|A visual of the slide of the seven-part "Egyptian human" model taught to the children of the 2015 Zerotheism for Kids class by Libb Thims.|
“In the interval which elapsed between the period of the prehistoric burials and the IVth dynasty, the Egyptian formulated certain theories about the component parts of his own body, and we must consider these briefly before we can describe the form in which the dead were believed to rise.
1. The physical body of a man was called Khat, a word which indicates something in which decay is inherent; it was this which was buried in the tomb after mummification, and its preservation from destruction of every kind was the object of all amulets, magical ceremonies, prayers, and formulae, from the earliest to the latest times. The god Osiris even possessed such a body, and its various members were preserved as relics in several shrines in Egypt.
2. Attached to the body in some remarkable way was the Ka, or "double," of a man; it may be defined as an abstract individuality or personality which was endowed with all his characteristic attributes, and it possessed an absolutely independent existence. It was free to move from place to place upon earth at will, and it could enter heaven and hold converse with the gods. The offerings made in the tombs at all periods were intended for the nourishment of the Ka, and it was supposed to be able to eat and drink and to enjoy the odour of incense. In the earliest times a certain portion of the tomb was set apart for the use of the Ka, and the religious organization of the period ordered that a class of priests should perform ceremonies and recite prayers at stated seasons for the benefit of the Ka in the Ka chapel; these men were known as "ka priests." In the period when the pyramids were built it was firmly believed that the deceased, in some form, was able to be purified, and to sit down and to eat bread with it "unceasingly and for ever;" and the Ka who was not supplied with a sufficiency of food in the shape of offerings of bread, cakes, flowers, fruit, wine, ale, and the like, was in serious danger of starvation.
3. The soul was called Ba, and the ideas which the Egyptians held concerning it are somewhat difficult to reconcile; the meaning of the word seems to be something like "sublime," "noble," "mighty." The Ba dwelt in the Ka, and seems to have had the power of becoming corporeal or incorporeal at will; it had both substance and form, and is frequently depicted on the papyri and monuments as a human-headed hawk ; in nature and substance it is stated to be ethereal. It had the power to leave the tomb, and to pass up into heaven where it was believed to enjoy an eternal existence in a state of glory; it could, however, and did, revisit the body in the tomb, and from certain texts it seems that it could re-animate it and hold converse with it.
4. Like the heart Ab it was, in some respects, the seat of life in man. The souls of the blessed dead dwelt in heaven with the gods, and they partook of all the celestial enjoyments for ever.
5. The spiritual intelligence, or spirit, of a man was called Khu, and it seems to have taken form as a shining, luminous, intangible shape of the body; the thus formed a class of celestial beings who lived with the gods, but their functions are not clear. The Khu, like the Ka, could be imprisoned in the tomb, and to obviate this catastrophe special formulae were composed and duly recited.
6. Besides the Khu another very important part of a man's entity went into heaven, namely, his Sekhem. The word literally means "to have the mastery over something," and, as used in the early texts, that which enables one to have the mastery over something, i.e., "power." The Sekhem of a man was, apparently, his vital force or strength personified, and the Egyptians believed that it could and did, under certain conditions, follow him that possessed it upon earth into heaven.
7. Another part of a man was the Khaibit or "shadow," which is frequently mentioned in connexion with the soul and, in late times, was always thought to be near it;
8. Finally we may mention the rent, or "name" of a man, as one of his most important constituent parts. The Egyptians, in common with all Eastern nations, attached the greatest importance to the preservation of the name, and any person who effected the blotting out of a man's name was thought to have destroyed him also. Like the Ka it was a portion of a man's most special identity, and it is easy to see why so much importance grew to be attached to it; a nameless being could not be introduced to the gods, and as no created thing exists without a name the man who had no name was in a worse position before the divine powers than the feeblest inanimate object. To perpetuate the name of a father was a good son's duty, and to keep the tombs of the dead in good repair so that all might read the names of those who were buried in them was a most meritorious act. On the other hand, if the deceased knew the names of divine beings, whether friends or foes, and could pronounce them, he at once obtained power over them, and was able to make them perform his will.
We have seen that the entity of a man consisted of body, double, soul, heart, spiritual intelligence or spirit, power, shadow, and name. These eight parts may be reduced to three [body, soul, spirit] by leaving out of consideration the double, heart, power, shadow and name as representing beliefs which were produced by the Egyptian as he was slowly ascending the scale of civilization, and as being the peculiar product of his race; we may then say that a man consisted of body, soul, and spirit. But did all three rise, and live in the world beyond the grave? The Egyptian texts answer this question definitely; the soul and the spirit of the righteous passed from the body and lived with the beatified and the gods in heaven; but the physical body did not rise again, and it was believed never to leave the tomb. There were ignorant people in Egypt who, no doubt, believed in the resurrection of the corruptible body, and who imagined that the new life would be, after all, something very much like a continuation of that which they were living in this world; but the Egyptian who followed the teaching of his sacred writings knew that such beliefs were not consistent with the views of their priests and of educated people in general.
“For the Egyptians, the soul was composed of five parts: the ib (or heart), the ba (personality), the ka (vital essence), the sheut (shadow), and the ren (secret name).”
|An hand-written objection, by a UIC bioengineering thermodynamics student, to the premise, outlined in lecture by Libb Thims (2010), of chemical thermodynamics being applied to the explanation of the human social interactions, per reason that mind and "soul", the modern variant of the Egyptian human Ba, are outside of the domain of thermodynamics, or something to this effect. |
“No self-respecting professor of philosophy wants to discuss the soul in class. It reeks of old-time theology, or, worse, new age quantum treacle. The soul has been a dead end in philosophy ever since the positivists unmasked its empty referential center. Scientific philosophy has shown us that there's no there there. But make no mistake, our students are very interested in the soul. In fact, that is the main reason many of us won't raise the soul issue in our classes: The bizarre, speculative, spooky metaphysics that pours out of students, once the box has been opened, is truly chaotic and depressing. The class is a tinderbox of weird pet theories—divine vapors, god particles, reincarnation, astral projections, auras, ghosts—and mere mention of the soul is like a spark that sets off dozens of combustions. Trying to put out all these fires with calm, cool rationality is exhausting and unsuccessful.”