Posts Tagged ‘pharaoh is the joker’

ALICE and YUYA, the HOLY GRAIL and WE

April 29, 2013

Pharaoh is the Joker

Excerpt: ALL OF A KEY, an unpublished novel:  (Scene: Seniors Alice  and Lou and Twenty-something Charlie tour Cairo Museum)

The ground floor entrance of Cairo Museum was dominated by a statue of Queen Tiye seated beside her husband, Amenhotep III, in a huge composition seven meters high and five meters wide.

“For the first time in Egyptian history,” Alice said, “the queen is shown the same size as the king.  She was a commoner.  Her father, Yuya, was her husband’s chief vizier, as he had been for his father, Tuthmosis IV.  We’re going to see Yuya today.”

“He would be important, why?” Lou asked, fumbling with his folding map guide to the exhibit halls.

“The Exodus may have occurred at several different times and places, and a great deal of money and faith has been expended to ‘prove’ each of them.  Each has its merits and advocates, each its flaws and detractors.  What is incontrovertible is that a Semitic tribe co-mingled with the Egyptian pharaonic family, fell afoul of orthodox Egyptian authorities, left or fled Egypt, looting as much of the place as possible as they went, setting up a religious opposition and a separate organization that not only challenged Egyptian traditions, but declared a ‘special,’ ‘separate,’ and ‘supreme,’ relationship and claim to the only true god.”

“God,” Lou agreed.

“Inventing different versions of the same truth, denying common roots, and claiming sovereignty over the myth has been criminally disruptive.  Akhenaten and his Habiru-Shasu shepherd henchmen were power-obsessed manipulators, breaking the peace and harmony of the world for personal gain.”

“Selfish bastards,” Lou agreed.  “Let me get this straight, you’re talkin’ about Joseph and Moses and those guys, right?”

“I’m talking about a particularly garbled tract of proto-history, beginning with the Story of Joseph in what is referred to as the first book of the Old Testament in the compendium called collectively the Holy Bible.”

“Oh,” Lou said.

“Scholars agree,” Alice continued, “that the Joseph Story was an original narration put down in writing in the 9th Century B.C. and is thought to be the Judah-Israel version.  A second story came a century later, the Reuben-Jacob version.  The story in Genesis is mainly from the two sources, however, priests returning from the Babylonian exile arranged the sources, and added details: Joseph’s age (30) at time of Pharaoh’s elevation, the number of the tribe of Israel that went down into Egypt (70), the length of the sojourn (430 years), and Joseph’s request to be buried in Canaan.  Then, an editor, sometime before the second century B.C. took on the task of making one story from the three sources, and added the section on Joseph’s death and his request to be reburied in Canaan on his own initiative, or orders.”

Lou looked at her blankly.

“People believe a cobbled, fiddled myth,” she said.  “We must go to its roots to see the truth, which should prevail.  However, our self-deception and self-aggrandizement overpower facts with inventions suiting our basest desires for certainty and dominance.”

“Yeah, but so what?” Lou disagreed.  “Guy got lucky, huh?”

Charlie laughed.

“Okay, Alice,” Lou said, “men wrote the Talmud and the Bible…”

“…and the Koran,” she said.

“…and the Koran, but refute this: they also made the mistakes – not God.  God had to use several men until we correctly reconstructed what happened.”

“With another man to pronounce the trail ended.  Neatly bent,” she complimented.  “First rate religious counterpoint to reason.  That’s just the trouble, isn’t it?  Religious people see what they’ve taught themselves to believe and deny any exception on the grounds of deviltry and perdition.

“Muhammad is the descendent of another of Abraham’s sons,” Alice continued.  “Ishmael out of Hagar, Sarah (Sarai’s) Egyptian maid.  Muhammad was born in Mecca in A.D. 570, eighteen centuries after Exodus.  He started his mission at age 40 or so, preaching to Arab idolaters the ‘true faith’: Islam, the monotheistic Hanif religion of his remote ancestor Abraham.  Hanif is the Islamic word for someone who believes in one God, but is not a Jew, a Christian, or a worshipper of idols.

“Significantly,” Alice said, “the Koran agrees with the Judah-Israel and Reuben-Jacob versions of the story, but ends there, making no connection to the later priestly and editor’s additions.  This reinforces the conviction that the original story is in the first two sources, before it was given shape, or included Joseph’s reburial in Canaan.  It helps convince me that he never left Egypt.”

“So, where’d he go?” Lou scoffed.

“He’s in Room Number 12 according to the floor map,” she replied.  “I like what I understand of the ancient Egyptian concept of our relation to god.  God created all out of thought and word.  Everything is part of god.  The million gods are one; all creation, everything, is part of the whole.  Hence, the world went out of balance when the Akhenaten-Moses megalomaniac took his god out of Egypt and set him up separate above everything else in the world.  It would be good for all of us, if we recognized and nourished the roots instead of losing ourselves in the branches.  Of course, anything is possible, Lou, but let’s have a look at this particular mummy.  I really believe it’s  your Joseph.”

Yuya had a long thin dignified face, almost alive, wearing a calm confident expression.  The position of his hands was striking.  They were normally placed over the chest in the Osirian position, but here, in the only example Alice had ever seen, the palms were down just under the chin, as if giving reverence, not to the gods, but to himself.

Unusually, his ears were unpierced.  His strong, aquiline features and hooked nose immediately suggested foreign, possibly Semitic origin.  His white hair and aged appearance indicated that he was at least sixty years old when he died.

“Commanding figure,” Lou admitted.  “Lot of character in that face: full, strong lips, prominent determined jaw.  He could wake right up.  Wow!  What an embalming job.”

“He’s the originator of the great religious movement that his daughter and grandson carried into execution.”

“Come on, he could be Syrian, or anything.  You don’t know he’s Moses.”

“He is Yuya, father of Tiye, whom Amenhotep III made his Great Royal Wife. Their son, Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) married his cousin, Nefertiti, Yuya’s grand daughter by his son Aye.  Akhenaten closed the temples, banned the ancient gods of Egypt, and established a monotheistic God, like the God of Israel, with himself as high priest.  I believe he can be linked to Moses, or rather to the mythological stereotype we know as ‘Moses.’”

Looking at the well-preserved features, Lou thought that Yuya did have the face of an ecclesiastic; there was something around the mouth.

“I have in my files at home,” Alice said, “a photocopy of Yuya’s titles, taken from the book written in 1907 by Theodore M. Davis.  One of them was it ntr n nb tawi, “the holy father of the Lord of the Two Lands”, and not just the common semi-priestly it ntr, “the father of the god”.  That certainly sounds like a blood relation, doesn’t it?  If we’re ever to get the truth, this is a good reason for re-examination.”

“To what end, Alice?” Charlie asked.

“All three religions revere Joseph,” she replied.  “If this is he…”

“They’ll kill each other to get him,” Charlie said.  “Best to let the poor beggar lie.  If that’s your Joseph, or anyone else’s, he didn’t get to Canaan, but he looks content.  Let’s not trouble his rest.”

Lou laughed and nodded.  Alice took a few notes and made a sketch from which she would later do an ink painting.  Yuya’s profile was particularly interesting, she thought.  He’s not Syrian.

Yuya, "Holy Father of the Lord of the Two Lands"

Yuya, “Holy Father of the Lord of the Two Lands”

PARTIAL SOURCES:

Moses the Egyptian, Jan Assmann, the memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism.  Harvard University Press. The author is Professor of Egyptology at the University of Heidelberg. A brilliant study by a world-renowned specialist.

Hebrew Pharaohs of Egypt, Ahmed Osman, the secret lineage of the Patriarch Joseph.  Bear & Company.  Cairo-born author presents results of twenty-two years writing and research.

Pastiche Der Nibelungen.

BEYOND DAN BROWN: The DeVinci Load. 

The so-called Holy Grail is the object of legendary quest for Arthurian knights and may be a “wide-mouthed or shallow vessel,” although its precise etymology (in the true literal sense of the word) remains uncertain, and small wonder.

The Grail was probably inspired by classical or Celtic mythologies, which abound in horns of plenty, magic life-restoring caldrons, and the like.  In Finland, the pre-Christian Kalevala features the sampo, which might be a pillar that holds up the sky, or a mill to produce salt, meal and gold, or a talisman of happiness and prosperity.  Take your pick.

The first extant text (or more aptly invention) about the Grail is Chrétien de Troyes’ late 12th century unfinished romance Parceval or Le Conte du Graal, which combined the religious with the fantastic.  In the 13th century Robert de Borron’s poem extended the Christian significance of the legend, linking the Grail with Christ’s cup at the Last Supper and with Joseph of Aramea whom he said used it to catch Jesus’ blood as he hung on the cross.  In the same century, Wolfram von Esenbach’s Parzival gave the Grail profound and mystical expression as a precious stone fallen from Heaven (sampo, anyone?).  Malory’s late 15th century Le Morte D’Arthur transmitted the fanciful Grail essence to English-speaking readers.

In the story-telling invention, the quest itself became a search for mystical union with God.  Through various permutations by many different writers over several hundreds of years, the Grail theme formed a culminating point for the Arthurian romance.  It’s a good story device; it doesn’t really matter what it really is, as long as it stands for truth, justice and the “right” way.  Its physical presence is just like the True Cross, Longinus’ Spear, St. Michael’s pickled peritoneum, or any other “holy” relic: e.g. entrepreneurs started fabricating bits of the true cross as soon as they noticed a market for it; as we’ve seen from Holy Blood, Holy Grail, the DeVinci Code, and Newsweek, people are still making big bucks selling new baubles to hang on the old artificial tree, which is patently, the Grail’s only real value.  When you get right down to it, it’s buying a box of air, isn’t it?  That’s the way faith works, so have fun with the storyline.

Incidentally, Christ is the Greek Chrestos – a mystery cult popular with the poor and lower middle class of the 1st century C.E.  Self-proclaimed “Apostle” Paul of Tarsus cobbled Chrestos with the historical Jesus movement as a sales package for Gentiles (infuriating the Jesus movement because he co-opted and lied about their guy; of such petty human foibles are great religious movements conceived), but that’s another story.

REVERY:

We’ve come a long way, you and I.  Thousands upon thousands of light years, and yet we’re still far short of our destination.  Where were we going anyway?  Haven’t we already been there?  The universe is a big round circle in a dimension so large that we poor mites cannot see the curve.  It looks like a straight line to us, but so does time, and time is a repetition of itself, always telling us the same thing.  As each generation is born, the next arises, and each of those, and all of those billions more, grows by the same learning process, through the same biology, give or take a tenth of a percent of one gene, which seems to specify skin tone and what we call racial differences.  It’s the same as classifying men by the size of their nipples and finally as insignificant.

We all begin as fertilized eggs.  We are one with the chicken and the salamander, fish and spider.

There is not one atom within us that is remarkable for being unique.  There is nothing unique in the universe, except individual discovery.

LINK WORTH VIEWING:

Washington Diarist by Leon Wieseltier, Accommodationism:  “One of the most troublesome qualities of reason is that it is not always reasonable.”

http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=cf4e433c-60bd-4184-abc3-fc372c7f8304

Little King Rides Again.

Little King Rides Again.

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PEASANTS and MASTERS

July 21, 2010

Image and Ambition

ORGANIZED IRRESPONSIBILITY

We need to chase the money lenders and other riff-raff from the temple again.  The corruption in Washington resonates through our whole society.  Political corruption is one aspect of a more general immorality. If we want to tackle it, we have to understand how it works.

Sober, personal virtues of honesty, willpower, honor, and high-mindedness have given way to “the most important single factor, the effective personality,” which “commands attention by charm,” and “radiates self-confidence.” George W. Bush is a prime example of the phenomenon; Sarah Palin is another. Personal relations – image, in short – have become part of public relations, a sacrifice of selfhood on a personality market, to the sole end of individual success in the corporate way of life.

In the corporate era, economic relations are impersonal – and executives feel little personal responsibility (witness NAFTA, GATT and the WTO). Within the corporate worlds of business, war making and politics, the private conscience is attenuated and immorality is institutionalized. Many of the problems of white-collar crime and of relaxed public morality, of high-priced vice and fading personal integrity, are problems of this structural immorality. Its acceptance is an essential feature of our mass society.

In economic and political institutions the corporate rich now wield enormous power, but they have never had to win the moral consent of those over whom they hold this power. The general immorality, the general weakening of older values, and the organization of irresponsibility have not involved public crisis; they result from creeping indifference and a silent hollowing out.

The images of the powerful that prevail are of the elite as celebrities. They share it with the frivolous or sultry creatures of the world of celebrity, which is a dazzling blind of their true power.

Two things are needed in a democracy: articulate and knowledgeable publics, and political leaders who, if not men of reason, are at least reasonably responsible to such knowledgeable publics as exist. Such a public and such leaders – either of power or of knowledge – do not now prevail, and knowledge does not now have democratic relevance in America.

The lack of knowledge as an experience among the elite ties in with the malign tendency of the expert, not only as fact but also as legitimization. Our national debate has become timid. The tyranny of experts disguises our true best interest. The trend has been abdication of debate and the collapse of opposition under the easy slogan of bipartisanship. Public relations displace reasoned argument; manipulation and undebated decisions of power replace democratic authority.

Status, no longer rooted in local communities, follows the big hierarchies. Status follows big money, even if it has a touch of the gangster. Status follows power, even if it be without background. Below, in the mass society, old moral and traditional barriers to status break down and Americans look to standards of excellence above them, to model themselves and judge self-esteem.

Those in the higher circles are not truly representative; their high position is not a result of moral virtue. They sit in the seats of the high and the mighty selected and formed by the means of power, the sources of wealth, and the mechanics of celebrity. They are not shaped by nationally responsible parties that debate openly and clearly the issues this nation now so unintelligently confronts. They are not held in check by a plurality of voluntary associations, which connect debating publics with the pinnacles of decision. Commanders of power unequalled in history, they have succeeded within the American system of organized irresponsibility.

PEASANTS and MASTERS

 University of Wisconsin law professor Joel Rogers says, “Public opinion in the United States is conventionally mapped on a liberal-conservative axis understood to run from government do-gooders without values on one end to free marketeering rich people without hearts at the other end. Most people in America place themselves in the middle. They don’t find either end particularly attractive. Today, the fight isn’t really between liberals and conservatives but between the workers/consumers/citizens who actually want the economy to reflect our values and those who want to keep things the way they are with a few irresponsible corporations running the country for their own benefit. In that fight we can win. It’s our country. Let’s run it for the people.”

We cannot make minor process changes, but must deal with the value system, which powers our economic engine to the divorce of all other concerns. Social Darwinism supposedly died after striking U.S. Steel workers were murdered by union-busting toughs while Andrew Carnegie played golf in Scotland. Carnegie turned a blind eye to what his managers were doing at the Homestead Mines. It seemed good business to lower labor costs. It got out of hand. Carnegie learned that individual action, even when the most rational and best for the individual or stockholders, may be a terrible disaster for other individuals.

The only way to resolve the problem is to:

GO STRAIGHT AT THEM

I reluctantly support the President.  If we want positive change in America, he’s the man we should back.  He comes nearest to my own philosophy and that of people I respect and care about most.  However, I feel he is being “reasonable” with his opposition to the point of timidity, if not self-deception.  What should he do?

  • Go straight at them.
  • Eschew any advice from Wall Street chameleon Robert Rubin and his clones who brought us NAFTA, GATT and WTO, and mentored Clinton, Bush, and now Obama with the same advice that created the present fiscal disaster.  Prosecute Goldman Sachs for their very real thefts and confidence rackets.
  • Speak Keynesian economics again. Emphasize we the people, public issues, community, human rights, common sense, and the common good; not the bottomline for a gaggle of avaricious stockholders.  Practice economics as if PEOPLE mattered.
  • Seek new, innovative solutions – not stock reprises of old routines; that’s the pattern of alcoholics and addicts.
  • Make Corporations pay their fair share to support the system that enabled their success; stop treating them as “individuals” in the legal system; hold executives and stock holders personally accountable for their corporate actions.
  • Protect the planet.  JOB ONE.  Everything else is subordinate in priority. 
  • Educate the children – dump top-heavy, discriminatory Trojan Horse Standards obstacles; eliminate public subsidies (vouchers) for boondoggle separatist, religionist, preferential, and elitist “home” schooling; insist upon a democratic public education, scholarship, and scientific rationalism.
  • Call the generation to service: “Let’s get our hands on these problems and solve them.  We can do it, if we stop procrastinating and move on.”
  • Tell Republicans they can worry about haircuts, dirty words, and hurting people by making money from wage slavery, exploitation, lies and violence.  The rest of us will go to work to end two disastrous wars and fix the nation’s now critical issues: environment, health care, and the economy (thanks to years of flagrant and cynical Republican corporatist neoconservative neglect, abuse, misuse, cynicism, and outright unabashed destruction).

We can’t let the Republican monarchists kill the real American dream: freedom and a better life for all our people, children, posterity, and not just ourselves.

We’re not in this life for the next quarterly report, we’re here to build a lasting rule of law that we can be proud of again; and that means saving it from the Republican cabal that brought us this fiasco, before it collapses us in an economy of chaos and death, as they smugly profit off our bones.

How’d that be?  I’d like it fine.  And, we need to dump the Bluedog Democrats and give President Barak Obama an overwhelming progressive majority in both houses of congress, too, or we will spend generations suffering from the harm of the Bushies and their corporate neocon masters.

If it will be done, it must be done soon, or I fear it will not be done at all (although the planet will outlive us, barren as the moon, perhaps). 

PRESIDENT PHARAOH

G.W. Bush’s recent efforts to rewrite his history remind me of Ramses the Great (pharaoh of the biblical exodus, if you believe). He is called “great” because he managed to live longer than any other pharaoh and used the time to build more monuments to himself than all his predecessors and successors combined. He had a factory that just turned out busts of his head so that he could knock the heads off other pharaohs’ statues and put his in their place; thus, half the monuments in the Nile Valley are his. He advertised himself shamelessly: painting and carving the story of the Battle of Kadesh on every wall and pillar in sight. Kadesh was not even a draw and Rameses quickly signed a peace treaty with the victorious Hittite King, and went back to Egypt. He nearly got himself killed and almost lost his army due to egotistical rash actions as an inexperienced military leader, but he declared victory from near defeat, and covered up the fact that he came precious close to losing the farm – not just for himself, but for the whole kingdom of Egypt. And that’s why G.W. Bush’s recent rewrite of his history reminds me of Ramses the Great, pharaoh of the biblical exodus, if you believe. G.W. became president of the United States by the skin of his teeth and the lies on his lips: the same way Ramses II became “Great.”

 

Site of the First Chrysler Factory

 

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