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Ancient Egyptian Wisdom ... Daily Practice

Friday, July 24, 2009

Blogging Live from Egypt: 7/31 - 8/10!

I've been so busy recently. I knew I had difficulty posting ... but today I turned around and noticed I hadn't posted in 3 weeks! 2009 has probably been one of the most difficult years I ever had. Posting on the Udjat has become a much welcomed escape. I've truly missed it.

I hope that my recent work will actually enhance your experience reading The Udjat. I've been working to create a monthly television program on Ancient Egyptian spirituality for my local public access channel, Manhattan Neighborhood Network. I've also been fine-tuning lectures for my annual trip to Egypt. While this is my sixth trip to Egypt with the African Genesis Institute, I'm still very excited. I've been blessed to be able to take large numbers of students to Egypt for the culmination of their 2 1/2 year rite of passage program. The best part for the students and the adult group leaders of African descent is that the trip is free (for more information click here)!

I invite you to take a virtual trip to the motherland with me this year. I'll be blogging live from Egypt from July 31 - August 10. Experience our pilgrimage to the magnificent Great Pyramid of the Giza Plateau, lock gazes with the mysterious Heru-em-Akhet (the Sphinx), and travel to the grand temples of Karnak and Luxor. I'll even post video of my lecture in front of Ramses the Great's incredible monument: Abu Simbel. Feel free to ask questions, request pictures, or even dialouge with other sojourners. I hope you join me. It's gonna be a wild ride! Shem em Hetep (Go forth in Peace)!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - Pyramids Built by Aliens

Doesn't everyone deserve a bit of mindless summer action? Sure! After a long day at work last week, I decided to take in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen with my two best friends in the whole world. We had a great time. The movie was certainly entertaining. I have to say the great thing about hanging out with guys that have known you virtually your entire life is that you can be yourself. I didn't have to just cheer at explosions and drool at women running in slow motion. I could actually tell them that in the midst of a $200,000,000 special effects orgy, I was having a cerebral experience. I couldn't just enjoy mindless summer action without questioning the premise. I wager most of our readers would probably feel similarly.

What is the vaulted premise of the anxiously awaited Transformers sequel? The movie picks up 2 years after the end of the first film. The heroic Transformers known as the Autobots have been working with Nest, a secret military unit charged with finding and rooting out the remaining Decepticons. The Decepticons have been without their leader since Megatron's "death", however they are being directed by Megatron's mentor, The Fallen, who is one of the original Transformers. We soon learn that the Transformers have actually been on Earth since the beginnings of humanity. The war which raged between the opposing camps of Transformers was precipitated by finding the largest source of energon, the energy source which powers the large robots. During the final battle, The Fallen was defeated by the original 7 Autobot "Prime" models, and the source the Earthly energon is hidden. In the time of the sequel, The Fallen has been restored and is hiding on an asteroid in Earth's orbit. As he guides the Decepticons to finding and restoring Megatron he refuses to return to Earth because only a "Prime can kill" him. He believes that Megatron can kill Optimus Prime allowing his return. Together with Megatron, The Fallen believes that he can find the missing key to a machine which will harvest the energon from the core of the Earth. The energon will allow the Decepticons to rebuild their home planet, Cybertron, but will destroy the Earth. The movie's final battle takes place on a fictional Egyptian Giza Plateau, as the energon harvesting machine is hidden within the core of Khufu's Great Pyramid. I bet you were wondering why I was reviewing Transformers: The Revenge of The Fallen on The Udjat, right!

The plot of the film centers around a familiar concept; the advanced civilization of the Ancient Egyptians was actually established by aliens. However, only time this argument is actually voiced is when the quirky Agent Simmons, played by John Turturro, glances at the pyramids during the final action scene and says, " Yeah those were built by aliens, yeah". Did you notice the design of the face of The Fallen? His face is essentially the Decepticon logo wearing a version of the nemes cloth headdress of Ancient Egypt (see pictures of The Fallen and the mask of Tutankhamun at top). Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is line with a number of other popular depictions, including the entire Stargate franchise, Battlestar Galactica, and Earth: Final Conflict.

Why should we care that these popular depictions posit that aliens were the progenitors of Ancient Egypt? Actually this argument is the most recent volley in the series of insulting arguments against the genius of ancient Africans. To understand this, one must follow the arguments against an African genesis to Ancient Egypt. Initially, Western scholars attempted to argue that Ancient Egyptians were of European origin. This curious argument doesn't really have any factual basis. These unknown Europeans didn't create an advanced civilization in their homeland. Where are Europe's pyramids? They didn't even leave behind a lineage which could be found in contemporary Africa via modern-day genetic studies.

We've actually seen a number of other fallacious arguments concerning the origins of the Ancient Egyptians. They were migrants from the water-logged nation of Atlantis, and even ancestors of the region's current Arabian inhabitants. No matter how different, all of these arguments are based on one racist bias: the world's most downtrodden could not be kin with the engineers of modern civilization. Certainly, Africans couldn't have built an advanced civilization in their own homeland. Now that these arguments have been thoroughly defused, the proponents of a non-African genesis to Ancient Egypt are now attempting to directly influence the populace with the alien genesis argument. After all, is the average person familiar with the work Cheikh Anta Diop, the illustrations of the Book of Gates, or the petroglyphs in the Eastern Egyptian dessert? These popular depictions are quite effective! Especially when these insults are nestled in the midst of a mindless summer action flick. Clearly we need to be vigilant at all times. Our ancestors are being maligned! Shem em Hetep (Go Forth in Peace)!