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Author Topic: Living your Ethics  (Read 7175 times)
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Last Login:August 15, 2014, 02:06:27 pm
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Religion: Kemetic
Posts: 444

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« Reply #14: October 12, 2007, 04:49:13 pm »

I would get most of my guidelines from the Wisdom Literature (Ptah-hotep is my favourite so far) and the Negative Confessions. It sounds like a lot of rules but most are common sense things like "Don't steal", "Don't be a snot", or "Don't sleep with someone else's spouse". I've sadly had a problem with the second one lately, but overall, I'm doing pretty well.

Of course, there are some cultural specifics like "Don't steal offerings left for the gods" that don't really apply but the majority still holds.

The basics of kemetic ethics, for me, would be "uphold ma'at" - support and uphold the structure that makes life possible. That means working to enforce social structures and rules, for example, doing little things that bring order over chaos (Darkhawk has a really nice piece about how part of upholding ma'at at its most basic level involves putting shooping carts back where they belong. Not on my own computer now, so don't have the link handy), being oil in the wheels of the world rather than sand. If you look at it that way, it both changed a lot over the ages and has stayed the same. The principle hasn't changed, but the specifics of "how do I act towards others to make the social process work" has definitely changed.

Being a citydweller, ma'at, for me, is very much a social thing - working to get along with people, treating people right, not standing by and doing nothing when others maltreat eachother. But ma'at is also about environmental awareness. The "proper" functioning of nature is a part of the structures of life (and therefore ma'at) as well, and so I'm responsible for my part in upholding that as well. Basically: structures and order make life, make creation. Without it, there is nothing. The being nothing is bad, and the world tends to degrade in to chaos and nothing if we don't work on it. So we're supposed to work on fixing chaos.

That doesn't mean there's no value in wisdom literature or the Negative Confessions (in whichever variation of 42 you happen to come across) - but to me, they're interpretations, and represent how people thought they should shape the upholding of ma'at in that day and age. But if ma'at is order, and our orders are not the orders of that time, then upholding ma'at means something different, in practical terms, from what it did in that day and age.


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