What makes the subject of history so compelling is the sense of unity – and also likeness – between the past and the present. The ‘humanness’ that provides a channel of similarity between people who live in 2011 and those who lived in 1786 or 1044 or even 2000 B.C.
The fact that humans 3000 years ago needed to go to the ‘bathroom’ and we do as well.
That people, back then, were hungry and some people – I dare say a lot of people – are hungry right now.
At present, no-one mummifies the dead and pulls brains out in an icky way. We don’t build giant sandy coloured monoliths designed for the “afterlife,” begging or trapping our friends/servants/cat into coming with us, too. (Generally speaking.)
Generally, we don’t save up our finest oils and cleanest grains, best wines and softest silks until we die. We don’t hoard our most precious possessions or deny ourselves our other people our belongings, choosing instead to “save” everything for one glorious long-anticipated time.
Or do we?
Are we not dissimilar, some of us, to our Ancient Egyptian counterparts in some aspects: save, save, save; store, store, store, for the ‘afterlife?’ Or some consummate moment of unknown time?
To not use – and share around some of – life’s provisions while here “on earth;” to store and store and trade shares and properties and slick plastic, bypassing generosity or just living life in a way that is bent on just accumulating for an afterlife – is this not unlike the forementioned civilisation?
Slowly, slowly some of us inch along through life and the end-goal is clear. Almost tangible like it was for the Ancient Egyptians: “I will live life one day but now’s not the time.”
“Yeah, I don’t have time for you right now but come see me in my pyramid when I’m heading to the afterlife. I’ve got lots of gold and good wine stored up for this occasion!” Pause. “Autumn is probably the nicest time to come.”
Sometimes we are so goal-committed, obsessed with the final destination that we mistake our priorities. If we ignored everyone else; everything else and the immediacy of life and just dedicated our existence to building monoliths, we probably would … become quite selfish. Or even more selfish: “My giant rock is better than yours!” Or, “Yours is a poor man’s pyramid, hardly fit for a barbeque let alone eternity!” We’d become, with respect, silly: people all dressed up (gauze would be the new black) with nowhere to go.
Don’t misunderstand me: I have the highest respect for the Ancient Egyptian civilisation and their intelligent and innovative practises.
I wish to beg this question, however… The Ancient Egyptians were focussed towards their afterlives and that was a driving force if not the predominant one, of their entire existence.
Exploring what life really is and what/where/how (said in other words:”What’s the deal, yo?” and such questions is a provocative matter that any humanoid-type person (that’s everyone) will surely contemplate at some point in their lives.
What was remains dubious about the Ancient Egyptians’ theories and remains in our own society today is this question:
Is it possible to take your treasure with you, like the Ancient Egyptians believed?