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devoted to exploring the attributes of Ptah, the great god of Memphis: “Ptah,
the great,6 is the heart and tongue of the gods.7 The Power of his heart and his
tongue come into existence from within him [Ptah].”8 The “heart” is Horus;
the “tongue” is Thot. The “heart” (leb in Hebrew) is “life” (Ankh), the vital
energy, the concreteness of the corporeality, flesh (basar in Hebrew), the “con-
tent” of the “tongue.” In contemporary terms we could describe Horus as asso-
ciated with the underlying affective drives and motor impulses, and with the
ethical- practical consciousness that punctually and self- consciously “remem-
bers” each act of the life of a human being and which is judged by Osiris—
since it is also the “heart” of the dead that is placed on the scales of judgment
in order to take a measure of its good works. Horus is “the creator of all works,
of every artifact, of what is made by the hand, of what grows; what is inherent
in the movement of every member in accordance with the mandate, and with
the word.”9 We could say then that Horus is also akin to Ptah, recalling what
Schopenhauer said: the Being is Will, Potency, Power. Ptah is Horus. But Ptah
is equally Thot, the “tongue.” This tongue is the origin of the Hebrew dabar
and of the Greek logos, without a doubt—both cultures, the Hebrew and the
Greek, are cultures of the periphery, of a secondary character, and heirs of
Egyptian philosophical and ontological discoveries: “He [Thot] is the tongue,
which repeats the designs of the heart.10 Oh Thot . . . you fulfill my needs with
bread and beer, and guard my mouth when I speak.”11 The “tongue” is the
word, but the word understood as a “mandate” or “order,” a practical, creative,
productive word. It is that practical reason which has “projects,” the thoughts
that the architect12 conceives in his or her mind before the structure has been
built: “The Word is the creator of every food that can be transformed into
an offering [to the gods]; the creator of that which is loved and that which is
hated; the giver of life to the one who diffuses peace and of death to the one
who is guilty.13 It is Thot, the one who is imbued with wisdom, who is iden-
tical with Ptah, after he has created all things, every hieroglyphic, when the
gods and villages have been formed.”14 He is the creative, organizing Word,
the judge of the cosmos: “criterion (criterion),” law, and tribunal.
Let these short reflections serve to indicate that it is necessary to break out
of the Hellenocentric Prussian tunnel in philosophy, in order to open our-
selves up to the wide horizon of philosophical suggestions of the cultures that
humanity has developed, in all of their plurality and diversity. My sense is that
Egypt, perhaps more successfully than the Greeks and the moderns, produced
an ethics that was more balanced between the material (Horus) and the dis-
cursive (Thot), and that this might be capable of teaching us something. In
the end, both the Greeks and the Semites (especially the Hebrews, the Chris-
tians, and the Muslims) are their descendants.
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