[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

Re: Theos-World Re: Jerry- History, Mythology and the resurrection of the dead

Apr 07, 2006 05:44 PM
by Cass Silva

Jerry Hejka-Ekins <> wrote: Dear Vince,

>1. The Daily News- 99% accurate and 1% error-prone
Such optimism.  :-)

>To gain information about 
>unrecorded history and/or lost books, one must either look to 
>metaphysical writers claiming supernatural revelation about the pre-
>historic ancient world, or engage in direct supernatural 
>communication with beings who are eons old.
Personally, I take either source with a grain of salt.  I put more stock 
in archeology, though that does not mean that I necessarily agree with 
their interpretations either.

>I'm hoping that you at least get my general idea.  I'm hoping to 
>advance beyond the mere realm of historical specifics here, and 
>introduce a few ideas which go beyond the recorded texts.
I understand.  However, unless your general ideas are also more or less 
consistent with the data, I can't get too excited about them. 

>I am not referring exclusively to Egyptian heiroglyphs, nor to a 
>specific time period.  That was simply one example.  Heiroglyphs 
>exist internationally.  Heiroglyphs often contained chronological 
>picture records of the deceased's primary life events, acting as 
>historical accounts.  These historical accounts may also have 
>contained creative vision concerning potential afterlife events, but 
>they were not restricted to such.
This is a very general usage of hieroglyphs.  That is fine.  But I 
cannot comment upon your own or other's visions.  Some art works, 
obviously (to me) depict visionary experiences. Others do not.  I think 
I have a very good sense of distinguishing between the two.  However, I 
have no way of knowing whether we would agree upon which are visionary 
and which are not.  Anyway, I seem to be more eclectic about these 
things.  Yes, I have had a lot of visions, and based partly on those 
experiences, I readily recognize visionary art.  However, my 
understanding about what I see also comes from my studies in history, 
literature, cultural studies, archeology, comparative religious studies etc.

>I'm sorry, but I don't necessarily accept the speculations of a 
>limited number of historians concerning the 30,000 year dating 
>timeline, insofar as a very large portion of historians do not agree 
>with such a timeline.  
I believe the 30,000 year or so dating is well established and was 
derived from carbon dating. 
However, the date is not very relevant to the point: The Lascaux 
paintings exhibit techniques not developed in Europe until the 
Renaissance and after. 
10,000 BC, or even a 100 AD date would still be significant to the point 
I was trying to make.

>You may refer to the volumes that I had 
>referenced earlier, entitled "Chronology of World History" as 
>published by ABC-Clio/Hutchinson, which begin dating any such 
>materials as no older than 10,000 BC.  Again, historical accuracy 
>and dating begins to get a bit hazy the further that we go back.
I have lots of history books in my library with lots of points of view.  
I try to take everything on balance.

>This is not the case with all languages.  Are you suggesting then 
>that languages never evolved, but rather devolved?  
I am suggesting that language evolves with the culture.  French is an 
especially good legal language.  English is an especially good business 
language (for reasons beyond its increasingly wide usage).  Sanskrit is 
an especially good language for expressing spiritual concepts. 

>Rather than 
>languages beginning with ten words and increasing to ten thousand 
>words, they started with ten thousand words and devolved down to ten 
>words?  Don't you think they had to start someplace?  I'm not quite 
>certain where your precise point of disagreement is.
Vocabulary size has little to do with it.  It is the ability of a 
language to express ideas.  This has more to do with the language's 
structure and the interfacing of the language to the speaker's 
perceptions. For instance. With a moment's reflection, I think it would 
be obvious to you why in English we have a single word for ice.  Yes, 
the Eskimo have many words.  Obviously, snow is a far more important 
part of their culture and life style than to ours. So, vocabulary  is a 
product of human experience and environment. 

In early Victorian times and earlier, scientists had a notion of 
"primitive languages."  Languages based upon some minimal grammar and 
limited vocabulary.  The Tarzan novel was based upon this notion: "Me 
Tarzan, you Jane."   When the first British explorers encountered the 
Aborigines in Australia, the sounds they made sounded like gibberish and 
they assumed that they had no real language at all.   Now we know that 
there is no "primitive" language anywhere, regardless of  the culture. 

My point about languages "dumbing down" is in reference to the 
progressive simplification of our modern European languages.  Classical 
Greek, Latin, Sanskrit etc.
were declined languages.  Of the modern European languages, only German 
has retained a remnant of this.  The language of Alexander the great was 
very complex, while the Koine Greek, which the New Testament was written 
is much simpler in its structure.  The Latin of Augustus was a declined 
language, but this no longer exists in modern Italian.  I have here an 
ethnographic paper of an 1870s period anthropologist who lived with the 
Pueblo Indians of New Mexico for several years.  He learned their 
language with great difficulty.  He found that their language has a 
similar structure to ancient Greek, and just as sophisticated.  . 

To give you some examples of structure and the expression of ideas.  I 
recall in a linguistic class, we were discussing one of the African 
tribal languages.  In tenses, we basically have past, present and 
future.  But this language was structured for distant, intermediate and 
near past, several kinds of present tense, we have nothing to compare 
to, and numerous future tenses.  Another example, in English we have the 
term "you" which can be used in second person singular or plural (unless 
you are from Texas, where "you all" is allowed :-) .   Otherwise, the 
listener has to figure from context which is meant.   Yet, I remember in 
studying Latin, the language allowed us to designate not only singular 
and plural, but the gender of the singular or plural, or in plural, 
whether it was a mixed gender.  In English we can speak to three men and 
say, "you guys" or three women and say "you gals."  What do we say for 
two men and a woman?  I ran across many things of that nature, where 
modern English was unable to accurately translate the meaning from the 
Latin without an explanatory footnote. 

>>The Egyptian tombs were 
>>sealed after the deceased was entombed.
>Are you certain?  Or is that what you were taught? 
We know this from written records.  The tombs were sealed to protect the 
treasures within them, and we closely watched.  During the great 
archaeological explorations of the nineteenth century, and ending with 
the spectacular finding of Tut's intact tomb, the archaeologists would 
come across sealed tombs only to find that they were broken into via 
tunnels dug to enter from the side etc.  Interestingly, the major thief 
at the time were the people who built the tombs in the first place.  We 
have written records of them being caught and tried. 

>Are you 
>referring to individual sarcophagi perhaps?  
No. The tombs in the Valley of the Kings, Armana and elsewhere.

>Not all tombs contained 
>their heiroglyphs solely on the inside, nor were they all 
>necessarily immediately sealed. 
Have you specific records of Egyptian tombs that we not sealed once the 
mummy was interred?

>Although we may perhaps today retain 
>the impression that you suggest, insofar as our interpretations of 
>history are often strained through the limititations of our own 
>present-day cultural experiences.  
As I say.  We have good written records about tomb making, including 
records of the day to day lives to the tomb makers preserved in little 
notes etc. scratched into pieces of wet clay. 

>Again, I am not restricting my 
>references to Egyptian tombs either.
I can only comment upon what you specifically identify.

>>Some have paintings, some do not. How do you interpret 
>>pictures?  Well, pictures are culturally bound.  If we understand the culture, then we can understand the pictures. 
>I suggest otherwise.  Even within those selfsame cultures, strings 
>of pictures may be interpreted any number of ways, even as strings 
>of words in a sentence may have multiple interpretations.  
Still I maintain that the meaning, whether of strings of pictures or 
strings or words, is culturally bound.

>And the pictures more flagrantly than the words.  Simply because two or more 
>people originate from the same culture, does not mean that the 
>images will be identically interpreted.  
Individual differences--fair enough.  Still, if they share the same 
culture, they share cultural meanings.

>Are you suggesting that the ancients did not engage in misinterpretations in their days?
Misinterpretation of some current glyph or story painting made by a 
member of their own tribe?  No. Not likely.

>Wars, as you mention, were common historical events which were 
>recorded in heiroglyph murals upon the walls, ect. within a king's 
>burial labyrinth.  Finally we have some point of agreement here.  
I believe that you inadvertently pasted together two sentence fragments 
of mine into a single one of a different meaning than I had intended.  
In Egypt, the records of the King's conquests were put on monuments in 
public places for all to see. 

>And even the divine mythologies of the ancients were accorded as 
>ancient history by their authors.  
Divine mythologies were treated in an entirely different way.  They were 
communicated by priests or bards.  Typically the sacred stories were 
ordered to be only told at certain times of the year.  Typically the 
most sacred stories were told in the winter.  Some stories were told to 
mixed audiences, some to children, some only to the men.  These 
generalizations were pretty universal, whether it be Native Americans, 
Greeks, Egyptians or Celtic tribes. 

>Heiroglyphs containing images of 
>ancient elder gods and goddesses were not mere make-believe, 
>fashioned after the manner of fantasaical metaphor, within the 
>context of the belief systems of the ancient theists.  They were 
>considered by the authors to be literal historical events.
There is a lot of discussion among Egyptologists regarding how the 
Ancient Egyptians understood their gods, and I doubt if many of these 
questions will ever be answered.  I don't think that the simplistic 
notion that the Egyptians (or even Greeks for that matter) regarded 
their myths as historical events is held by more than a few die hards of 
the Victorian world view.  Especially once you consider the very 
different way history and myth was handled by these ancient cultures.  
Among the Greeks, I think I earlier pointed out to you that they even 
has words to distinguish between them: Historia (history); Mythos 
(Myth); and Logos (a words of many meanings, but in this case, the basic 
facts free of interpretations).  

Have you ever carefully read Homer's Odyssey?  It is such a rich and 
complex work, which at the same time entertains (it is a comedy) yet 
teaches.  It would have been considered no more historical than 
Tolkein's Lord of the Rings would be considered historical today. 

>>Amazing statement.  The common wisdom is that story paintings were 
>>depictions of already extant oral traditions.
>This is true also.  But common sense would also assert the reverse.
Common sense also suggests to me that oral traditions preceded the 
"story paintings."

>>Who have you been reading 
>>that argues that oral traditions derived from paintings?
>Take the Bible as one example.  The Old Testament.  Temple 
>illustrations would be a common example of this.
What temple illustrations? 

>>This is an amazing scenario.  You are assuming that ancient people 
>>thought the same way that we do today.
>And you're projecting an assumption of your own, in that you believe 
>that I have made such an assumption.  Why do you believe that I 
>would assume this?  
Statements you have made over the past exchanges left me with this 
impression.  We had a discussion earlier where I had gone into some 
detail about how the notion of history has changed over the centuries, 
and is quite different now.   You did not agree at the time.  Perhaps 
you can clarify your position?

>Further, in what ways do you believe that the 
>teaching styles are different from today?  I have not referenced 
>that our primary teaching methods of today are extrapolations of 
>murals on walls.  I don't see the consistency in your reasoning.
It is the difference between orality and literacy.  The most famous 
treatment on this was done by Walter Ong (Orality and Literacy), and 
remains an important  classic.  All cultures begin in orality, and most 
have changed to one of literacy, once they adopted a written language, 
but not necessarily.  India, for instance, remained primarily an oral 
culture in spite the fact that they had more printed texts than any 
other culture, up to the time of the mechanical printing press.  The 
Greeks were still and oral culture during the time of Plato, though 
writing was becoming pretty extant.  One of the earliest literary 
cultures was Alexandria, though morality still had a powerful sway.  It 
wasn't until the European medieval period that the written word came to 
be held supreme. 

>>Sorry, but none of this hangs together.
>Quite a blanket statement to say the least.  You seem to have your 
>mind made up.
I simply concluded that your lengthy logical string did not hold 
together in my mind because of the numerous instances that I gave. 
Perhaps you will be able to answer these objections. In that case, I 
might be better able to better perceive the connections you are making.

>>Metaphor is a natural part of ancient cultures.
>And history is not? 
Metaphor is a linguistic element common to all ancient cultures that I 
know of.  History, as I explained above, has changed meaning.  To the 
Greeks, "historia" meant an inquiry--not a narrative of past events.  
What we now call history would better fit the Greek term: logos--but 
even then different from our modern notions of history. Again, mythology 
was the precinct of priests and bards.  Accounts of wars won and public 
works built were recorded on public monuments commissioned by the 
rulers.  One is sacred, the other secular.  One is logos: the other is 

> I suggest that the two are not in strict 
>opposition to each other.  Rather, they intertwine together.
I'm guessing that you mean here mythology and history (as opposed to 
metaphor and history, which would not make any sense to me).  I am 
saying that they were clearly differentiated and handled in different 
ways, as I described above.  However, you have no doubt noticed that 
often the names of real people and places whom and which were commonly 
known to the people were used in mythologies.  This was done as a 
literary device--not to communicate history.  For instance, one could 
compose a modern story about Hitler marching into Hell and outsmarting 
the Devil and threatens to do more evil on earth.  Because I chose 
Hitler, this story would have an obvious special meaning that would not 
be there if I had chosen, say,  John William Smith.  In other cases in 
mythology, the names themselves were suggestive.  In more near modern 
times, we borrowed this literary device.   For instance, in a dramatic 
story of a battle between Dishonest John and Dudley Doright, I don't 
think even a child or five would have any problem distinguishing by the 
names alone, who is the "good" guy and who is the "bad."  There are many 
other literary elements  which make history and mythology (logos and 
mythos) easy to distinguish.  If you are really interested, at a later 
time, we can go through some of them. 

So, the distinctions between history and mythology were clear (at least) 
in ancient Mediterranean cultures, were still clear to the educated 
during the classical periods under Roman occupation, and did not become 
completely confused until around the late fifth of early sixth 
centuries.  There are clear reasons for this change, but I will save 
that for a later discussion--if you are interested.

>>Based upon what you have written so far, you must believe that the Egyptians, for instance, really believed that their god and goddesses literally had human bodies and animal heads!
>That is partially correct, but you're getting a bit overly-
>simplistic here.  Your apparent assumption is that the Egyptians 
>simply envisioned the head of an animal and the body of a human 
>being (or vice versa), and attached the two of them together as some 
>descriptive form of metaphor.  But such an assumption is entirely 
>incorrect, and merely serves to reflect a metaphysically 
>unenlightened interpretation of the historical records, at least 
>regarding this particular matter.
>In reality, what the Egyptians (among many other cultures) were 
>attempting to communicate, through the use of icons and idols, was 
>that the archonic species of the astral planes, whom they worshipped 
>and encountered, were a mixture of man and beast.  These icons were 
>then used as visual focal points for meditation periods, wherein 
>religionists would attempt to commune with their goddesses and 
If you were talking about the Aztec culture, there is a lot of clear 
evidence that many of their entities were beings in astral realms. We 
even know quite a lot about their visionary practices.  For Egypt it 
isn't so clear and there is quite a spectrum of opinion on the matter.  
Yours may even be represented somewhere.  I can't say that your idea is 
correct or incorrect.  I can say that based upon what I understand about 
Egyptian religion, your idea leaves too many loose strings for my 

>Christians would refer to these goddesses and gods 
>as 'demons'.  (Even today, Roman Catholics use similar icons as 
>meditative focal points to commune with 'GOD' through departed 
>saints, although they aim for a higher spiritual realm.)
As did the Jews.  Their god was God, and everyone elses gods and 
goddesses were demons.

>I have directly encountered such hybrids myself, amidst my own 
>astral experiences.  

>You have referenced prior that you believe such 
>metaphysical experiences to be inherently dangerous, and so you 
>allowed fear to get the best of you at that time.  
Perhaps you have confused me with someone else.  I had previously stated 
that I have had natural abilities since childhood.  They were not the 
result of any practices.  My mother had the same abilities, and my 
father also, but of a different nature.  Also, my mother's mother.  I 
did not know my father's family.  So, we did not attach any special 
value to these phenomena.  I also told you that I have had many visions, 
so the experiences you have so briefly described are already very 
familiar to me.  I did, however, warn you that getting too carried away 
with these things is, in my opinion, dangerous.  You seem to have caught 
my meaning, so I let it drop with no further comment.  Also, out of 
regard for a hint of defensiveness which I (rightly or wrongly sensed) I 
let the entire discussion concerning spiritual practices drop. 

>You will not discern this knowledge yourself through the reading of history 
>books, for they are metaphysical in nature.  I suggest that you do 
>not limit yourself to such finite resources in this regard.
My sources are many, and not limited to books. 

>I believe that you are in error, insofar as you are merely projecting your own cultural colorizations upon the historical records.
Whether my opinions are errors or not, they are based upon years of 
study of comparative religions, cultures,  and literature of cultures 

=== message truncated ===

New Yahoo! Messenger with Voice. Call regular phones from your PC and save big.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application