Friday, March 20, 2015

Abstract Place Holders in the Sensen Papyrus and Hashing: Another Computer Science Analogy

In my strugglings to articulate what I am talking about here in this blog, I have gone way out of my way to try to accommodate some people.  I have thought about many types of analogies to try to express what my theory is about.  I have gone out of my way to explain how my theory has in common with other theories in an effort to show that many of the principles that I have shown here have actually been espoused by other researchers and some of this is not all that new or strange.  Some people confuse what I am saying as either some kind of encoding or some kind of encryption in the Sensen Papyrus.  The thing is, encodings can be unencoded, and encryption can be decrypted, and give you meaningful information and restore to you that which was hidden.  This thing here in the Sensen Papyrus as a source for characters for use with the Book of Abraham is vaguely similar but different.  The key here is that it is a one-way thing.  I wish people could get past the idea of using the word encodings for it because that is just the wrong idea.  I will pull another rabbit out of a hat and get technical here since it seems like this is what it will take for some people, but I doubt that they will "get it" without being a programmer, or a technical person of some sort.  This is the usage of abstract symbols with external context-helpers.  That isn't really an encoding.  This is just plain different, and it is not an encoding.  An encoding means that something can be unencoded.  This is something more along the lines in computer programming called a "hash" that is only a one way thing.  The relationship of the literal thing to the symbol can be seen only if the literal thing is known, not the other way around.  In other words, this is totally a one way thing, like hashing.  If you care to see the technical difference between encoding and hashing, here is this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptographic_hash_function

https://danielmiessler.com/study/encoding_encryption_hashing/

If you know the literal or original value of a hash, you can check it against the hash and you can see that it fits with the hash.  But the hash cannot be reversed.  The hash itself can give you no information about the thing that produced it or the thing that it is a place-holder for.  You can only see that it fits with the hash by having that literal or original information or value and checking it with the hash.

So, with the Book of Abraham, this is where someone uses a symbol dynamically to represent something that it has something in common or common attributes with, in a derivative composition.  there was nothing in the document to be detected because the things that could give you clues to it were outside the document and were not passed down.  And so, no, it was not deciphered in that way.  The "glossary" or table of values was revealed to a seer, a reconstitution of this ancient derivative document, and that is what made it useful to us.  It is not useful without things external to it.  Without the "glossary," you cannot see how the abstract symbols relate to the things they are meant to represent.  Once you have the glossary, then the relationships between the symbols and the things they are made to represent become evident.  I have shown the relationships to the symbols and their assigned meanings, and in every case, there are three facts:  1) The symbol doesn't LITERALLY mean what the assigned meaning says it means.  2) The symbol always shares attributes with the thing it represents, so they are tied together with the attributes they share in common.  3) You can see the relationship of the concrete or literal value to the abstract representation which becomes evident when you have both, but like a hash, it only goes one way, and so, if you only have the abstract symbol, you cannot re-create or re-constitute the literal or concrete value it was made to represent.   It is, in effect, sealed without a key or table of value assignments or legend or whatever you wish to call it.

Examples:
(1) Osiris = Abraham.  Osiris mythologically shares many attributes that Abraham had literally.

(2) Reed Symbol, or Egyptian uniliteral Letter I = Land of the Chaldees.  the vocalization in the KEP is Chalsidonhiash, which is Joseph Smith's vocalization for the Kassite place name Karduniash, which is southern Babylonia, (i.e. Land of the Chaldees).  The Sumerian name of the place was Land of Reeds, or Kiengi, which is how it appears in their pictographic writings in the cuneiform.  So as you can see, Abraham was from the Land of Reeds, and the reed symbol was used to represent it pictographically.  On its own, the reed symbol is the letter I, and means nothing.  But when a glossary or table of meaning assignments is given, you can see that an abstraction (reed) was a suitible symbol to be used for a concrete value assignment (land of reeds).  and when you know the general meaning of Egyptian hieroglyph, and you can see a meaning assignment that is meaningful that manifests what the abstract symbol has in common with its meaning assignment, you can see through simple reasoning that it is not literally saying land of reeds.  It is however a suitable abstract symbol to represent land of reeds when you have that value assigned to it.

(3) Khnum-Ra = Kolob.  Khnum-Ra is the God of creation and Kolob is the first creation.  they share a thematic attribute making the abstract symbol (Khnum-Ra) a suitible place-holder or representation of Kolob through that theme:  creation.

And the list goes on and on and on.  They all share the same pattern:  non-literal symbol with attributes in common with the concrete value assignment making it a suitable symbol to represent the thing that it is made to represent as long as you have the thing that is the context helper, the thing that gives the value assignment to the abstract symbol.  By itself, the symbol doesn't have enough to offer anyone to help them understand what concrete or literal meaning should be applied to it without the thing that gives it meaning that is an external table of meaning assignments or glossary.  So, it is basically a one-way hash, not an encryption, and not an encoding.

Now look at this previous post:
http://egyptianalphabetandgrammar.blogspot.com/2015/02/compression-of-information-in.html

As is noted in this post in the quotation from a poster on a message board knowledgeable about pictographic systems, some writing systems like the Aztec system, context is given by some symbols that are kind of set apart having the function of giving context.  In the case of the regular Egyptological system of reading an Egyptian document (i.e. what it actually "says", which is different from the system I am suggesting here), determinative characters are given that give people clues to help people understand the type of context that is intended.  On the other hand, when someone "recycles" or "repurposes" a document like this, because they have some kind of "attachment" to it, or some kind of veneration making it holy in some religious way, they make up an elaborate system for it like is found in the KEP, to pretty much "magically" come to life with dynamic usage that was not intended by its original author.  Some different Egyptians, perhaps from some sect that was into some sort of syncretism that regarded Abraham and other Hebrew patriarchs as something that was super-hero esque (like Ryan Larsen suggests), or almost god-like, came along after the fact and repurposed it.  These individuals happened to know the story of Abraham or had in their hands an actual copy of the Book of Abraham that actually "reads" the same way ours does according to our English version in some ancient language, perhaps Egyptian, or perhaps some Semitic language, and they decided it would be a neat religious trick to make up a system to apply the symbolism of this document to the story.  Now, since the original author did not intend it to be used this way necessarily, this required some kind of "trick" so to speak.  So someone with enough creativity and time on their hands repurposed these symbols.

It boils down to us not having a "glossary" of all of them, and also, they are in effect pictographic in this usage.  Each character in the text of the Sensen Papyrus is like a little facsimile on its own, with its own context anyway.  They represent the themes from the sections of text of the Book of Abraham (since in the BOA manuscripts they are section markers for the sections of text that they contain a theme for), but they do not represent the text itself, or in other words, they do not have all of the information from the text "packed" in them or encoded in them.  Because there is no context helpers in the characters from the "text" itself.  The context-giving information is all external to the document.  Joseph Smith in giving us the KEP and the Facsimiles Explanations.  It gets even more complex where this system has "dissection" of symbols, like each hieratic or hieroglyphic is dissected in pieces following the tradition of dissecting the Wedjat Eye, where, like the wedjat eye sections are fractions, each section of hieratic or hieroglyphic becomes its own symbol with its own meaning, all imposed on it after the fact.  The orginal author never meant the text to be used this way.  this book, like the book of the dead, was holy and venerated, and magical, and so, a creative, dynamic system was invented to harness its magic in magically and dynamically using its symbols for other contexts.

This is no different than the Hebrews thinking that the characters of their alphabet are holy and powerful, and using them in creative ways like acrostics in the Psalms.  In fact, in some ways, this usage of Sensen Papyrus characters resembles an acrostic.

Again, this is not a submerged cryptogram or anything.  The context helpers for this thing are all external to the document.  Again, the closest thing in computer science or cryptography to this is Hashing.  It is a one-way thing.  Once you have the meaning or value in hand, you can see the relationship to the place-holder or hash.  But the place-holder or hash is a one-way trip.  It presents no information in itself that helps you know what it ought to be.  So you need the key or external context helper or table of meaning assignments, or glossary or legend.  Whatever term you choose to call this thing that is external to the document containing the symbols.  It is critical.  Otherwise you have to be a seer.

Again, its not concealed in the document.  It is repurposing of the characters using "glossaries" or context helpers outside the text.  This was not "transmitted" in this form because again, this document by itself is nothing more than a funerary document.  Yet, it was holy and venerated, and meant enough to somebody culturally or religiously to put this kind of work into this.  This is one of the many contexts it could be repurposed in.  And so, this is useful for the book of Abraham in its context with an external table of meaning assignments or "glossary" as you say.  And we would not have this glossary of the KEP and the Facsimiles Explanations without revelation.  If something like these existed in ancient times, its a possibility, but they may have just had all this information in their heads.  What makes it meaningful is that ancient people were doing it, and Joseph Smith "restored" this by giving us a "glossary" for it, and then translated the actual text of the story and information that it was used to represent.