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The Choice to Renovate and Renew the World

Effective Living

Personal Perspective





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A unique and empowering aspect of Zarathushtra’s philosophy is its emphasis on the role and responsibility of individuals to “renovate and renew the world” (Yasna 30.9). What does it mean to renovate and renew the world? Where do we start? Within the family? Locally? Nationally? Internationally? How do we go about it?

We can begin by becoming more aware of the daily opportunities we have to make thoughtful choices. Often, when shopping we look for sales, the popular brand, or the brand we are accustomed to purchasing. We may buy Kraft Macaroni and Cheese because it is on sale, but are we aware that a percentage of the company’s profits will fund tobacco companies? Buying Nike shoes will help the teenager “fit-in” better at school, but it may also support sweatshops and child labor? It is not a matter of being immoral or moral, bad or good, wrong or right. It is a matter of being aware of our choices. In life we often follow routines or do things habitually. This approach may bring continuity and comfort to us, but at the risk of not making the best choice. When doing something habitually, we rarely take the time to consider the alternatives. Therefore awareness of our choices is one way to approach the objective of renovating and renewing the world.

To be confident of our choices, we need to have a good awareness of our surroundings. Gaining such a realistic and up-to-date understanding of our surroundings can be time consuming and requires a continuous commitment. For instance immigrant parents, who are working extremely hard to ensure their families have every opportunity, may not have the time and energy to continually update themselves on “popular culture”. Suppose one such parent is asked by her child for a music CD by a popular artist. Would the parent deprive her child of such a simple pleasure? What if she knew that the artist’s lyrics promote abuse and domestic violence? By buying the CD is she supporting domestic violence? This example is not intended to criticize one choice over another. It is to highlight the importance of being aware of our surroundings before making choices.

Other factors to consider when making the choice to renovate and renew the world are the many resources available to us. These resources include facilities and services as well as other individuals and groups. Zarathushtra states “May we be among those who …”, hence implying that there are others who have the same vision. There are many in our local, national, and international communities who share our objective to renovate and renew the world and they face challenges similar to our own. They may come from different cultures and faiths, but this is a great asset in tackling the complex issues of our times. Diversity is not only essential to the survival and success of a species, but also to that of a community. In the previous example of the choice to buy the music CD, the immigrant parent may gain more insight into the issue by sharing her child’s request with a friend or colleague who is more aware of “popular culture”. This may seem like a trivial issue on which to seek advise, but it can help break communication barriers for discussion of more significant issues.

The tragedy of a family, where several lives were taken and the children were orphaned, may have been prevented if the lines of communication, between the family and the larger community were open and better established.  How many of us feel comfortable enough to discuss the issue of domestic violence within our  circle of acquaintances? One way to be among those who are renovating and renewing the world, is to take it upon ourselves to become familiar with the plethora of resources available to us at the local, national and international levels.  And, where the resources lack, assume the leadership role in championing the creation of such needed resources.

Zarathushtra’s vision of renovating and renewing the world is a source of inspiration to all who have the opportunity to learn about it. We can choose to be empowered by this vision and assume responsibility for renovating the world, or we can opt to take comfort in our habits.  Let us choose to be amongst those who work towards bringing about a brighter future for our children and our great grand children.