October 25, 2010 Leave a comment
I started watching a documentary about ventriloquism over the weekend. This is not a topic that often comes up. Then last night, we were watching a 2nd-season episode of Dollhouse and there was some mention of ventriloquism. Even just that much already felt like synchronicity. Then this morning, I discover in my email inbox that wordsmith.org‘s word of the day is — wait for it — ventriloquism.
What feels even more dominant as a new theme is Ancient Egypt. Our family book right now is Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos, which, despite being in the middle of it, I can’t recommend highly enough. I wish I’d read books like this when I was a kid (or had such books read to me, since I didn’t really read until I was a teenager).
Just in time for my family’s new obsession, the British Museum is holding an exhibition on the The Book of the Dead:
Among all the varied ideas contained in The Book of the Dead manuscripts there is no sense anywhere that the scribes were setting down history for posterity. Neither is there, Taylor says, any striving for objectivity in the way sentiments are expressed. Instead, the papyri are a practical piece of political and spiritual spinning, a means to an end delivered at an agreed price.
And yet because these papyri deal with fear and death and hope, they cannot help but provide an immensely absorbing window into the minds and emotions of an ancient society. Their images and hieroglyphs, known to every schoolchild, have now become the emblem of all that is mysterious to us about this remote culture. Yet the study of the complex transformation the ancient Egyptians hoped they would undergo in death is oddly humanising. In their imaginative scheme to defeat mortality and to be reunited with lost members of their family, they are somehow almost recognisable.