Prometheus

Prometheus is my pseudonym for this blog. I expect that the vast majority of you are aware that in Greek mythology Prometheus was the titan who stole fire and gave it to man. For this crime he was chained to a mountain and beset upon by an eagle who pecked at his liver every day for a good amount of time. This story parallels the story of Adam, Eve, and the forbidden tree of knowledge, Fire being an ideal symbol for knowledge: powerful, dangerous, and helpful.

“Prometheus” literally means “forethought.” he had a brother, Epimetheus, which means “afterthought,” or more figuratively “hindsight.” In Plato’s conception of the myth, the two brothers were responsible for crafting animals on the earth. Epimetheus began distributing attributes needed for survival to the animals: claws, teeth, fur, and so on. because he lacked foresight he ran out of gifts by the time he got to man, so prometheus decided that fire would be be Man’s attribute.

Mary Shelley’s book Frankenstein is less well known by its second name, The Modern Prometheus. I need not explain how Frankenstein relates to Prometheus, and the monster to humankind, I only want to point out that the figure of Prometheus does not lose value over time, and to the contrary becomes more important with every advance, from electricity to nuclear power to iPhones. As we approach the singularity I can think of no better figure to contemplate.

-Prometheus

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