor in imagination that one is often appalled at how dry they seemingly are. That is we can never know if they hadn't created the world out of their own bodies (their own being), because they are so mixed up with their own creation. There is not a trace of (distinguishable) cosmological speculation in thou. They are as mixed up in their own creation as those inventors of purely scientific world pictures were after the Renaissance. Spinoza for instance, couldn't help but draw exactly the same conclusions as those drawn by Indian mythological thinking: namely, to identify the Creator and creation whom for Spinoza were One. There is a very strange resemblance between modern naturalistic thinking (founded so to speak by Spinoza) and the oldest mythological thinking as founded by the Indians. The secret is that both are concepts of energy. They are energetic world pictures. The development of energy in modern science has brought us back to this metaphysical superstition of a God that is mixed up with his own creation. Zarathrustra's God is not. He is a God whom the Christians will later call the Creator, and who created the world out of nothingness. He didn't need anything to create Being -- that is a pure definition of the Creator. We meet this first in Zarathrustra. He says "Ahur-Mazda is apart from everything else". He is apart from Being, and there is no possible relation. This distinguishes him from the Hebrew conception and it is also what makes the concept of divinity in Zarathrustra so abstract. Abstract, not only in thinking, but abstract in ritual and in performance. We see this most clearly in those little "cults"' (if one can call them cults at all) that Zarathrustra founded, the circle of contemplative thinkers (almost like the Quakers), however these little circles had no rituals. Their only activity was thinking in common -- in community; nothing else. When later sacrifices came to be made and the sun (the light) became an object of worship they departed from Zarathrustra's meaning. Zarathrustra meant by "light" not the sun, but rather the light of thought. Thinking is the light for him. He does not distinguish body, mind, and spirit in our way. When he says "the body of Ahura-Mazda is light, the spirit of Ahura- Mazda is thought" he means only that Ahura-Mazda is nothing other than this pure activity of thinking. Nothing else. The idea of fire (light) was later taken by Heraclitus in a different way, and we shall see, when we come to him, how he takes this idea and transforms it into a purely western thought. Here in Persian thought it means exactly what the light meant to Buddha: namely, the enlightening element. Light is only a symbol. The symbol of free thinking and free reasoning. That is why in Zarathrustra the main prayer, which in these original cults was repeated again and again was, as I said the last time "Ahura-Mazda: we thank thee who has given us a free will and a discriminating mind". This "being-apart" of God makes it possible for Zarathrustra to speak of creation as a "term." He calls "Being" the creation. This is the first time in philosophical thought that we have a concept which absolutely distinguishes Being from the Creator, and in which there seems to be no way, no personal way, to communicate with this Creator except in a relationship of pure thought. In Abraham, a personal relationship with God is still possible. In Zarathrustra, the Creator cannot be reached, but if we think of Him then we can be certain that our thinking will be directed in the right way. We will never reach Him by our thinking but that gives us an aim, and this aim brings us into the right way of thinking. That is the reason for those common circles of contemplative thinkers, for as they direct each other they are directed toward the idea of Ahura-Mazda. One can almost say that here, in an original religious sense, is the only instance in all human development where a performance--namely, sitting in this circle and thinking things out, was taken as a religious performance, but was really a straight reasonable philosophic performance and nothing else. It is almost a philosophical religion--something that seems to be a paradox, but nevertheless, it must have been reached then, because no other indication is given as to a reason for the performance. The idea of a God absolutely apart from creation takes this immense idea of the Absolute out of creation. We do not know what this idea is, because we haven't thought enough about what the number "one" is. What is "one"? Where do we get this concept from? We don't know, but (this much is certain). The Absolute is an idea which we need, because if we did not have it we could not relate. We could not have the concept of relation, and therefore the concept of the "relative" either. This idea of the Absolute might only be a working hypothesis, but it is certainly the best working hypothesis the human mind has ever made, because we use it all of the time without knowing it. We use it whenever we establish relations and man is an establisher of relations. That is one of his main creative capabilities. Now Zarathrustra seemed to have-been aware of this and like Kant later he seemed to have been aware of another thing -- that if we lose the idea of an Absolute and make our relations in such a way as they are not directed towards this idea of an Absolute, then we lose the best capabilities of our reasoning. This seems to be a merely logical fact, but it is existential and can be shown to be existential. We see, for instance, in all clinical cases in modern psychopathology, that as soon as the capacity to establish relations has been lost within a given mentality, then the Absolute has been lost in that mentality. It is the same thing in the case of another polarity; cases like those in the first world war-- clinical cases -- such as the brain injury of a man who seemed to be absolutely normal but who could not do one thing. If one was sitting with him, and the sun was shining outside and one asked him "Say the sun is shining outside" he would say "It is raining outside". He was unable to make the switch from a true statement to a false statement. That was his brain injury. Other brain injuries showed that relations could not be made as soon as the Absolute wasn't there. On the other hand, we have also seen that as soon as the Absolute rules relations absolutely, then all touch with the world and with reality is gone so that only the idea of the Absolute remains, and then relations are developed out of the Absolute towards the world rather than from the world towards the Absolute, resulting in the absolute loss of contact with reality and insanity -- the full capability of developing relations out of an idee fixe. This idee fixe is unmovable and is, mentally speaking, nothing but a mirror reflection of this idea of an Absolute. The insane person has no ideas. He is incapable of having ideas. This idee fixe is his substitute for the idea of an Absolute and it rules him and it rules all of his thinking, so exactly, so to speak, does this mechanism which governs the real relationship between our idea of an Absolute and the relative work. To have then, the concept of divinity that the Hindus have had, that all myth has had, that we in the west had again with Spinoza, and that most of us have without knowing it, means to mix up the concept of God with creation, to make an actual infinity out of relative phenomena, which is exactly what the creation is if we truly look at it. We do not even know that the creation is One -- we haven't the slightest idea that it is. It is a mere speculation of ours and we cannot even prove that the creation is thoroughly related. What really comes before us as true relations, meaningful relations in the world, are relations that we have established ourselves. Of all other relations we know nothing as soon as we haven't established them. So the metaphysical idea that the creation is a whole, a "one", that it is thoroughly related, one thing to another, and that this whole is an Absolute, means really to mistake an infinite mass of phenomena and their relations for the Absolute, and every mixing up of this kind makes man lose his freedom, because then he becomes merely one function in an infinite bundle of relations which he cannot overlook and yet which he doesn't even know. That was the tragedy of all mythical thinking, and it is ours too, because we are only modern mythologists without even knowing it. I mean the believers in those modern ideologies like naturalism -- if it is called naturalism or supernaturalism, idealism or materialism, it is all the same thing, the same medal from the other side. Only Kant's operation and Socrates operation, and basically Zarathrustra's operation -- namely, to say we do not know and cannot know the Absolute -- that the Absolute is something completely separate from the world of the relative -- only this can keep us on the right track of a development of straight and fruitful reasoning. We will see later that Heraclitus took this position up. We don't know whether he got it from Zarathrustra or not, but this position was not taken up by the whole Greek world with the exception of Heraclitus and later Socrates. All other Greek thinking has nothing whatsoever to do with this proposition of the absolute separation of what we here call God and creation. Making man aware of this absolute separation also means another thing. It means to take God out of the realm of power. Power, in our sense, is not might. Let us not call that power, because we are after the sources of human power, and we mean by it something other than what is meant today. In order to distinguish it from force and violence let us go back to the two kinds of power I mentioned before -