lördag 12 december 2009

While the Egyptians were obsessed with the after-life, the Iranians were preoccupied with the here and now of everyday life...

Dear Friends

Reading Peter Sloterdijk's excellent little book "Derrida, an Egyptian" and being reminded of Sigmund Freud's classic work "Moses and Monotheism", it strikes me that the easiest way to find out what PRIORITIES a culture truly has is of course to turn to archeology rather than arguing about texts back and forth all day long.
And this is the striking difference: Of the two dominant original LITERARY cultures of the Middle East, and the two cultures that can both lay claim to the invention of monotheism, it was the Egyptians who were obsessed with the after-life, building pyramids and nurturing an obsession with DUALISM. The Iranians, by comparison, spent little or no time and energy on the after-life (regarding it as irrelevant, non-existent or at least of no concern to life's main priorities) but rather spent their time and energy on the here and now of everyday life. Consequently, it was a lot more convenient for Iranians to view existence as a product of monism rather than dualism. Their eagerness to be mentally constructive was NOT meant as a preparation for judgment day (in that case, they would only have thought of good deeds, while the equally important good thoughts and good words would have counted for nothing, just as it did in Egypt, Babylon and Palestine) but rather was seen as PART of everyday life. Consequently, they were monists, nothing else would have made any sense.

Archeology is the ultimate provider of evidence on these matters. So what are the bricks and stones telling us?


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