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11 Taiwan Ghost Research Chapter 10 The Concepts about Tombs and Souls 鬼學 第十章 墓葬與魂靈觀念

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發表於 2018-12-3 22:13:27 | 顯示全部樓層 |閱讀模式
Taiwan Ghost Research Chapter 10  The Concepts about Tombs and Souls

Author :Chang Kai-Chi      張開基

translation:北展昭

(You are welcomed to share or reprint but please indicate the source and author)

"Language" is the initial ideographic tool. Compared with other animals' gestures, expressions, and screaming presentations, human languages are really ever-changing and incredible.

Since human brain capacity and intelligence had highly expanded, the predation became more superb. Not only it could be fully self-protected in the environment could also deprive more foods with tool improvement and invention. The populations of human beings were rapidly growing and social structure became complicate.

The needs relied on a greater amount of more detailed communication and coordination for urgent requirements such as languages. Under such circumstances, human vocal organs and vocabulary as well as grammar and gestures were developed in an incredibly short period (compared to the history of dinosaurs and the millions years of human history from erect primates). It was an explosive development.

In the meantime, language, thinking, memory and imagination also complemented with each other.

"Imagination" provides human beings with the ability to plan ahead and predict the possible future crises and needs. Therefore, there are concepts and habits of "grains and drinking water storage". These led humans slowly change their fishing/hunting or nomadic styles into stable farming and animal husbandry era.

Since the farming era started the "civilization” and it continued into the current civilization.

The earliest "burial" of humans began in the late Paleolithic period but the acts were not from ritual or spiritual concepts.

It should be said that many animals (including human beings) will have sad feelings about the death relatives or companions. Animal own sorrowful instinct but only humans have "burial acts".

At the beginning, it should be the corpse left in wilderness became the food of other scavengers (including consumed the decaying meat human in remote era) and the live ones didn't want to watch it rotten.  Seems they wanted to keep the last appearance as the final mourning or they would get eaten by the scavengers. So it was a simple and effective way to bury.

It is difficult to know exactly when the concept of human "spiritual souls" begins. However, Egypt had relevant written records around 6,000 years ago: after the death of the Pharaoh, his body would be made into a mummy and enclosed in a huge pyramid.  Ancient Egyptians believed soul would travel via solar boat and reuse his original body in thture.

However, this is different from the concept of "Revolving Around (reincarnation) " developed by the Indian "Brahman". The concept of the Egyptian ancients was only aboutlimited "rebirth" and the original "body" (mummy) was still reuse.

However, from archaeological evidences, the concept of spiritual existence after human death must precede the Egyptian civilization, because "Witch" (Shaman) had existed in the more ancient tribes.  And the main work of the wizards was to be a communication channel between tribes/gods and the spirituality of all things in the natural.

In fact, the Chinese word "Witch" is very expressive and hardly any change in Oracle and "Small Seal Scripts" until present days.  It is easy to catch the meaning of 「巫」: the  upper horizontal is the sky, the next horizontal is the ground and the middle shows two small people are kneeling in for praying.

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The concept of "everything had souls" may be earlier than the notion of "soul after death" and "ancestral soul".

Because humans first realized that they lived in the nature of this world and so small and incompetent, especially in completely unfamiliar nature, from wind and rain, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, forest fires and even the attacks of viper and beasts which were all making human beings tremble and fearful.   Lack of weapons and housing protection, human beings had to extremely fear about all things in nature.

In the original thought, everything in the heavens/earth and the power of nature were all adhered with the "personification". The mountains and the earth, the wind and the thunder with lightning, etc. are regarded as nature was a giant or a god that cannot be confronted. Therefore, human beings not only be awe-inspiring but more cautiously worship and serve under the state of infinite power.  The human emotions and sorrows were not worth mentioning and life and death were merely the volatility and sorrow in one blinking of eyes. Therefore, to live safely would definitely be more important than "what will happen after death?"  So at least for a long period of time, humans did not notice the "post-death" affairs.

Inside ancient tombs sometimes were found about funerary objects and were interpreted as "there was a soul after death". In fact, this statement is not true.

It could be sure that the funeral customs of living people and livestock were related to the concept of "after death world". However, funerary objects in tombs cannot be arbitrarily proved to be related to "post-death world" or "spirit concept" concepts.

In some ancient human tombs, the burial objects such as bows and arrows (male's) and spindles (female's) but these could not be immediately and arbitrarily said those purposes were to be use in another world after death.

Suppose the bow and the spindle were real products, not imitations then the original intention of the funeral may not just for memorization but also under the conditions of material abundance. Otherwise if the tools were not easy to make and practical tools should be passed on to future generations or taken by other tribes and not used to be buried.

In the series of articles on "Taiwan Ghost Research", I have already mentioned that in the "burial" of prehistoric times in China:  I found that there was a deliberate piercing on the cover of some corpse/bone collection jars. Archaeologists thought that it was "for the sake of the death of the soul", so the proof was already a soul concept in that era.

This should be correct but it cannot be proved that there was a soul concept related to "whether there is an ancestral "soul/ghost worship".

Since there is the concept of "born as a servant, death as a rest" then death as a "ghost" (return), returning to the hometown with the earlier deceased ancestors to reunite so could rest forever. To working hard and afterwards had the official farewell with this world and no longer had any entanglement or involvement. So the descendants  only memorized and remembered and no need to beg ancestors anything. Therefore, "ancestor worship" or "ghost worship" will not be formed at the same time as the concept of the after-death world

However, the concept of "death as a ghost", "returning to the hometown", "born as a servant, death as a rest", etc., and the communication of "witch", yin and yang, were inextricably linked to the development of languages and the expansion of imagination. These abilities also contributed to the deformation and transformation of the "ghost" afterwards.

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