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Author Topic: what Ma'at and isfet may or may not be  (Read 19565 times)

Offline Senedjem

  • Shemsu
  • Country: us
Re: what Ma'at and isfet may or may not be
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2010, 03:59:07 am »
Wolf I'd say Ma'at can not only be compared the Tao, but also to the dharma in Hinduism :)

Offline Raheri

  • Shemsu-Ankh
  • Country: us
Re: what Ma'at and isfet may or may not be
« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2010, 08:38:49 am »
I just wanted to post a quick thank you to all my brothers and sisters on how all of you have taken something negative and turned it into something positive for everyone. I am so proud to be a member of this House and your brother in Netjer.

Love,
Raheri
Sa Wesir-Sokar, mery Nut her Djehuty
Heri-sesheta Wesir

Offline Aashemmuti

  • Shemsu
  • Country: 00
Re: what Ma'at and isfet may or may not be
« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2010, 08:59:24 am »
To me it works best if I can relate these concepts to Hindu concepts with which I am more familiar.

To me ma'at is like dharma. But there are elements of karma as well, for the correct meaning of karma is "action" and that contains all the past and future implications of one's action as well as the immediately evident action itself.

I am still not sure that I understand the concept of isfet.
Sat Sekhmet-Hethert her Bast, Meryt Shu her Sokar-Wesir.

Offline Seshagemseger

  • Divined Remetj
Re: what Ma'at and isfet may or may not be
« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2010, 12:52:43 pm »
Quote from: Taqaisenu
My personal ma’at analogy is driving in rush hour...


You remind me, I once thought about Ma'at once as the force that keeps people driving in their lanes instead of just willy-nilly.  Certainly self-preservation is part of that, but then, self-preservation is part of Ma'at. :)


Quote from: Sobeqsenu
I've always loved comparing Ma'at to music. Dissonance has its place in every composition, just as turmoil has its place in every life. But smacking the piano keys with a drumstick doesn't belong anywhere. ;)


Tapping on the strings with drumsticks can work though... but only in the right kinds of pieces. :)


Quote from: Khesretitui
I find that the Shinto concept of Kannagara (also written kamunagara), meaning "just as it is with the Divine," runs very close to what ma'at is to me.


In my introductory reading about Shinto so far, that is the part I love. :)  The heart of the faith is in living a naturally "right" way, as opposed to a strictly outlined "one true way" or a particular piece of dogma.  This is what really brought me into Kemetic Orthodoxy, rather than interest in the culture or history or prior contact with Netjer.  I suspect that, I had I had occasion to look into Shinto before Kemetic Orthodoxy, I may have wound up there instead.

This is making me a little melancholy about American culture and faith, and its general lack of a sense of time and place.  But that's neither here nor there and I don't want to dwell on it. :)


Quote from: Sedjemes
So I sometimes think that understanding ma'at comes best when we are actually in a moment.


::nod:: When I was writing my post, I think this is what I missed too.  I tend to be an abstract thinker, but there's sometimes a disconnect between the abstract and a real situation.
Child of Seshat
Beloved of Hethert, Serqet, and Shu
seshat.org / Facebook / LiveJournal

Re: what Ma'at and isfet may or may not be
« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2010, 12:57:21 pm »
Quote from: Aashemmuti
To me it works best if I can relate these concepts to Hindu concepts with which I am more familiar.

To me ma'at is like dharma. But there are elements of karma as well, for the correct meaning of karma is "action" and that contains all the past and future implications of one's action as well as the immediately evident action itself.

I am still not sure that I understand the concept of isfet.


I [heart] this. It seems like everyone I know IRL is either stuck on the interpretation of karma as celestial investment bank of good/bad fortune, or on the idea of reincarnation. A great deal of confusion can be avoided when people know more about the meaning and translation of words they use. Just as dharma is often (poorly) translated as "law" when it can have more intricate meanings based on the context.
"So the bodhisattva saves all beings, not by preaching sermons to them, but by showing them that they are delivered, they are liberated, by the act of not being able to stop changing." - Alan Watts

Offline Aashemmuti

  • Shemsu
  • Country: 00
Re: what Ma'at and isfet may or may not be
« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2010, 01:23:03 pm »
Quote from: Wolf_Cub
It seems like everyone I know IRL is either stuck on the interpretation of karma as celestial investment bank of good/bad fortune, or on the idea of reincarnation. A great deal of confusion can be avoided when people know more about the meaning and translation of words they use. Just as dharma is often (poorly) translated as "law" when it can have more intricate meanings based on the context.


There was a movie, wish I could remember what it was, featuring a character saying something to the effect of "Karma means I did a good deed, so the universe owes me one."
Sat Sekhmet-Hethert her Bast, Meryt Shu her Sokar-Wesir.

Re: what Ma'at and isfet may or may not be
« Reply #21 on: October 27, 2010, 11:36:23 pm »
Taqaisenu, your analogy is brilliant. :)

I think of maat as kinda like karma, but not in the commonly understood sense of getting rewards for good deeds and cosmic punishment for bad ones.  A Hindu speaker I hear said something about karma being the taking of complete responsibility for one's actions and their consequences.  Everything that happens to you is somehow influenced by something you have done (or not done).  That sounded very maat-like to me.  

And now for some wild speculation
Isfet would be the opposite: attempting to reject the consequences of your actions.  Isfet, the Uncreated, the nonexistent trying to undo creation.  Of course, for every action there must be a reaction, and denying the reaction cannot make it disappear.  Maat always triumphs.  
Disallowing your typical evil acts would make sense here because one would really want to deny the nasty effects.  And why would anyone reject the positive things they have caused?
Kehawi
Sa Amun-Ra her Set
Mery Serqet her Heru-wer



Re: what Ma'at and isfet may or may not be
« Reply #22 on: October 28, 2010, 10:41:19 am »
Quote from: Kehawiitu

And now for some wild speculation
Isfet would be the opposite: attempting to reject the consequences of your actions.  Isfet, the Uncreated, the nonexistent trying to undo creation.  Of course, for every action there must be a reaction, and denying the reaction cannot make it disappear.  Maat always triumphs.  
Disallowing your typical evil acts would make sense here because one would really want to deny the nasty effects.  And why would anyone reject the positive things they have caused?


Avidya. Not seeing. Not knowing. Living in ignorance of the essential interconnected nature of reality. A primarily root of human suffering in Hindu and Buddhist thought.
"So the bodhisattva saves all beings, not by preaching sermons to them, but by showing them that they are delivered, they are liberated, by the act of not being able to stop changing." - Alan Watts

Offline Seshagemseger

  • Divined Remetj
Re: what Ma'at and isfet may or may not be
« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2010, 01:27:04 pm »
Quote from: Wolf_Cub
Quote from: Kehawiitu

And now for some wild speculation
Isfet would be the opposite: attempting to reject the consequences of your actions.  Isfet, the Uncreated, the nonexistent trying to undo creation.  Of course, for every action there must be a reaction, and denying the reaction cannot make it disappear.  Maat always triumphs.  
Disallowing your typical evil acts would make sense here because one would really want to deny the nasty effects.  And why would anyone reject the positive things they have caused?


Avidya. Not seeing. Not knowing. Living in ignorance of the essential interconnected nature of reality. A primarily root of human suffering in Hindu and Buddhist thought.  


While I can agree that ignorance is generally a cause of human suffering, I understand isfet to be a more active opposition.  Willful ignorance at the very least, but more so, a direct rebellion against Ma'at.

Child of Seshat
Beloved of Hethert, Serqet, and Shu
seshat.org / Facebook / LiveJournal

Re: what Ma'at and isfet may or may not be
« Reply #24 on: October 28, 2010, 02:17:18 pm »
Quote from: Seshagemseger

While I can agree that ignorance is generally a cause of human suffering, I understand isfet to be a more active opposition.  Willful ignorance at the very least, but more so, a direct rebellion against Ma'at.


I think people act out their perceptions. In my experience, many people with the most backwards, knotted up, and harmful understandings of life tend to be very, very active.

This might be where some difference between Avidya and Isfet may be made. Avidya, being a matter of sight, of perception, is much more immediate than conscious intellectualizing. Some of that ignorance will be acted out in the realm of consciousness, will, and volition. Some of it will be acted out from ignorance that has sunk in to the roots of the subconscious, and be acted out without any realization by the person why he or she is the way he or she is. Or without realization of the consequences.

It is good to have a conscious understanding that a person in front of me is human being too. That they have rights, feelings, family. I can understand this on an intellectual level, and it can keep me from doing harm to this person. But in the heat of the emotionally charged moment, intellect is rarely enough. But if I look at this person and see myself. If I see it in a way that makes it immediately relevant, then I feel this other person's humanity, identical to mine, in my very bones.

I would like to illustrate this idea with the final battle between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader at the end of Return of the Jedi. Luke knows intellectually how to be a Jedi. But he's very tempermental, like his father. Darth Vader pushes him beyond an emotional breaking point by threatening his sister, and Luke proceeds to push back, finally defeating and chopping off Vader's hand. What stops Luke from killing Vader? It is not his Jedi ideals. He has any number of justifications for ending Vader's corrupt life, many of them offered by his own Jedi mentors. And it is not mere filial sentiment. Vader broke through that by threatening Leia. Luke looks down at Vader, helpless and handless. He sees his own artificial hand, previously severed by Vader. He sees his own pain in Vader. He sees Vader's experiences in himself. Immediately, he perceives that this cycle of pain has no ending. And right there, the rage dissolves into thin air.
"So the bodhisattva saves all beings, not by preaching sermons to them, but by showing them that they are delivered, they are liberated, by the act of not being able to stop changing." - Alan Watts

Offline Qefathethert

  • Shemsu
  • Country: 00
Re: what Ma'at and isfet may or may not be
« Reply #25 on: October 29, 2010, 02:49:24 pm »
"Believing that something's right doesn't erase the consequences."
This. And I try to live this as best as I can, as a non-KO and generally spiritual person.
I love the thoughts here, all of them. Years ago, when I first left college, I was studying many things on my own time - some Thelema, some Vodou, and KO/books on Ancient Kemetic religion from the suggested reading. All seemed to touch on Ma'at in some way, even if it wasn't named. I felt a gentle nudge to put my life in Ma'at, the best I could, so I went and got my first tattoo - Ma'at's feather on the back of my neck. I remember shaking as I was filling out the forms to get it. Not wholly because I had never gotten a tattoo before, but because I was getting a permanent reminder to be a better person, damn it. Accept responsibility for what I do, good and bad. At the time, my thoughts weren't as well-stated as that, but I sure felt it. On some level, I think I knew what I was doing.
I'm glad I did it though.
Sat Hethert-Sekhmet, meryt Bast-Mut her Set.
Devoted to Khonsu

Re: what Ma'at and isfet may or may not be
« Reply #26 on: October 29, 2010, 03:13:46 pm »
Quote from: Wolf_Cub
He has any number of justifications for ending Vader's corrupt life, many of them offered by his own Jedi mentors. And it is not mere filial sentiment. Vader broke through that by threatening Leia. Luke looks down at Vader, helpless and handless. He sees his own artificial hand, previously severed by Vader. He sees his own pain in Vader. He sees Vader's experiences in himself. Immediately, he perceives that this cycle of pain has no ending. And right there, the rage dissolves into thin air.  


I dunno, I always thought he shoulda done it. I mean, to me-it's no service to the world to allow evil, harmful people to continue to harm and be well, evil. Notions of pseudo-nobility don't erase all the pain caused by Vader. To try to say that you are above that, you are too "conscious" to take such an immediate, hard action or decision seems kinda like a cop out. On the other hand, how do people that do so, stay pure of thought, mind and heart? Do it enough and you become no better, no less controled by your need to control. Slippery slope for sure.

My take.
Timu

Sat Aset, meryt Wepwawet her Renenutet


Re: what Ma'at and isfet may or may not be
« Reply #27 on: October 29, 2010, 10:36:24 pm »
Quote from: Ta_Imu_Aset
I dunno, I always thought he shoulda done it. I mean, to me-it's no service to the world to allow evil, harmful people to continue to harm and be well, evil. Notions of pseudo-nobility don't erase all the pain caused by Vader. To try to say that you are above that, you are too "conscious" to take such an immediate, hard action or decision seems kinda like a cop out. On the other hand, how do people that do so, stay pure of thought, mind and heart? Do it enough and you become no better, no less controled by your need to control. Slippery slope for sure.

My take.


Maybe he should have killed Vader. That's certainly one view to have. And as I said previously, there are many justifications for that view. The point is not that the mystical vision of the unity of things makes one "too conscious" for any action. One has only to read the Bhagavad Gita to for the flip side of that coin, for an example of the mystic vision that spurs one on to hard action.

I think many people have difficult moments in their lives. Moment where one can reason and justify many possibly courses of action. Where even one's own feelings rip and tear like a whirlwind, and one seems truly lost. I think that it is moments like these where a moment of contemplation of that interconnected unity can help us. Not because some "correct" course of action will be illuminated in our minds via divine revelation or human logic. But because that sense of holistic, organic unity can ease the elements of confusion in a way that makes listening for the still, calm voice within much easier.

At such difficult moments it can be hard to follow a course that "right" in the generic sense. it can be even harder to find that path that is most right for one, as an individual. It may have been right and just for Luke to kill Vader. I do not deny that. I like to interpret Luke as not acting out of a sense of "pseudo-nobility", but as having enough conscious not to act while in the grip of a killer rage. And after that, making a choice because that was the choice that was truly in his heart. And of course, living with the electrifying consequences of throwing that lightsaber away. That's my interpretation of the movie scene, anyway. And cinema is, of course, open to much debate and interpretation. But in the end, it's just a movie, and just a scene familiar enough in popular culture to use for an illustrative point.

The perception of unity is also the perception of relation. When one sees the relation between oneself and another, hard action may in fact become easier. Although that hard action may not be at all what others expect, reason, or desire. For when one sees the relation, one sees where the possible actions will lead, and what that will lead one to become as a result. Making important decisions in life is ultimately a choice of what one will be, and what that will mean for one's place in existence. I think it is easier to be reconciled with the consequences of action when one acts with an open heart and open eyes.
"So the bodhisattva saves all beings, not by preaching sermons to them, but by showing them that they are delivered, they are liberated, by the act of not being able to stop changing." - Alan Watts

Offline Qefathethert

  • Shemsu
  • Country: 00
Re: what Ma'at and isfet may or may not be
« Reply #28 on: November 17, 2010, 06:31:18 pm »
Tell me if I'm way off base here, but this was too interesting to not mention, and not having my computer when I thought of it was torture!
I'm re-skimming a book for my own research (long story) called Gnostic Philosophy by Tobias Churton. In a sub-chapter on Gnostics in antiquity, he credits Ma'at with the genesis of the feminine Jewish Wisdom in the concept of Homkah, which in turn informs the Gnostic heroine Sophia (no doubt that the Gnostics also had contact with the people and ideas of Kemet, i.e., the Nag Hammadi library being hid there, and the Coptics having so much in common with the Gnostics).
But here's the rub I've yet to grok. No doubt, for the Gnostics, Sophia is holy, sought after, and exalted. But "it was her ungovernable yearning to know the Depth or Bythos...that was...the cause for dis-ease within the Pleroma, or fullness of the godhead, and the indirect cause of the material cosmos." (Churton, p.243)
For some gnostics, this looks bad. Gnostics strive for unity, and creation is the very splitting up of the Unity that is the Pleroma, or Jacob Bohme's Ungrund. In the Kemetic system, as far as my understanding goes, creation is good - especially according to my reading of Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods by Dimitri Meeks and Christine Favard-Meeks. Isfet, if I understand the ideas here and in my reading, works against creation. So Sophia did act as Ma'at in resolving and keeping creation by wanting to understand it? I know Ma'at works to keep things "orderly" and existing, as it were, but I was fascinated by the connection made in this text from Ma'at to Sophia.      
Sat Hethert-Sekhmet, meryt Bast-Mut her Set.
Devoted to Khonsu

Offline Seshagemseger

  • Divined Remetj
Re: what Ma'at and isfet may or may not be
« Reply #29 on: December 08, 2010, 04:27:06 pm »
I don't really know much about Gnosticism, but trying too hard to connect one mythos with another usually leads to frustration of one kind or another. :)
Child of Seshat
Beloved of Hethert, Serqet, and Shu
seshat.org / Facebook / LiveJournal

 


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