Myth, Magic and Self-Preservation.

The Sundays of July have been spent in Egypt. Here’s the trailer for NatGeo’s special, The Golden Age of Egypt. This looks to be the schedule of the show in the US because here in Asia we’re only getting to watch this now. In any case, wow. What a revelation these shows turned out to be. I still haven’t let go of that inkling to drop everything, get a degree in Archaeology and learn to write in heiroglyphics. But since I can’t keep up with my childhood, I’ll settle for Sundays (or any day, really) spent watching these shows.

The only thing I regret is having seen the latest episode on King Tut’s Curse and how scientists debunked it. As a child, I was reared on NatGeo pop-up books because Gramps lived in Washington, near the headquarters. He bought me a total of six books that were roughly twelve pages each with topics ranging from the weather to lost civilizations. Pompeii and King Tut were my favorite pages. I loved them so much the “pull-outs” softened on acount of too much pulling. Anyway, suffice it to say that they were beautiful books that instilled in me an appreciation for long lost things and people.

Teaching these now (to high-schoolers, no less) seems incomplete without telling the stories of these great places. Forget the facts and the dates but remember the wonder of your first real historical mystery and I guarantee, the magic will live on no matter how hard you try to shake it off. You’ll never look at the world the same way again. You’ll also find that perhaps keeping King Tut’s curse alive would have been the best way to respect his memory along with all the other pharaohs whose mummies we place on display and poke at without hesitation. It’s for science, for knowledge, for truth–whatever your angle might be, it still doesn’t change the fact that we’re disturbing the dead. We’re so enamored that we have to build beautiful museums just to display them and keep them as real as they were when they still roamed the earth. It’s true, forgetting is a crime and remembering is the one sure road to immortality. And on that same note, maybe we can say something too about our mummified childhoods?

Keeping the magic and lore alive and mixing myth with fact might make lesser historians of us all but I daresay it might make us happier, more imaginative people who can look beyond ourselves, out onto this wonderful world we inhabit. The tediousness of preserving a myth isn’t just a matter of tradition but it ought to be an obligation fulfilled in honor of our younger selves. We die slowly everyday and the older we get the more we need the magic to fight off despair. The more we need the myth to craft reality.

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