Monday, January 18, 2010

"It's Not What it Looks Like"

One of the countless mysteries of ancient Egyptians is how they were able to create elaborate works of art in underground tombs and temples without any substantial evidence of the use of torches or lamps during their creation. Some orthodox Egyptologists suggested that a complex system of mirrors were used to reflect light from the surface and through the labyrinthian tunnels, but attempts to duplicate that effect have failed.

Then there is this famous (or infamous) frieze from a deep, small and hard to access chamber in Denderah, showing what looks (at least to those not at risk of being blacklisted by the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry) like a giant light fixture, complete with bulb, filament, socket, and even a cord attached to a generator, with the enigmatic Djed pillar acting as a stand for the oversized bulb.

But wait- it's not what it looks like.

Egyptologists have argued with this interpretation, pointing out that the filament is a snake and the socket is a lotus flower and the cord has nothing to do with electricity.

Well, that settles that, right?

I mean, Egyptian art was entirely devoid of symbolism, right? When it comes to strict, utilitarian design principles, the Egyptians give the Bauhaus movement a run for their money. They would never, ever incorporate design motifs taken from the natural world into their tools or furnishings.


And they never used correspondences from nature to describe scientific concepts.

Look at this bed, for instance. Look at those clean, sleek, geometric lines- the lack of texture and extraneous ornamentation. Who could possibly believe that these people would depict an active electric filament as a coiling snake?

And the lotus flower- it's as obvious as the nose on your face. After all, no one....

...has ever used floral motifs...
...when designing a light fixture.

Especially a lotus.
This is a symbol of the sun, of creation and rebirth. Because at night the flower closes and sinks underwater, at dawn it rises and opens again.

The generator? Now that's just a box on which Horus sits, supporting that shape that's not a bulb.

You know- Horus, the god of...umm...light.
He was a god of light. His eyes represented the sun and the moon. He was also the brother of Osiris and Seth. Sometimes he was the son, or the husband of Hathor.
And that cable attached to the not-generator? That's the Solar barge traveling across the sky.

Who could possibly interpret that as an electric cable, through which energy travels to an electric light fixture?

Sun, light- crazy talk. No connection whatsoever. Who believes this stuff? Especially when you find it all in a deep underground chamber?

Never mind the fact that the lotus, Horus and the barge trail were all symbols of light.

No possible connection to a light-bulb at all.

OK, enough of that.

You know, I had this idea for a cartoon in the old 60s Playboy style. A guy comes home from work and finds his wife in their bed with a girl, two guys, a sheep, and a Yeti in bondage gear. They're all on a tarpulin coated in canola oil and littered with sex toys, and there's hardcore clownporn playing on the giant screen TV. The punchline?

"It's not what it looks like."

The joke is only slightly less stupid than some of the attacks you see leveled against independent researchers questioning the officially-held version of ancient history. After all, there is compelling physical evidence of outlying technology in the ancient world (as well as anecdotal evidence such as the Ark of the Covenant).

Reasonable people can disagree on these issues, but the firestorm of scorn and ridicule that arises whenever questions are raised indicates a distinct lack of confidence in the so-called 'orthodox' explanations. It leads me to wonder how fragile the old Victorian-era 'certainties' have become.