> "Feathers have always weighed less than human hearts so we
> can safely assume that we can not interpret the image
> The scene you describe is symbolic, and one would automatically
> look for explanation in the text surrounding the scene. When
> the text is, to say the least, ambiguous, it is most audacious
> to fill in the blanks. It could have a purely medical meaning.
> Maybe they did autopsies.
I don't want to derail the thread but I believe this weighing of the heart scene is neither really metaphoric nor symbolic. It is the metaphysical perspective viewed from ritual. To them this scene was as real as a... ...well... ... a heart attack. If one died with a "heavy heart" he was damned to dying the second time and if it had no weight at all then he was cursed for being unconcerned about all things. They believed one's duty and goal was to live a life that produced a heart that was as light as a feather. This was created through joy and creation rather than fear and hedonism. They wanted to believe each person could attain this state before death. They described most of the dearly departed as having "aged gracefully" rarther than kicking and screaming and fighting it at every corner and in all ways. Weighing of the heart was literal and said more about life than death.
A lot of our misunderstanding and misinterpretation is probably caused by the mother of all sample biases: Almost every single thing we know about these people came from a tomb. The concept that these people planned their death their whole life is caused by this sample bias and misinterpretation. If these people seem more alive after they died it is only because they were more alive while they were still alive as well.
Our confusion results from assumptions and pounding square pegs into round holes.