To begin with, I’d like to share a little backstory. I’ve had a sneaking premonition that letters have their own meanings, much like how a word has a meaning. A word represents an idea, and I believe letters performed the same function on a more basic level, representing much broader ideas. Consider the Greek letter “Alpha”. “Alpha” is often used to denote the beginning or the greatest. I believe letters, each representing a basic idea, were put together to form words, much like words are put together to form sentences. To elaborate on the “Alpha” example, the Bible often mentions Alpha and Omega together to represent the first and the last, the beginning and the end, or, in other words, “the one and only”. Just as sentences represent more complicated ideas by combining words, and words represent smaller ideas by themselves, I suspect letters represent even simpler ideas still. I do not believe all words contain such deep meaning in the order of their letters, but there are many that I believe do.
Since my studies into this theory are young and very incomplete, I won’t share any examples of words with letters ordered in a deeper meaning other than the word that has inspired this paper’s title. The word that I wish to expound upon is the word “LEVEL”. Now, strangely, this word illustrates the very idea it is trying to portray. That is, it is a pictograph of instructions on how to determine if something is level. Let me break down the word into its letters and explain what little I have learned concerning their meanings.
Let us first examine the letter “L”. In certain symbology, this symbol, or letter, represents a square. I don’t mean a box-shaped square, but more like an architect’s square or a contractor’s square that is used to draw right angles or to make sure two surfaces have a ninety-degree angle between them.
Next, consider the letter “V”. In symbology, this symbol represents a compass; not the kind of compass that points North, South, East or West, but the kind of compass architects use to draw perfect circles.
And finally, let’s examine the letter “E”. Currently, I am under the impression that this symbol represents the space between two points. Imagine the top and bottom lines of a capital “E” as the points in question, the tall vertical line represents the spanning space between the points, and the middle line is indicating to the line spanning the points. It could roughly mean “the space between”.
With this understanding of these symbols, let us now consider their positions within the word. You’ll notice the “L’s”, or squares, are on the ends. The “V”, or compass, is centered. And the “E’s” span the gaps between the squares and the compass. Before proceeding further, we need to envision the compass in a different form but still performing a similar function. Instead of being a couple of pointed implements hinged together such as what is used for graphing, imagine the compass as a stake hammered into the ground with a string or line tied to it and an etching implement at the other end of the line. To draw a circle, the line would be stretched tight from the stake and the etcher would be pulled around the stake along the furthest reaches of the line. With this compass and the customary square, we are ready to determine if a surface is level.
Let us first try applying these tools to preparing a large foundation for a grand structure, like a pyramid, for example. Before we do that, we should dispel a misconceived notion. It is believed by some that the foundations of the pyramids were prepared by digging the foundation and setting stakes in a grid pattern throughout the foundation grounds. The foundation would then be flooded by water and the distance between the ground and the water surface on the stake would indicate if the ground was too high or low in that spot. The problems with this idea are 1) the measurements would need to be made on a perfectly still day and without anyone stepping into the water, since any wave or ripple would skew the measurements, and 2) over such a large distance, the water would not be truly level since it is very susceptible to the earth’s gravitational pull and would, therefore, conform to the curvature of the earth. Consequently, I believe this technique could not have been employed with such grand results as what still stands today. However, I do believe stakes were set in a grid pattern for leveling in a different method.
I believe the first stake was set at the center of the foundation and a plumb-line was used to make sure it was perfectly vertical. Then a string or a line would be tied to it near its base at the desired height. The line would be pulled tight in the direction of where the next stake should go. Then two squares would be used, one at the center stake and one at the new stake, and the squares would be held against the stakes. The new stake would be adjusted until the line between the stakes was parallel with the bottoms of both squares and the vertical portion of the squares were parallel with the stakes, thereby guaranteeing that the stakes were parallel to each other and that the line could be trusted as a guide to determine if the ground between the stakes was level. The process would continue, each new stake being measured against the previous one. Each succeeding stake would claim its integrity through an ancestry of previously set stakes whose vertical measurement could be traced back to the original stake, thereby ensuring the entire foundation was level. What’s more is that the stakes could be checked crossways or in any other direction of the compass to ensure their trueness and to check the level of the ground beneath the string stretched between any two stakes. To increase accuracy, three stakes could be used with the line stretching across all three stakes and squares being used at each one. This could be considered equivalent or at least similar to reducing the margin of error. Ultimately, a line would be stretched across the entire surface, with the center point acting as the compass, to check the overall result. If the line is square to the stakes at two opposite sides of the foundation and square to the center stake, then the bottom of the pyramid along that line would be perpendicular to the direct gravitational pull at its x-axis center, thereby being deemed “LEVEL”. This step would be repeated around the compass with all opposite points at the edges of the foundation. The reason for not going straight to measuring across the entire surface would be fear of the line sagging over such a great distance. If the line were sagging across the entire foundation, then the foundation would end up being concave, which would be the opposite problem of what using water would present.
A variation of this same technique could also be used to check the straightness of a wall or ceiling or even the sides of a stone block, which would explain how the surfaces in the main chambers of the pyramids are so straight and how the outer stones could be so close to each other that a knife blade cannot fit between them.
So, if squares were the primary instruments of checking a level surface, how were the squares made? The Pythagorean Theorem holds the answer. Take two straight edges, attach one end of one to the end of the other, and adjust the angle until a^2+b^2=c^2. Check a straight edge against a taut line.
The reader may be wondering why an English word is being applied to Egyptian architecture. Is there any connection between the word “LEVEL” and ancient Egypt? No, not at all. But I do believe that the order of letters meant something to someone at sometime and somehow the original meaning was lost, though the form of the word was preserved. So, why did I apply this to the pyramids? Well, because, like so many other people, I often wonder how the pyramids were built, and it was at the back of my mind when I discovered the hidden meaning in the word “LEVEL”. And so the two thoughts unavoidably crashed into each other. The end.