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Old 02-14-2012, 09:13 AM
 
Location: Athens, Greece
526 posts, read 591,555 times
Reputation: 63

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Soul is the incorporeal entity that leaves the body upon death continuing to live itself and should not be confused with the notions of “spirit,” “mind” or “vital spark.”
Any living creature embodies the spark of life and its spirit is reflected in its eyes. “Spirit” and “vital spark,” although not empirical ideas, are ideas that would occur naturally and independently to persons of any culture while the idea of the “soul” has to be taught and be conveyed from one culture to another.

The idea of the soul originated in ancient Egypt and by means of the teachings of the ancient Greek philosophers spread to the rest of the world.

The concept of soul, as we moderns understand it, was known to the ancient Egyptians by the time the papyruses containing chapters of the Book of the Dead were written (1600 – 1100 BCE). The following passage is from chapter 154 of the Book of the Dead:

Preserve me behind you, O Atum, from the decay you reserve for every god and every goddess, for the animals all, for the reptiles all; for each passed away when his soul left after his death; he perished after he passed away.

The Book of the Dead contains vignettes on which the soul is depicted as a human-headed bird flying out of the tomb or spreading its wings protectively over the sarcophagus of the dead body.
The term used both in the above passage and in the name of the human-headed bird of the depiction is ba. No other Egyptian term should be translated as “soul.

The term ba has been translated by Egyptologist as “soul” for two hundred years. The term, however, looses the meaning of “soul” as we go back in time by studying older texts, and this fact obliged the translators of the hieroglyphic script to stop translating the word and use its transliteration (“ba”) instead.

An example of a passage of the Pyramid texts will demonstrate the problem (Faulkner’s is the older translation and Allen’s the modern one):

Utterance 436 §789

Translated by Faulkner: “This mighty one has been made a spirit for the benefit of(?) his soul."

Translated by Allen: “This controlling power has been akhified for his ba."

The hieroglyphic text reads:

sAx \ sxm \ pn \ bA \ =f

purified \ divine being \ this \ ba \ his

No rational translation is possible without rational analysis of the texts, but that is an entirely different subject.

In the above passage the term ba can be rendered as “soul” but in other passages where reference is made to the “house of Ba,” which the king went to visit, or to “the neighborhood” where the Ba lives, or when the Ba is said to be “at the head of his brothers“ it becomes apparent that the word ba was once used as an epithet or a title of a person: of the Ba!
From the Book of the Dead it is known that the Ba operated as witness of defense at the procedure of the test of the judgment and thus it can be said that originally the term Ba meant “supervisor” or “caretaker”.

How and when did the term acquired the meaning of “soul”?

As to “when,” judging from the fact that the term Ba occurs 59 times in the Pyramid texts (2400 – 2200 BCE) and that only in two passages out of the 59 it occurs with a meaning close to that of the soul, the obvious chronology would be sometime around 2500 BCE.
As to “how,” it can be said that it happened by accident!

The Ba as supervisor, caretaker and protector was said, in the prayers to be recited, to be “above” the person been judged (the entire corpus of the Egyptian funerary texts is focused on the subject of the judgment of men by the gods), thus reassuring the man for success at the ordeal of the judgment.

There are also prayers where it is said that the Ba is “all around” the person being judged; the expression deriving from the fact that the Ba was standing by his side.
And then suddenly appears a passage where it is clearly stated that the ba is inside the man!
The said passage occurs in three pyramids (Pepi I, Merenre, Pepi II) with the word “inside” written in three different ways thus leaving no doubt as to the meaning of the particular word.

The phrase in question reads:
bA \ =k \ n\ =k \ m - Xnw \ =k
ba \ yours \ belongs \ to you \ inside \ you

to be continued..
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Old 02-14-2012, 09:17 AM
 
Location: Athens, Greece
526 posts, read 591,555 times
Reputation: 63
continued..

Those who manage to go through the judgment successfully are recognized and are accepted as being gods.

One to be god has to have a god’s body.

In Utterance 539 it is said that 25 members of the body of King Pepi come from different gods. It is in this way that the man becomes god: by exchanging his body members with body members of god (which is actually achieved when a god impregnates a woman: the child may be born a god)

There are some standard expressions relative to the transformation into a god:

Srt \ =k \ n \ =k \ Hr
Nose \ yours \ to \ you \ Horus (or King. Usually the man being judged is called ceremonially Osiris)

xpS \ =k \ n \ =k \ Hr
hands \ yours \ to \ you \ Horus

xt \ =k \ n \ =k \Hr
belly \ yours \ to \ you \ Horus

Hnn \ =k \ n \ =k \ Hr
phallus \ yours \ to \ you \ Horus

Such an expression is the one above which locates the ba inside the body of the man.

In those cases that the protégé of the Ba failed the examination of the judgment he was exterminated (gulped down by the Ammit monster) and the Ba, having finished his mission, would leave the Hall of judgment alone.
Upon the death of the man his Ba was leaving!

The ba which found its way inside the body of the man preserved the behavior of the Ba the caretaker: it was also leaving the body of the man upon his death !!

A combination of unique circumstances produced accidentally the idea of the immortal soul. It appeared, therefore, only once and only in Egypt.

No one conceived it. It is nobody’s conception!
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Old 02-14-2012, 06:38 PM
 
Location: Philippines
461 posts, read 518,779 times
Reputation: 216
Moderator cut: While true, nonetheless off topic.

Interesting read on the Egyptian philosophy of the soul. But then, this isn't much different from the Chinese take either. The idea of a transformation of this material world into another world is as old as the Earth (figuratively) itself.

The Jewish philosophy is that the body, the acts, the words, and the thoughts of a person constituted the soul. Kind of wonder where they adopted their thoughts from.

Thomas L. Thompson states that it is wrong to believe that there is a difference or a leap of difference between the ancient world's philosophy and Hellenistic philosophy or even to modern philosophy. We have all basically been thinking the same thoughts.

Even if we were to embrace Paulistic philosophy, heavy with the distinct division of a material body and a spiritualistic soul, we have not come very far from the notion that the next world will be akin to this material world. Paul himself (and others) describe the next world as a new Earth and a new Heaven (meaning the canopy of stars). We will all take on a new body, which has been horribly translated as a perfect replica of the one we own now.

So, who is right?

Seems to me that all of the philosophers over that last 6,000 years or so are speaking from the same sheet of music. But does that make them correct?

It would be devastating (in human emotional terms) to learn at the very end of this life and the beginning of a real life to learn that everything we have been taught in this subject was a colossal "lie" perpetuated for millenia.

Last edited by june 7th; 02-20-2012 at 06:14 AM..
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Old 02-15-2012, 01:10 AM
 
Location: Athens, Greece
526 posts, read 591,555 times
Reputation: 63
Moderator cut: Orphaned

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallisdj View Post
Interesting read on the Egyptian philosophy of the soul. But then, this isn't much different from the Chinese take either. The idea of a transformation of this material world into another world is as old as the Earth (figuratively) itself.

I am glad that you liked it.
As regards the transformation of the material world into a spiritual world, I would say that we should not judge by basing our judgment solely on our own beliefs. There is no evidence that our forefathers had been deceived by the philosophers to the degree we, moderns, have been deceived by them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallisdj View Post
Thomas L. Thompson states that it is wrong to believe that there is a difference or a leap of difference between the ancient world's philosophy and Hellenistic philosophy or even to modern philosophy. We have all basically been thinking the same thoughts.

I am afraid that Mr. Thompson is wrong on that one. The Hellenistic philosophy proved to be the worst enemy of the ancient Greek... “philosophy” represented by the ancient Greek epic poets. We have not been thinking the same thoughts at all as they were thinking of material, murderous, rapist, inhuman gods and we, since the time of Plato, are thinking of a righteous God.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallisdj View Post
Seems to me that all of the philosophers over that last 6,000 years or so are speaking from the same sheet of music. But does that make them correct?

Listen to what Campbell had to say on that:

And though man who bow with closed eyes in the sanctuaries of their own tradition rationally scrutinize and disqualify the sacraments of others, an honest comparison immediately reveals that all have been built from one fund of mythological motifs –variously selected, organized, interpreted, and ritualized, according to local need, but revered by every people on earth.

Philosophers have nothing to do with the original “fund of mythological motifs.” Common people are the source of the oral traditions of every culture and, as Yuri Lotman said, “Culture is memory!”
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallisdj View Post
It would be devastating (in human emotional terms) to learn at the very end of this life and the beginning of a real life to learn that everything we have been taught in this subject was a colossal "lie" perpetuated for millenia.

I am afraid it is; and I believe that the Academia is aware of the “lie” and at the same time reluctant to disclose it fearing the devastation you mentioned.

Even the original idea of the God can be proven to be the product of an accident.

Last edited by june 7th; 02-20-2012 at 06:16 AM..
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Old 02-19-2012, 07:54 PM
 
Location: Philippines
461 posts, read 518,779 times
Reputation: 216
I like the quote you mentioned from Campbell.

I suppose that through a study of various disciplines, thoughts, meditation, argument and hypothesis I feel that I walk a different "line" than most people.

Sounds like you do, as well.

My Native Indian/Buddhist monk brother once told me this story:

A fellow he knew, a fellow Buddhist monk, became a Catholic. Studied to be a priest. After that, he went to the Protestants and studied to be a pastor. Then he tried other religions and finally came back to Buddhism.

When my brother asked him what he learned, the fellow replied: "They are all the same: they all want money."

I feel we can turn that story as to having meaning with what you have presented: they are all the same: they perpetuate a lie based on fear in order to drive masses (and their money, of course) into their houses of worship.

Of course, there is a lot of psychological benefit. Without religion, most people would be like the proverbial lemmings: leaping en masse off cliffs (which they don't really do, but I'm just using the myth to make a point) in order to relieve their suffering.

Ha-ha.

Peace.
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Old 02-20-2012, 05:37 AM
 
Location: Athens, Greece
526 posts, read 591,555 times
Reputation: 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallisdj View Post
I like the quote you mentioned from Campbell.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallisdj View Post
I suppose that through a study of various disciplines, thoughts, meditation, argument and hypothesis I feel that I walk a different "line" than most people.

Sounds like you do, as well.

My Native Indian/Buddhist monk brother once told me this story:

A fellow he knew, a fellow Buddhist monk, became a Catholic. Studied to be a priest. After that, he went to the Protestants and studied to be a pastor. Then he tried other religions and finally came back to Buddhism.

When my brother asked him what he learned, the fellow replied: "They are all the same: they all want money."
I disagree with Campbell’s theory but I have to respect his knowledge of mythology.

That Campbell’s passage you liked is referring to oral traditions predating any organized religion. The legends that the people all around the globe had to say about gods seem to come from one and the same source.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallisdj View Post
I feel we can turn that story as to having meaning with what you have presented: they are all the same: they perpetuate a lie based on fear in order to drive masses (and their money, of course) into their houses of worship.

Those exploiting religion were not the ones who produced the idea of the existence of gods. Our ancestors (I mean humanity’s ancestors) were talking of earthly gods living side by side with them.
Our ancestors, the non-gods, feared the gods because the gods were wicked.
Thus, earthly gods existed before the advent of religion. Religion was born when it was said that the earthly gods climbed a ladder and went to live up in the heavens !!

The exploitation has to do only with immaterial heavenly gods.
To say that the real gods were plain people just named “gods” is no good for the organized religions. Academia does not want to displease organized religion and thus the lie you mentioned is perpetuated!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallisdj View Post
Of course, there is a lot of psychological benefit. Without religion, most people would be like the proverbial lemmings: leaping en masse off cliffs (which they don't really do, but I'm just using the myth to make a point) in order to relieve their suffering.

You may be right here,... for “most people.”
I am happy I do not belong –and you I guess- to the class of the ...“most people.”
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