Ernest Becker’s “Immortality Project” Hypothesis and The Pyramids

Feartured Image: Wikipedia Commons

As quoted from Disinformation and written by our very own Sammy R. LaPoint.

Anthropologist Ernest Becker proposed a particularly interesting premise in his 1973 book, The Denial of Death, which won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1974. The book proposes that civilization is driven by a symbolic defense mechanism created by the awareness of our mortality, which acts as an intellectual and emotional response to our survival mechanism. In other words, people attempt to outlive their own lives by doing or becoming a part of something that will symbolically transcend their own death. It reminds me of the eerie quote at the beginning of the movie Troy.

“Men are haunted by the vastness of eternity. And so we ask ourselves: will our actions echo across the centuries? Will strangers hear our names long after we are gone, and wonder who we were, how bravely we fought, how fiercely we loved?” — Odysseus in the movie script of Troy

Becker suggests that there exists a fundamental duality between a symbolic world of human-defined meaning and the perceived physical world of objects. He refers to this attempt to transcend our own mortality as an “immortality project,” in which people essentially fight their inevitable death by symbolically escaping it. He states that this is most often achieved through acts of heroism that perceivably allow us to become a part of something eternal; something that won’t decay like our bodies.

I found this concept of an “immortality project” very interesting, but wondered if there were any conclusive examples. Perhaps, a significant object or structure that not only created developments in civilization, but was specifically created to immortalize someone. It dawned on me many years later that the greatest example of this is the great pyramids. The pyramids were not only developed by a religious philosophy of an afterlife and hope for immortality, but were used to immortalize the pharaoh it was constructed for. In fact, the whole evolution of pyramid building in ancient Egypt perfectly matches the “immortality project” concept proposed by Becker. To understand, you have to take a brief look at the physical and philosophical evolution of ancient Egyptian pyramids.

The dead were buried in very basic and shallow burial pits for thousands of years in Predynastic Egypt, but this wasn’t adequate considering the religious philosophy of the ancient Egyptians. Their belief in the afterlife or hope for immortality created a necessity to preserve the human body. So, what you see is a very long evolutionary process that extends from basic burial pits to mastabas, step pyramids, and finally to the “true” pyramids that we commonly recognize. In fact, mastaba means “house of eternity” or “eternal house.” So, underpinning the entire burial process is the religious philosophy of an afterlife and each pharaoh’s hope to immortalize himself in stone. In a way, immortality was achieved considering the Great Pyramid of Giza is the only intact wonder of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

The pyramids of ancient Egypt are a prime example of Becker’s “immortality project,” in which societal and architectural developments that were vital in the creation of civilization were sparked by a symbolic escape from our own mortality. In fact, the successful utilization of stone building is often accredited to Imhotep, the designer of the pharaoh Sneferu’s pyramid at Djoser, and he is often considered the first architect and engineer. His designs were crucial in developing the pyramids, but consider for a moment, why? This was all done to essentially preserve the pharaoh’s path into the afterlife and to immortalize him. As Becker describes, that’s precisely how this symbolic defense influenced various aspects of civilization.

This whole concept isn’t only limited to architectural developments. The economy itself was influenced by the belief in the afterlife or hope for immortality. For example, gold was viewed as a durable or “immortal” substance, which is why it was buried with ancient Egyptian pharaohs. It wasn’t merely a pompous display of wealth, but was to be taken with them into the afterlife for all eternity. These examples are proof of Becker’s theory. In the wake of our own inevitable death, we seek to immortalize ourselves, thus informing the development of civilization.
“Why do you weep? Did you think I was immortal?” — last words of King Louis XIV

Sammy R. LaPoint © 2015

Sources:
(The History of Ancient Egypt – Ph.D. Bob Brier)
(The Denial of Death – Ernest Becker)
(The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt – Ian Shaw.)
(Egyptian Mythology – Geraldine Pinch.)
(The Pyramids Of Egypt – Iorwerth Eiddon Stephen Edwards.)
(The Pyramids – Ahmed Fakhry.)
(The Ideology of the Superstructure of the Mastaba-Tomb in Egypt – Alexander Badaway.)
(The Complete Pyramids – Mark Lehner.)
(Gold in Antiquity – Mark Cartwright.)

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Freemasonry Is An Inference Of Ancient Wisdom

Some have suggested that Freemasonry is a religion or a cult. This isn’t true based on close examination of the craft of Freemasonry. Freemasonry is an inference on ancient wisdom ( mostly astrotheology ) and not a religion or cult. It does have religious aspects and concepts, but the craft itself isn’t religious nor does it ask or demand any specific forms of worship.

The allegories of Freemasonry are mostly veiled inferences about the ancient astrotheology that was embedded within various religions of the ancient world. It cannot, therefore, be a literal belief in any theological aspects or concepts that it depicts outside of the moral or philosophical realm. That is why Freemasonry claims not to be a religion but why it also accepts all religions.

It would be quite ironic if it were a religion since that would mean it’s a religion that accepts all religions, which is contradictory.

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The Sacred Tetramorph

The sacred tetramorph was derived from the ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Babylonian sphinxes of antiquity symbolizing the body of a bull (Taurus.svg), the wings of a falcon (Scorpio.svg), the paws of a lion (Leo.svg), and the face of a man (Aquarius.svg). The four creatures are symbols of the age and constellations of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius. These four constellations symbolize the fixed signs of the Zodiac. The tetramorph also represents the four seasons of the great Platonic year. NASA defines the Platonic year as “The period of one complete cycle of the equinoxes around the ecliptic, about 25,800 years.”

  • Taurus (Taurus.svg): Spring Equinox: St Luke
    Taurus
  • Leo (Leo.svg): Summer Solstice: St Mark
    Leo
  • Scorpio (Scorpio.svg): Autumn Equinox: St John
    Scorpio
  • Aquarius (Aquarius.svg): Winter Solstice: St Matthew
    Aquarius

In Christianity, the tetramorph represents the Four Evangelists or four living creatures derived from the Book of Ezekiel. St Matthew, St Mark, St Luke, and St John are depicted accordingly. Ezekiel describes his vision as such.

“As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.” – Book of Ezekiel

”And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.” – as described in the Book of Revelation

So, how did this come to be represented in Christianity? Well, the prophet Ezekiel was among the Jews exiled to Babylon and his vision from which the tetramorph was brought into Christianity was influenced by the art of ancient Assyria.


 

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Symbolism: The eagle used by modern and ancient nations

The symbolism of an eagle can be seen from ancient Egypt, the Holy Roman Empire, to modern day America. What does it mean, though? Why have so many nations chosen an eagle as their national symbol or used it in the form of heraldry?

The explanation commonly given is that it symbolizes strength, courage, and immortality. That’s a reasonable explanation, but there’s more to it than that. To understand the deeper meaning, you have to trace the history of this form of symbolism back to ancient Egypt.

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17,300-Year-Old Star Map In Lascaux Cave

The Lascaux cave paintings are estimated to be 17,300 years old and they also happen to feature the oldest identified star map on Earth.

Michael Rappenglueck of the University of Munich argues that many of the images in the Lascaux cave depict the constellations of Taurus, the Pleiades, and the celestial grouping known as the “Summer Triangle.”

French researcher Chantal Jègues-Wolkiewiez further suggests that the gallery of images in the Great Hall symbolize an extensive star map and that key points accurately correspond to the main constellations as they would have appeared in the Paleolithic age. She also believes these locations were specifically selected since most of them are illuminated by the setting sun on the day of the winter solstice.

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The Irrational Stigma Against Conspiracy Theories & Alternative Thinking

There is an irrational stigma against conspiracy theories and alternative thinking. The word “conspiracy” has become infected. The moment someone brings up the notion of conspiracy, many individuals have an immediate knee-jerk reaction and that’s irrational. A rational individual will rationally dispute something and will attempt to remove emotional bias from the equation. In fact, an individual who is truly confident in their stance of a given subject should maintain emotional stability. Unfortunately, that’s not generally the case. It’s common to see people have a strong and childish knee-jerk reaction to any opposing ideology and that’s indicative of an ignorant mind.

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The difference between Astrology, Astrolatry, Astrotheology, and Astronomy

There seems to be a lot of confusion over the difference between astrology, astrolatry, astrotheology, and astronomy so here’s a brief explanation of what differentiates them from each other.

• Astrology is the idea that astronomical occurrences influence our personalities and daily lives on Earth. Commonly, astrology attributes certain personality traits to the twelve constellations and their zodiacal signs. It also suggests an ability to predict the future by interpreting celestial movements. Astrology is rejected by the modern scientific community.

• Astrolatry is the worship of celestial bodies or particular stars as deities or the association of celestial bodies with deities. The most common of which are polytheistic sun and moon gods. For example, the association of Horus with the Sun or Isis with Sirius.

• Astrotheology is essentially the study of ancient astrolatry. It infers the influence celestial bodies and particular stars had on religion, often implying that religion consists of various astronomical allegories. This study is often mistaken as astrology and many people before the 18th century would say astrology, even when they were intending to refer to astrotheology. This study is not necessarily rejected by the scientific community, but there is much debate over the extent to which it influenced religion.

• Astronomy is a natural science and the strict observation and study of celestial bodies.

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The Philosophy & Evolution Of Egyptian Pyramids

The confusion over how the pyramids were built is mostly due to an isolated view of the Giza pyramids and the tendency to insert alternative theories where there is simply no necessity to. However, new insights of the possible construction methods of the pyramids have put most alternative theories to rest. For example, the recent discovery of a method of moving massive stones by watering sand to create less friction or W.T. Wallington’s method of lifting and moving giant stones. In other words, it wasn’t aliens, but it did require sophisticated techniques and was a gradual process of development.

The evolution and philosophy of Egyptian pyramid building stemmed as far back as basic oval burials.

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The Mysterious Man Who Unveiled Freemasonry

In  1882, the book Stellar Theology and Masonic Astronomy was anonymously published by author Robert Hewitt Brown. The content provided in Stellar Theology and Masonic Astronomy essentially unveiled the esoteric meaning of Freemasonry, fully explaining the ancient astrotheological allegories embedded within the shadowy depths of Masonic legend and symbolism. Of course, well-educated Freemasons have long understood this, but no one before this time had ever truly created a concise explanation of the Masonic allegories.

Many well-known books on Freemasonry are vague and drawn out. They may explain aspects of the historical narrative and background ( which are important ) but avoid outright explanations. This is not the case with Stellar Theology and Masonic Astronomy. This is why we hail Brown as the “The Mysterious Man Who Unveiled Freemasonry.”

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What Is True Occultism?

The word occult comes from the Latin word occultus, meaning “clandestine” or “hidden”, and usually refers to esoteric knowledge. The earliest forms of occultism are deeply rooted in the astrolatry of ancient astronomers who were generally priests. That’s where the origin of astrology lies. These forms of early occultism were incredibly spiritual and philosophic, often subscribing to an unseen or ineffable concept of divinity expressed through solar symbolism and allegory. You could also describe it as a sense of “Gnosis” or faith that extends beyond pure reasoning.

These beliefs were sacred to the ancients and were, therefore, safeguarded and hidden from the unconcerned masses just as they are in traditional Freemasonry.

“Masonry, like all the religions, all the Mysteries, Hermeticism and Alchemy, conceals its secrets from all except the Adepts and Sages, or the Elect, and uses false explanations and misinterpretations of its symbols to mislead those who deserve only to be misled; to conceal the Truth, which it calls Light, from them, and to draw them away from it.” — Alert Pike – Morales & Dogma., p. 105

 

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