> This has been bothering me for a while.
> I never thought of animals as "unthinking" so when
> you proposed ancients didn't think I had a
> knee-jerk reaction to disagree. But, in a sense
> it's probably true ancient people didn't "think".
> Certainly from their perspective there was no
> "thought" which is why no words of cognition exist
> either. Since the words that modify sentences
> (weasel words) are just a category of the words
> that show cognition then in a very real sense they
> simply didn't think at all from our perspective.
> Without the inner dialog that preceded action and
> words or even the words to express this inner
> dialog one could certainly say they didn't think.
> Of course it's hard to experience this state of
> "not thinking" when our inner dialog usually even
> drives our baser actions.
> Seen in this light one could say a chimpanzee has
> a better chance of understanding the ancients than
> an Egyptologist. Indeed, a chimpanzee already can
> understand the thinking of an ancient better than
> an Egyptologist.
> Their "thinking" would be radically different.
> They could share any experience or knowledge
> perfectly with other people and they were much
> more in touch with their own emotions since the
> entire brain including the amygdala operated
> digitally. Perhaps it was this close tie to
> their emotions which made them so interested in
> their past and future. By understanding the past
> they wanted to be able to communicate with us and
> they knew it was important that we one day would
> learn about them. This is what drove them to
> create the Great Pyramid Time Capsule. This is
> why they left so much clues throughout our
> history. I often say they failed at preserving
> ancient science but the reality is they knew we
> would never in a million years understand any of
> it without our own science. They put it where we
> could easily find it even with 1930's technology
> and knowledge.
> The reason there are no words to suggest cognition
> is simply that "cognition", as we define it, is a
> product of modern language. This is how we miss
> the most basic concepts of life such as it is
> consciousness that drives evolution rather than
> fitness and that ALL life is individual. There's
> no such thing as a "rabbit" or a "man" but rather
> their are individuals that share many traits with
> others. We can't see the trees for the forest
> because we're so busy not seeing the forest for
> the trees. We see what we believe. We see what
> we think.
> Ancient people didn't even "think" so they had no
> words to express it.
I would never propose such a theory. This was my understanding of what you are proposing. In any case, someone has already proposed it: Julian Jaynes.
My own research more and more is leading me in another direction. I cannot say anything about ancient Egyptians in general. However, the way Hemiunu encoded the Great Pyramid's blueprint in his own mastaba, if he did it intentionally as I argue, is just as self-conscious and aware as any modern person, if not more so; he was simply brilliant...again, if the proof of it so far withstands a field test I need to do.
When I look at the grammar I see a structure, arguably a reflection of the structure of their thinking, which looks familiar to several modern languages, and then there are some fascinating mysteries. For example, when we say "Cladking's Ka rises into the sky" this is a general, gnomic statement which we mark with the verb form "rises". We can change the meaning by replacing it with "is rising". "Cladking's Ka is rising into the sky" is the imperfected (incomplete) action of the present tense....He is in the process of rising now. He has not yet attained the "state" of being "arisen" (see below).
An ancient Egyptian of the Old Kingdom would have begun to distinguish these two sentences as such:
"Rises Ka Cladking to sky" (sdm.f construction)...gnomic
"Now Ka Cladking rises to the sky" ("Subject sdm.f construction")....imperfect*
It was not the verb form which marked the imperfect, as is done in English, but the syntax. The fact that the ancient Egyptians of the early dynasties started to linguistically mark and demarcate an ongoing action during a specific instance from an action which always occurs shows that this was important to them just as it is important to us. How and why they marked this difference is interesting in and of itself. My impression is that changing the word order is more drastic than changing the verb form and there was no shortage of verb forms in Old Egyptian all marking very specific relationships between clauses within a sentence. So I wonder if there is a clue here, but I have not pinned it yet. But regardless, I think more than a lexical analysis, the grammar holds the key to putting ourselves into the ancient sandals. The lexical analysis is more difficult, but my observations in the paper with Robert Schoch contradicts your theory that there weren't deeper levels of semantics, not frivolously invoked but circumvented by necessity of what writing meant: Creating Reality.
*"Now" here stands for the Egyptian word "jw" which marks a specific instance of an action.
Perfected, i.e. completed action, results in a "state". The ancient Egyptians distinguished between these two concepts, in English we largely do not (in German and French we do). That state was marked, even in Old Egyptian, by the stative verb form, which when used was usually also preposed with a subject ("Subject-Stative construction"). When the completion of an action itself, not the resulting state was meant to be indicated, yet another verb form was used in the Old Kingdom, the sdmn.f. This verb form came before the subject as is generally the case according to the syntax rules. Therefore, the position of the verb after the subject was a specific syntactic marker of completion of an action, imperfect or perfect. Once an action is completed resulting is a certain state of being , this state was further enhanced with a unique verb form, the stative. Whether or not the action was complete, imperfect or perfect, was indicated initially with different verb forms (ie Subject-sdm.f and sdmn.f), but later that changed and I think the current consensus is that the verb root took over that function, ie by duplicating the last consonant of the verb root creating the gemminated stem or leaving it as is.
Edited 8 time(s). Last edit at 28-Apr-18 19:59 by Manu.