My Morality Sojourn.

I’m sitting here, staring at my computer screen while I try to regulate what I want my personal code of ethics to be. This code, of course, will be reflected in the 42 Negative Confessions I end up with at the end of this morality sojourn. The thing is that I’m not really sure what I want to say, although I have some fairly definitive ideas of what I do not want in my confessions. For example, I really don’t think that going on about how I didn’t defile the temple of the gods is something I should put in there. I will probably never, ever work or be in a temple of the gods, either from ancient Egypt or from any of the Kemetic-based temples that are around today. So, I can be 95% positive that I’m not going to sit around and defile anything in a temple. I can socket that as something I definitely don’t want. But the thing is, I should have a pretty good set of examples about things that I do want. And I’m honestly drawing a blank. I don’t think it’s because I’m immoral or anything, but because I have to be very clear, I have to be very sincere, and honestly, it’s motherfucking hard to sit down and say, “I WILL DEFINE MY MORAL CODE NOW,” and have it magically happen. Unfortunately, this is one of those sojourns where I’m thinking time is something I’ll need in abundance.

To aid me in this, I thought it would be a pretty good idea to pull up the copies of the confessions that I like the best. I chose these copies here. I prefer these two copies as opposed to others because I think they’re done very well. I also enjoy the fact that the protestations from the Papyrus of Ani are shown with the names of the gods that Ani is speaking to. After looking those over, I decided to go by a very old-school and probably odd example, namely the Ten Commandments. I know that may seem weird. However, aside from the fact that it’s a basis in Abrahamic religions, it still holds some merit here. It is, after all, a very clearly defined morality from ancient times. And since I’m thinking about this from an updated viewpoint from ancient times, I think working with the Ten Commandments in trying to create my ethical code is a good idea. Some of the statements on those stone tablets are still in play today, so why not? The other aspect that I decided to focus on in trying to figure this shit out was the Code of Hammurabi. That probably is a little strange, too, but again, it’s an ancient set of laws as well. It helped me to get a good look at what was considered immoral in ancient times, just like the Commandments and the Protestations, so that I could at least see what was universal.

As far as universals go, the big things seem to be stealing, profaning, murdering, lying, and adultery were all pretty much the big wrongs. So, as far as I can see, these things are aspects that I will use in my own ethical code. Of course, while the murdering, lying, and stealing are pretty much a “no duh” the others are interesting. Lying is almost commonplace nowadays – we have the Internet to help thank for that. And one could say, too, that in the case of adultery, it’s so all over the place – also in due thanks to the Internet. These two aspects are things that, if I had to fly off the handle and just write down 42 things that I think I should say in front of my gods when I come upon the Judgment Hall, I wouldn’t have added them. I wouldn’t have thought that either of these two things were morally reprehensible. I’ve done both. And nowadays, while we can still go to jail or pay fines for perjury, lying isn’t as big as it was a hundred years ago. And the same can be said with adultery. We’re… inured to these stigmatic crimes that they should probably be taken off the law books. As a society, or even an entire planet, both of these two things are no longer as important as they once were.

And that, to me, says that they should be. I’m not saying that society now is anything like what it once was. That’s for damn sure. But if these two things – lying and adultery – were so heinous back then, why aren’t they now? Is it just because of the Internet?

How many people were really upset or even cared when it was discovered Bill Clinton diddled his aides and secretaries and whatnot? After JFK, we’ve all been pretty much under the impression that what someone does inside their bedroom is their own business, whether they be famous or otherwise. And while I can attest that I didn’t care one iota that Bill did anything with anybody other than his wife, I’ve come to realize that maybe I should have. Not from a religious standpoint as others would have me base this one, but because we all have to make a line in the sand when it comes to what we will or will not do in regards to committing against others. If murder, rape, pedophilia, stealing, and bestiality are all pretty big no-nos, then why isn’t sex with someone you’re not committed to? And why is lying so commonplace nowadays? I remember when I was a kid, to keep my little brother from lying, we had to tell him that breaking a promise about swearing to tell the truth would mean that he went to hell. He was just that bad about lying. And maybe we went about it the wrong way, but he’s pretty good about being honest with the big stuff. When it comes to the little things, white lies are commonplace. And they shouldn’t be. We should be as honest with ourselves as we are with others. We should be able to stand up and clearly say, either in front of others or in front of the gods, “I have not lied.” And it’s not just because we should be able to have a clear conscious if/when we die, but because we shouldn’t get caught up in the bullshit of lies. What do they do but fester? And then they get so big that you have to keep them separated and write big huge tall tales to maintain said lies and… where does that get anyone? All it does is make your life miserable. So, why shouldn’t lying be added to the ethical code here?

It’ll be added to mine.

The rest of the codes and the laws and the protests seem to be really focused on things that you didn’t commit against your religion. Now, the thing here is that I am American. So, this is kind of a wonky street for me to walk. If any non-Americans have been paying attention, religion seems to be the big flavor that is making the laws nowadays and I don’t fly with that. (It’s my fucking right to get a fucking abortion, damn it.) And while I really do think that religion is important to me, I don’t think it necessarily should have any say whatsoever in what my political agenda is. So, how do I combine my religious life with my mundane life and make it into my moral code but without using it to base my politics on?

But, if I’m just looking at it from the basis of the Ten Commandments and the 42 Protestations, then I can just say something flowery like, “I have not profaned against the name of my gods.” Well, that’s a lie. I say shit like “gods damn it all” all the time, so I probably shouldn’t add that. I’m guilty of it and this is fluid morality, after all. I can just, you know, ignore that particular negative aspect to myself and leave it out. So, maybe I could say something generalized like, “I have not stolen from the gods.” Okay, but does that really convey what I want my morality to be? Not really. Why would I steal from the gods, anyway? I don’t have a huge temple filled with grain and cows and food in abundance. I definitely know I want to say something like, “I have not been intolerant of others’ faiths.” But, you know, is that really all I want about that?

I have 42 of these things to write, so… maybe a little more fleshing out here.

And here’s where I get to the point where I feel a little out of my depth. A lot of the rest of the laws and protestations are related to things that were important back then. And as I’ve decided, some of the things that they had that were important to them back then aren’t so important now, but should be in my eyes. The rest of it are things that have no bearing on what our lives are like now. In the confessions, there’s commentary about not stopping up water flow. Water was a big important thing in a land that was dependent on the overflowing of the Nile each year, but water is abundant here. I can go to my tap and it will magically come to me. So adding that to this morality isn’t relevant. But, what is relevant? “I have not made my carbon foot print so much that I have depleted the Ozone layer.” That seems like a tall order and I know that my CFP is probably a lot higher than it could be. And do I really think that’s something I should add? I know that things like that are important to people, but it’s never had much bearing on me, as a person, or me, as a Kemetic, or me in any way. So, maybe I say something like, “I have not sinned against nature.” This is something I am guilty of – I’ve littered. I haven’t picked up my dog’s poo every time. Stuff like that, but maybe I add it with the knowledge that one day, I’ll be better at this kind of thing?

And where does my family come into this. Family was a pretty big and important thing back then. What do I say about them in relation to this? I can’t say that I have never sinned against them. My current, mini family unit of R and TH notwithstanding. I have always tried to behave honorably and with their best interest at heart. But, this hasn’t always been the case with my mother or my brother. So, can I add that in there? Or should I rephrase it? It’s quite probable I will “commit a sin” against my brother in some way – defaming or something.

And where do I come into this? I mean, obviously, I’m all over this. These are my personal confessions that I will utter in the Duat. But, working on myself and bettering myself should have some bearing here. Perhaps something like, “I did not give all my spoons away.” I actually like the sound of that. Spoons are pretty damned important to getting through every day and every relationship. Without those spoons, I would be a spineless bump on the couch that didn’t go anywhere, didn’t do anything, and didn’t give a shit about anything. So, I think that has some bearing here. While I’m obviously all over the protests I’m writing since I’m saying, specifically, that I didn’t do these things in life, I think taking care of who I am and bettering myself and keeping myself in working order are important aspects that need to be added.

I still have a lot of work to go, but I think, thus far, I have a pretty good basis to get this shit in gear. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.


9 thoughts on “My Morality Sojourn.

    • Well, in regards to being a fellow spoonie, I mostly use it as a way to remind myself that I’m as important as everyone else. Since, you know, I tend to just be the rock and give all the time without actually leaving anything for me. The metaphor is so beautiful and easily used in any context in a person’s life… I love it.

  1. Here are some things that came to mind while reading your post…

    Adultery was not horrible back in AE. We have court cases where people have sexed up the girl next door while the wife was out doing something (and we have cases of the wife sexing up the man next door while hubby was at work, etc). It wasn’t something that was completely frowned upon back then. Apparently, if you were sleeping around and married, all that the locals wanted you to do was pick one, or the other, and stick with them. But really, adultery didn’t seem to be as big of a deal until later times (read Red Land, Black Land for more info).

    Also, the people of AE weren’t entirely moral all the time. I’m willing to bet that pharaoh could be a dick. There were cases of priests not acting morally (of course, priesthood had no exact moral rules outside of the temple, afawk). There are cases of murder plots and schemes. There were probably wives fighting to get thier son to be picked as the next heir… cases of theft (there are court cases of this). I mean, people could be just as immoral then as they are now. The 42 confessions aren’t so rigid as the 10 commandments, imo. They are guidelines and cheat codes to get you through the gates, more than anything. I mean, hell, you could get a heart scarab and pretty much cheat your way out of the whole situation lol.

    In regards to water- we Americans have water easily, but water is actually scarce. We are running out of it at an alarming rate and it is something that is still precious. It’s just that we Americans are spoiled. So perhaps you could do something close to “I won’t squander water” or even “I won’t squander resources”.

    I think what is important here is to *try* to meet these goals, not necessarily to make them so damned safe that you never-ever make a mistake.

    I think at the end of the day, you need to determine *why* you need a modern 42 confessions. What is it you’re hoping to gain from this process?

    • Honestly, when I started thinking about writing my own, it was (at first) a way for me to get closer with my gods. Sekhmet vastly approved of the project. But as I sit down and ponder what I want them to say, I realize that I want this as a kind of outline of “I’m a better person and here’s why.” I also want to be able to pass these things down to my son and his children and any other kids I may have, too. Corny, right?

      • I wouldn’t call it corny, but I think the purpose behind this should really drive the types of things you include in your confessions.

        Perhaps you should think of larger ideals, and then break them down into smaller things. As an example..

        I want to be a good person (what makes a person good)
        A good person is responsible for their actions. (In what ways?)
        They do their best every day.
        They are able to act gracefully in bad situations.
        They are level headed.

        Etc. (I just pulled this out of my ass, hopefully it makes sense).
        I find that taking larger topics and breaking them into smaller things makes it a lot easier to get at such a large task. Food for thought, at least.

  2. And wisdom was spoken by von186. Ancient codes are not always going to be the best fit for modern times. Ancient codes and a modern understanding may make for an excellent code of conduct. I’m not sure I’m in any position to talk authoritatively on the subject right now, but it seems like the best way to start is by looking for common denominators in those old codes and branching out from there.

  3. To add a few other things: The confessions/purifications were designed more for priests than the laity. If you’re tending to God, you should be expected to have some stricter rules around you. Or at least I think so.

    Also, keep in mind Kemet (and most of the polytheistic world) tends more toward situational ethics. Not to say something akin to wishy-washy or convenient, but realizing that different situations may need to be handled in different ways. In The Long Descent, John Michael Greer has a great discussion of this in mythology, that people in these cultures had more than one model to look to in responding to situations. (He contrasts to what we now have in the dominant, Protestant-influenced culture: Progress or Apocalypse. Really good reading in his books.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s