> I do agree with much of what you wrote but the point I was
> trying to make was that people may have different ceremonys but
> we feel the very same pain. And so a person living in 4000 BC
> or today has the very same response to death. Ceremonys may
> change but feelings do not.
I don't know that this is true. Yes, we all feel pain and there's ample evidence even the earliest humans felt pain when someone died. Even geese and elephants are observed expressing such pain.
But there are numerous components to this pain and there are quite probably cultural and individual differences in how it is felt and expressed. There specific difference as well depending on whether the deceased is your child or your pastor. People who were generally unliked don't get the same outpouring of grief that well loved people get.
Ceremony and ritual are culturally specific but they are also distinct from one another. They might appear to outsiders as being much the same but in fact "ritual" is associated with the specific steps of "ceremony". "Ceremony" is a sort of celebration of events and "ritual" is how it is carriued out. It seems that Audrey's point that modern beliefs are their ceremonies are being projected onto anccient people.
It seems that if we're trying to understand something as alien as a belief in weighing a heart (or maybe it's a ceremony, or perhaps an actual ritual) that it's important to leave preconceptions behind. Remember that no "rules" to this are identified by the author or culture that generated this. Is the heart first mummified or is it fresh? Is it weighed immediately upon death or at the funeral? What kind of feather is it? Is a heart found wanting really fed to an animal or a "croco/dog"? Do they believe it's a real croco dog or is it an imaginary one? Do the priests attempt to fool people into believing in this impossible ceremony? Is it even a ceremony at all?
19th century scientists projected their understanding of grief onto the ancients to fill a void left by the lack of evidence. Of course it's difficult to see from other perspectives and we all tend to see everything from the perspective of our own upbringing. Egyptologists can't answer these questions except as it applies to the book of the dead because they believe the PT is just incantation.
We're lways left with the question of what the Egyptians believed. We're left with trying to understand why they might call themselves "drunkards of Menkare". We're left with trying to paste together very little evidence into something coherent. Egyptology simply is not this answer. If it were then the paradigm could make predictions, there wouldn't be legitimate doubt about the evidence, and there wouldn't be absurdities that can't be addressed.