Monday, October 3, 2016

weighing of the heart

Educator made me think of this in the song of the south thread. Apparently Hillary has a gurney on hand at her Akron rally. A troubling sight, just last week a long time friend was wheeled of during our beer bottling session. And I've had rides on those those things myself. Just recalling fills me with dread. It doesn't necessarily mean someone is close to death but it's never a good sign. Never. And the worst thing is sometimes you're so bad off that you're out completely and can't even hear the siren. And there goes your childish aspiration of imaging everyone on the road pulling over and getting out the way just for you. (What a stupid thing to want. I never considered I'd be bad off if ever inside an ambulance. I only thought of the fun)  Or even worse than that, the EMTs don't even turn the siren on, because the hospital is so close and traffic is not heavy. The last time I did hear a siren. "Is that siren ours?"

"No. That's somebody else."

What a bummer! But then checking on that new report [hillary, gurney, akron]  at Infowars, commenter The Gooch said "Has anyone checked on Hillary today? She hasn't had a coughrence in almost a day!" And that malapropism of his had me laughing so hard that my dread evaporated and replaced with mirth. Levity of the darkest kind. That makes me bad. But I don't care.

Christians fret over the idea of meeting their maker. Religious people, even today, still tend to regard the immediate afterlife coming face to face with God, or with Jesus, or with St. Peter barring their entry to heaven until their deeds in life are assessed for worthiness by weighing their thoughts, their sayings, their deeds as written in the "book of life." After all the teaching of Jesus aimed at inculcating a new concept of God as loving father, Christians still tend to hold an impression of God as supreme bookkeeper whose main interest is making damaging entries against his children on Earth. And that's a real shame so far as their own spiritual development goes.

Nevertheless, having said all that, it's still fun as hell imaging Hillary's crimes of raw ambition against her own party, her government, against the unwitting citizens of the United States, even against citizens of other countries, by her insatiable grasping, her distorting of everything, her straight up corrupting every person and every thing around her being weighed and measured for her disposition in the hereafter. Since we cannot have justice for them all in the present.

In the Egyptian Duat, or Amduat, there are several names for these scrolls of spells collected over thousands of years and changed in nature as they developed, known as "The Book of Going Forth by Day" or "Going Forth Into the Light" originally upward, then later subterranean, known today commonly as "The Book of the Dead," one of the chief spells, the spell most recognizable, the spell that is illustrated the most, and this is where Egyptian hieroglyphs are pulled down from text and developed into real elaborated art, we see the deceased's heart weighed against a feather before they can proceed.

And you think, "Oh man, that means everyone is doomed because all actual human hearts weigh a lot more than a feather. No fair!"

It means, the contents of one's heart is weighed against the Maat, itself meaning "balance." Conceptually then, the contents of one's heart (a pharaoh's heart) weighed against balance itself.

Eventually it became a all encompassing concern for every official familiar with these myths and these spells. It's why they were constantly repeating in their formulaic writing when referring to a king  "the justified" and included along with a whole list of epithets that sound like Star Trek's Lwaxana Troi bring introduced to officials. Here, in the translation of the stela of Mere, described as a butler, but that's another translator's liberty, Merer has written for posterity what he would have us all know:

First all the epithets for Anubis for an offering through the god.

who is upon his mountain
in the place of embalming
Lord of the sacred land
In all his beautiful and pure places

All that is very formulaic. This is seen everywhere. "An offering of bread and beer." And now more formula applied to himself, Merer.

For the worthy of honor.
Butler and overseer of the butchers.
Of the entire nome of Edfu.
Priest of slaughtering and offering in two temples.
On behalf of 13 rulers (he's counting dead rulers, because that's quite impossible. He's exaggerating)
Never was wrongdoing in me.
I did not steal.
I was not spat in the eyes.
My beauty of speech.
The knowledge of my council.
My bending of shoulder (respect)
I have done what the great ones desired.
I am a character beloved of his companions.
I have advanced to the front.
I have attained honored state.
My heart acquiesced to Maat. (Inclined to the feather)
I have never delivered a living person to a potentate (falsely accused)
My name is good among all men.
I never told lies against a living person, an abomination agains Anubis.
When another town feared, this town had reason to be pleased.
I got cattle, lands, and copper.
I nourished my brothers and sisters. (the formula is fed the hungry, clothed the naked. They often say, when a traveler asked for water I gave them milk.)
I buried the dead and nourished the living.
I sealed off their fields and mounds not allowing their water to flood so that his people may swim
I caused Upper Egyptian barley to be given to the town.

Images, [weighing of the heart] Most are on papyrus and in poor condition. Here is a modern abbreviated representation:

The object on the scale that looks like a vase is the word for heart, "ib." It is not a vase. It is not a human heart either. It is a heart of an animal, mostly likely a cow. It is found in the category of "parts of animals, midway in the list, F34.  So then, if the contents of the human heart outweigh the balance of Maat then the individual standing nearby, is tossed to the composite monster waiting for results, and devoured, and that's the end of that. This is what early Egyptians feared most and that's why all the formulaic bragging and disavowing of evil. The thought of facing this eventual scene tended to keep officials well behaved. 


edutcher said...

She;s got more than an uh-oh coming if they've got a gurney waiting at every rally.

Chip Ahoy said...

I was going to write "oh shit" but I sensed through vibration in the force that people are growing a bit impatient of my careless swears so I'm trying to knock it the fuck off. I meant to say just now, stop it. Tourette's is not so easy to live with, you know.

ricpic said...

It's probably universal: the sense of being judged by a deity. I once knew a woman who denied God but spoke often of a higher power. Anyway, almost everyone has a sense that there is something that they must do. And someone (or some power) behind that imperative. The American painter Ivan Le Lorraine Albright (what a great name) gave the title That Which I Should Have Done I Did Not Do to an excruciating depiction of a ruined old man.

MamaM said...

I live and learn, ricpic.

Albright was interviewed by Vermont Public Radio in 1978. He says that to make That Which I Should Have Done I Did Not Do, which is 8 feet tall and three feet wide, he cut a hole in the floor of his studio and rested it four feet below the floor, raising and lowering it as he painted. He says he painted about a ½ square inch a day, and never changed anything as he went. Here’s what he says about his titles: "I will tell you why. When I was a boy I met all of these artists and they would have titles like Boys Sitting by a Stream, The Sunshine on the Girl’s Hat, Girl Holding a Daisy, Boy Eating an Apple. I got pretty tired of them. I heard them from 1903 until 1920. I probably was the first one who decided not to have those titles; I was going to have something that the painting said. If you know art and like art, you will see so much in it. I thought, to help people along, I would take a title with a little other, you might say, dimension. If, for instance, I bring a picture of Ida into the world, it becomes Into the World There Came a Soul Called Ida. She was a 20-year-old married woman, and I knew they were going to call her a prostitute and ugly, so I called her a soul. Not everybody can call a soul a prostitute. I like to get a little bit of my philosophy in the title, and I like That Which I Should Have Done. It happens to almost everybody, almost every day."

ricpic said...

MamaM -- your comment forces me to admit I made a mistake calling That Which I Should Have Done I Did Not Do the portrait of a ruined old man. That painting is titled And Man Made God In His Own Image. To further complicate matters, when that painting was exhibited the museum which showed it turned the title around to And God Made Man In His Own Image. Which of course is the more plausible or at least generally agreed upon formula. Most interesting of all, Albright did not object to the inversion of his own title. Who knows, maybe he had second thoughts.......

MamaM said...

ricpic, After I figured out it was The Door that went by the Should Have-Did Not title, I then went on to find two more I thought might be the one you were referencing, so it was a good search. Plus I liked the last line, where he says "it happens to almost everybody, almost every day".

It's names and links like this that make blog-reading fun in the midst of election angst, lies and a crisis in leadership. Who paints a 1/2 inch square a day, calls it life and leaves a legacy?

I don't need a do-over, I need a do-more, or do-less, or do-something-different. I need to remember that a 1/2 inch can make a difference.