In this short talk Thomas Daffern addresses all of us in the UK who are either Zoroastrians or in some way inspired by Zoroastrianism, and are now faced with a choice about the forthcoming general election. Who to vote for ? Which party ? Which MP’s ? The overall fact of the situation is that we are faced with the looming threat of Brexit and the almost certain breakup of the UK if that poorly taken decision is imposed on all parts of this country. In spite of the fact that neither Northern Ireland nor Scotland voted for Brexit, they are possibly going to have it imposed on them regardless of their own democratic views. The strong likelihood therefore is that both those parts of the UK will leave rather than accept this. In my view it is time therefore to rethink this whole plan, and rather than accepting Brexit, we should be voting for party’s and politicians who do not accept Brexit at the forthcoming General Election, in the authors opinion. Zoroastrianism advocates an intelligent approach to ethics rather than a fixed one. Ahura Mazda is the Lord of Light and Goodness, not the God of darkness and idiocy ! If we can see imminent self-destruction looking as a nation, we should take remedial action. A pilot flying a plane when confronted by an imminent air disaster, swerves to avoid impact. To not do so, because the flight path has been “pre-set” would be the worst folly from a Zoroastrian perspective. Just as Zoroaster could intuit the wisdom of goodness from his own existential insight into the higher order of being, so too are each of us now called to attempt to reach into the depth s of our own consciences and find truth, and goodness and higher wisdom. That is the only eternal law, upheld by all faiths, all true prophets in history. The United Kingdom by definition is a peaceful state in the highest mystical sense that unity stands for, and to break it up knowingly and to vote for a party that has policies which will lead to its breaking up, is contrary to right reason and indeed to Divine Law. But if we reject Brexit and also therefore reject the breakup of the United Kingdom, what are we voting for positively ? Which party can provide some kind of positive vision for the future ? In this talk, Thomas Daffern gives a detailed overview of these complex issues from a Zoroastrian perspective and draws on his years of study and research into Zoroastrian teachings. A priest of the Zoroastrian tradition was called a Magus and a plurality were called Magi, as int eh Three magic coming to see the baby Jesus. Christianity, Judaism and Islam have all been influenced by Zoroastrianism, as have the magical traditions of European and British esoteric thought, including freemasonry. Druidry was already ancient by the time Zoroaster appeared, and in many ways Zoroaster was like a Persian Druid elder. We should listen to this ancient wisdom even now as we cast our votes on June 8…
Here are some of the details of his years of research into Zoroastrianism for those who might be interested:
REVIEW OF IIPSGP DIRECTOR’S ACADEMIC KNOWLEDGE, TEACHING AND RESEARCH EXPERIENCE IN ZOROASTRIAN RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS
STUDY AND WRITING:
Commenced study of Zoroastrian philosophy and Persian history for A level in Ancient History, Brighton, 1975; continued studies of Zoroastrian thought whilst in Canada 1977-1981; further study of Persian and Zoroastrian historiography as part of history degree at University of London 1985-1988; detailed studies of Zoroastrian esotericism and its impact on Greek and Roman religious thought; studies of Zoroastrian impacts on Cathar and Bogomil dualism and the Magical traditions of Western Hermeticism etc. (ongoing) studies of discovery of Zoroastrianism among European Orientalists and savants in Enlightenment era and beyond (Voltaire, Duperron, Ramsay et al) and its impact on history of European philosophy (Nietzsche, Hegel etc.); detailed study of impact of Zoroastrian thought on Sufi and Islamic traditions (Suhrawardi, Henri Corbin, Sayid Hussein Nasr etc.) and on origins of Christian thought and angelology (Gershom Scholem etc.) and on the History of Judaism (Neusner etc.); undertook detailed study of images of wisdom in the eschatology of different faiths, including Zoroastrianism; detailed study of Zoroastrian images of time and periodisation of history in relation to the redemptive action of the Saoshyant; detailed study of impact of Zoroastrianism on evolution of Greek philosophy (from pre-Socratics and the Pythagoreans onwards); detailed studies of the Gathas and the language of the ancient Zoroastrian texts and their relationship to Sanskrit; studies of the impact of Zoroastrian ideas on the formation of the Bodhisattva ideals of Mahayana Buddhism etc.
Teaching classes on Zoroastrianism on panel of London region WEA from 1992-2000
Teaching classes on Zoroastrianism for Birkbeck College, University of London 1993-1999
Teaching classes on Zoroastrianism for University of Oxford 1997-2000
RECENT EXPERIENCE: Considerable teaching experience of the history of Zoroastrian in secondary schools and adult education in Powys, Shropshire, Coventry, Nottinghamshire and Dorset, Wiltshire and Sussex. (2001 – 2012 especially in the context of the A level philosophy syllabus concerning the historical origins of philosophy out of the matrix of the Greco Persian wars. Convened special symposium on Iranian-Western Philosophy at Castle of the Muses, Scotland, September 2012, with visitors including the President of the Zoroastrian World Organisation.
Visitor to Zoroastrian Fire Temple in Hampstead, London (close to Freud Museum); launched Interfaith Peace Journal (The Muses Journal) at an interfaith meeting there in 1993;
ACQUAINTANCE WITH THE LITERATURE:
Accrued good collection of Zoroastrian texts, translations, scholarly works, academic papers covering various schools of Zoroastrianism; User of libraries with Zoroastrian collections especially SOAS, Theosophical Society, British Library, London Library
COMMUNITY AND FAITH PARTICIPATION AND ACTIVITY:
Participated in Zoroastrian fire worship service at Fire Temple, London; private Zoroastrian rituals with friends.
COLLEAGUES, CONTACTS, FRIENDS:
Numerous Zoroastrian friends and colleagues including the chief librarian and Zoroastrian House, worked closely with Jehanghir Sarosh (Zoroastrian) in World Conference on Religion and Peace; with Paul Naderi (Zoroastrian from Persia) and with Zerbanoo Gifford (Zoroastrian from India) as special adviser to her Interfaith Centre project; colleague of Shahin Bekhradnia, President of the World Zoroastrian Organisation.