The Curriculum of Elementary and High Schools in the West

Discussion in 'Ancient History and Mythology' started by mojobadshah, May 13, 2011.

  1. mojobadshah

    mojobadshah Interfaith Forums

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    Is it just me or did teachers totally not even mention Zoroastrianism, the ethical religion, or touch on its literature in elementary or high school. It was my understanding that religion is not to be taught at schools, yet oftentimes Zoroastrianism is interpreted as a philosophy. Moreover, pretty much everyone I talk to recalls learning about Greek and Roman mythology and that mythology was part of these people's religious heritage so what gives?
     
  2. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    I think Greek and Roman mythology are part of the context of literature and writing in general, as well as history. While not many of those that follow those beliefs remain, their impact on the world, and in our venacular, and their monuments remain.

    Zorastrianism is overlooked as an early (first) monotheism, and while its impact on Abrahamic religions exists, nothing else really does.

    Heck we've got more Sufis, Taoists, followers of Shinto, Jains, Sikhs and on and on and on....but not many folks know of them, nor will you find any chapter in a school textbook...and these religions are all more active than the few followers of Zoroaster...
     
  3. mojobadshah

    mojobadshah Interfaith Forums

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    What does that mean?

    And what about St. Patty's Day? Most of us remember celebrating St. Patty's Day in school yet St. Patty didn't have anything to do with our vernacular.
     
  4. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    There are parades and green beer all over this country....the Irish have invaded...it is one of our quasi holidays. And I'd bet it would be found in many folks top ten...
     
  5. mojobadshah

    mojobadshah Interfaith Forums

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    Well I've said before and I'll say it again. Not only did monotheism originate with the Zoroastrians, but everything good about the Abrahamic religions came from the Zoroastrians.


    There would be no St. Patty's day without Zoroaster.
     
  6. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Yes many of us are aware of Zoroaster....yet the religion died out. Why do you think this is?

    What is the weakness it had that made folks move away from it or didn't allow it to flourish.

    Or were the advertising and marketing branches the abrahamic religions better?
     
  7. mojobadshah

    mojobadshah Interfaith Forums

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    Though whether the Zoroastrians died out or not is not my point, my point being that the ethical system and even theology of the Zoroastrians probably had the biggest impact on the world ever, so what's wrong with at least mentioning the guy's name and saying a little about his achievements in elementary and high school. I, personally, did not become aware of Zoroaster until I got into college, and it wasn't even in college that I learned about him.

    Why did the ancient Greeks call the ancient Persian Zoroastrians barbarians when - when it came to ethics they were far more advanced than the ancient Greeks?
     
  8. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    If you've got a burr under your saddle, you are going to have to deal with it direct. Are you asking this question to any curriculum writers, discussing it with any world history professors...odds are you'll get a better answer, not one to your liking probably, but a better answer from them.


    As to the second part. You'll have to ask the ancient Greeks.

    But beyond that, I now recall that the majority belief in Iran is actually Zoroastrianism....except that it is illegal...except that you'd be killed if youi said so....except that it is much more lucrative to pretend to be a Muslim like the rest of your fellow Zoroatrians...
     
  9. bob x

    bob x New Member

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    Persia never created a functional society. They were always ruled by absolute monarchs who could, and did, order any kind of cruelty, with no-one to stop them. The Greeks, despite vastly outweighed by the size of the Persian state, stood them off because they understood at a very profound level how much they would be sacrificing to surrender to this kind of system: Herodotus stretches the stories a lot, which is precisely what makes him an informative read if we understand as a source more for how people were thinking at the time than for just the facts of how things happened; here is a nicely readable summary.
     
  10. mojobadshah

    mojobadshah Interfaith Forums

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    Yeah, I remember reading Herodotus, but isn't he also known as "the Father of Lies?" From what I understand, if you read Xenophon's Cyropaedia, even though its written later, he doesn't fail to mention that the Persians were very adamant about justice and righteousness. Moreover the Persians were Zoroastrians and Zoroastrianism preaches a loving God, Ahura Mazda. One of Ahura Mazda's hypostasises is even Spenta Armaiti "Love and Devotion." I think the Greeks were the one's who believed in immoral Gods and they realized that the Persians were beginning to undermine their own cultural heritage (Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle were all influenced by Zoroastrianism) and that's partly why they were averse to the Persians. And Xenophon also mentions how the Persians believed in equality and alludes to a democratic council system, the Council of Elders and the Council of Persia, and how the Persian leader is appointed to his position of power. I wouldn't even be surprised if this is where the idea of democracy came from. And the democratic council system is not foreign to the Indo-Iranians. The Pashtuns have been practicing the Jirga or quasi democratic council system longer than the Greeks, the Americans, and any other nation has. And it is also my understanding that the Persians instituted the Satrap system which allowed conquered states relative autonomy comparable to how each state in the U.S. has its own constitution.
     
  11. bob x

    bob x New Member

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    Which is why I recommend him as a source on how people were thinking at the time, more than as a source for the facts.
    ... you get a better source on the facts, since Xenophon had, after all, actually been there.
    But he doesn't conceal that the system was one of absolute despotism, and that if a bad king was more inclined to tyranny and cruelty than to justice and righteousness, violent overthrow was the only recourse.
    So did medieval Christendom, but the political system then was also oppressive and miserable.
    And they were going through a philosophical crisis about that, yes. This is why they founded states whose constitutions were not religiously based at all.
    I see no sign of that in any of them.
    Succession was really by inheritance or by coup d'etat. "Assent" was really quite nominal; and even if it had been more real, occasionally voting on who to give unchecked power to is not an adequate system.
    You are romanticizing.
    I doubt that very much; nor do the jirgas actually function very well.
    The satrap was appointed from the center, with no consultative of the conquered peoples at all; not always of Persian ethnicity, but always from an ethnic group foreign to their territory; and if the state had tendencies to "autonomy", the satrap would always be castrated to remove any tendency for him to become a hereditary monarch.
     
  12. mojobadshah

    mojobadshah Interfaith Forums

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    Pythagoras is said to have emulated Zoroaster. Plato wanted to go to Persia to study under the Zoroastrians, but was prevented because of war. Aristotle placed Zoroaster 5000 years before the Trojan Wars. Even Soctrates was tried for impiety because he had "invented Gods" andhe had mapped out an ethical system not much unlike that of the Zoroastrian Heptad. In general the ancient Greeks believed that the ancient Persian culture was even more ancient than that of the Egyptians and looked to them for their ethical wisdom.

    No I'm not. First of all one has to determine when democracy was really introduced to the Greeks. The longest period of Democracy in Greece was under Pericles who was another one of these Medized Greeks.[/QUOTE]

    Apparently the jirgas have been an institution between the days of Cyrus the Great and the establishment of Afghanistan. Ahmad Shah Durrani came to power by way of Jirga in 1747. 30 years before American democracy. I'm not saying the Jirgas system is perfect, but it is democracy and very similar to what we got going here in the U.S. United States democracy is not an absolute democracy either. Its a representative democracy like in Afghanistan.
     
  13. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    To answer the original question of this thread, my schooling in high school world history and culture classes was only western culture. It only mentioned other cultures as they directly impacted on westerners, wherever the westerners were in the world. Sure, we heard about the opium wars in China, the British colonies in Hong Kong, etc., but these things were told only from a westerner's point of view. We learned almost nothing about Chinese culture from the Chinese point of view, Japanese culture from the Japanese point of view, etc.

    I think part of this also has to do with the fact that none of my teachers knew anything about Asian and other non-western cultures. Even today, I am shocked at how many of my fellow countrymen have absolutely no idea of the difference between, for example, China and Japan. (They just think it's one big country.)

    I think a lot of it also had to do with racism at that time in the western world. At that time, I think many westerners still thought Asians were nothing but a bunch of 'gooks' (and they felt no shame in mouthing off blatant racist remarks towards Asians and other non-westerners). Fortunately, we have come a long way in reducing such blatant racism in our culture.
     
  14. mojobadshah

    mojobadshah Interfaith Forums

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    Yeah, you appear to have given the same education I was. Yet, its funny how they say that the there is no standard in the American curriculum of Elementary and High Schools because according to my own statistical correlations most people unless they've acquired a religiously based education, something along the lines of Catholic school, that Americans were all taught roughly the same things. And actually I was hoping that the reason for this wasn't due to some form of prejudice, but denying that is a factor is not easy. But my concern goes deeper than that. Because it's not only the educational system, but it would appear to have affected the mainstream, pop culture, what have you. You mentioned China and Japan, but these cultures are pretty dominant in comparison to Persian culture when it comes to pop culture. But is Persian culture seriously that uninteresting? When I bring up Persia it appears to be the same aspects that come up over and over again. The negative always come down to the Persian failure against the Greeks, and terrorism. The only positive thing I ever hear about the Persians is when the Persians and the West had a common enemy, the Soviets. I would even go as far as to say that when I mention Persia people will recognize it's a place-name, but that's it. It makes me wonder if the reason why the Persians are so pissed off, if you agree they are, is because they're always getting assed out like that. Now, I'm not saying that people should stop educating students on what they have been, but that they should be more inclusionary of some positive Persian achievements. I mean is Persian culture seriously that uninteresting? And I have to bring this up again: Zoroaster was tremendously influential yet his name doesn't come up once. It almost seems like it doesn't just come down to race, but religion too. I get the feeling that most Jews, Christians, and Muslims would not want people to know about Zoroaster because they're afraid of how Zoroaster would change people's preconceptions on religion and Persian culture. Especially, if it was coming from the schools. Then again I don't want to come off sounding like the Persians are the center of the world and that other cultures that are kept out of the spotlight are any less deserving of this kind of exposure. Ultimately the way I see it is you can't preach free will, freedom of religion, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and you can't give someone a choice if you only tell one side of a story. If you don't give people a choice to begin with.
     
  15. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    To be honest, world history was fairly minimized in school, we got some in elementary, one year in middle school, and a little more in high school, the dynasties of China, English empire, Roman Empire, Persian Empire etc.

    But zero on Moses, or Jesus or Muhamed, or Lao Tsu or Confucious... So Zoroaster should not feel slighted.

    Now if Iran gets involved in the 'spring' movement...odds are many Zoroastrians will come out of the woodwork if religious freedom finds them...
     
  16. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    "I get the feeling that most Jews, Christians, and Muslims would not want people to know about Zoroaster because they're afraid of how Zoroaster would change people's preconceptions on religion and Persian culture."

    --> I'm afraid I disagree. Most westerners don't have a clue about other cultures. They are not even close to worrying about whether Zoroaster ideas would change people's preconceptions on religion and Persian culture.

    "...is Persian culture seriously that uninteresting?"

    Most people in the world -- easterners as well as westerners -- only see things from their own cultural perspective, and, quite frankly, they don't give a hang about other cultures. It's not that Persian culture is uninteresting, it's that these people find all foreign cultures uninteresting. As I mentioned before, I'm shocked by how many of my fellow Americans haven't got a clue as to the difference between China and Japan. They take the same attitude towards Persian culture and every other foreign culture in the world as well.
     
  17. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Wil,

    You did better than we did. In my schooling, the Chinese dynasties were barely mentioned. Perhaps one of the *problems* is that there have been so many Chinese dynasties. My college students here in China have trouble just listing them all!
     
  18. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    been a long time and fawget my spelling errors...but to the tune of Frarajaca, and it isn't all of them...but the majors...

    Shang Cho Chin Han
    Shang Cho Chin Han
    Sway Tang Song
    Sway Tang Song
    Wong Min Chin Republic
    Wong Min Chin Republic
    Mao Zedong
    Mao Zedong
     
  19. bob x

    bob x New Member

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    "IS SAID"??? By whom?
    Says who?
    Says who? Pythagoras, Plato, and Aristotle never mentioned Zoroaster at all, and I doubt that any of them had ever heard of him.
    There was absolutely nothing about "inventing Gods" in his trial. He did not map out any ethical system, but prodded people to think about such things for themselves. There is nothing remotely like Zoroastrianism in any of the literature about Socrates. Where are you getting this stuff?
    I do not know of a SINGLE Greek who believed that Persia was more ancient than Egypt, or looked to Persia for wisdom.
    "MEDIZED"??? What in the world are you talking about? The democratic constitution of Athens was introduced by Solon, generations before Greeks had ever even heard of Persia; and Pericles was from the generation which despised Persia most.
    "APPARENTLY"??? Appears to whom? I know no source whatsoever which would trace any Afghan institutions back earlier than medieval times.
    It is so thoroughly dissimilar that I would never have expected anyone to make even a remote comparison.
     
  20. mojobadshah

    mojobadshah Interfaith Forums

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    Pythagoras is called the best emulator of Zoroaster – Cyrillus adv. Jul. III

    Plato intended on going to the Magi but was prevented from doing so by the wars then raging in Asia – Diogenes of Laerte

    Eudoxus asserts just as Aristotle does some years later, that the Magi were older than the Egyptians

    In his Apology Socrates distinguishes between divine wisdom and human wisdom. This transcendent wisdom imparts the supreme forms, namely, The Good, The True, The Just, The Beautiful, to human reason, in the same way that the Amesha Spentas or hypostasis of Ahura Mazda are revealed. “Perfection”, “Law and Order”, “Good Mind,” and “Immortality,” these attributes were to be enforced not only in individual human conduct but also in what Xenophon would include under “state”.

    Socrates also refers to “new or old” supernatural beings, an indirect confession of his Zoroastrian influence. He was “guilty of corrupting the minds of the young, and of believing in deities of his own invention instead of the gods recognized by the state” (Apology 24, tr. By: Hugh Tredennick, The Penguin Classics)

    I already mentioned the Persian council system of government which was different than their Mede overlords.

    How exactly? Here we have an electoral college. We, certainly I, have no say in who the electors are. There its the tribal heads who are the electors. Neither system is dependent only on the popular vote.
     

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