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Prometheus Carrying Fire, Jan Cossiers

Prometheus Carrying Fire, Jan Cossiers

Thomas Jefferson developed his view that “all men are created equal” from the perception of the infinity within each of us, which he learned from the Scottish philosophers, Reid and Hutcheson. (It was also from Hutcheson that Jefferson got his idea of “unalienable rights,” which Congress in the interest of stylistic elegance altered to “inalienable rights.”) The Scottish Enlightenment, like the French and English Enlightenment, was the beginning of the materialization and manifestation of the Judeo-Christian vision of the Heavenly City.

It was also this 18th Century Illuminati circle which introduced the concept of progress— the conscious formulation of the symbolism of Prometheus. This vision has been under so much attack in recent decades that to defend it all will seem archaic and eccentric to many readers.

Nonetheless, evolution is real: quantum jumps do occur throughout the biosphere and throughout human intellectual history. We are riding a mounting tidal wave of rising consciousness and expanding intelligence which is accelerating whether we like it or not.

By and large, most people– and especially most ruling elites– have not liked this acceleration factor. The migration of capital (i.e., ideas) Westward has been largely a flight from oppression, an escapist movement– as critics today describe Space as “escapist.” Everywhere, everywhen, the rulers of society have tried to put a brake on the third circuit, to decelerate the acceleration function, to establish limits on what was printable, discussable, even thinkable.

The Greek myth of Prometheus Bound– the Titan who brought Light to humanity and is eternally punished for it– is the synecdoche, the perfect symbol, of how the third circuit [reason] has been handled in most human societies.

Robert Anton Wilson,  Prometheus Rising (1983)

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(not too spoilery)

I’d love to see a Director’s Cut of Prometheus with 33 minutes of previously-deleted scenes- ideally scenes where we just get to hang with everyone, get to know them better, maybe peer into their professional-looking dream sequences a bit more.  Because for Heaven’s sake, if you’re going to drop dream-reading software into reel one, why not make a whole device out of it?  See what kind of elegantly-staged memories are floating around our supporting characters’ consciousnesses?  (Damon Lindelof wouldn’t just be re-hashing LOST, see, ’cause this time there’s an actual character with the actual technology to see other people’s flashbacks.  So it’s totally germane now.)

I forgave the often-inane logic- after all, it’s called Prometheus, it obviously wants to be mythic, and most myths are erupting at the gut with inane logic.  And yet, I yearned for a larger degree of humanity.  I was eager to befriend the crew of Prometheus, but Prometheus was just like that punk geologist who thought he was on a reality show contest: “I’m not here to make friends!”  (Elizabeth Shaw tried to make friends, yes, but our friendship was weakened by her superficially-explored faith.)  OK fine, Prometheus, be that way.  I was just really hoping I could own it on DVD one day, I’d watch it every couple-three years, and it would remind me how awesome it is to be agnostic- full of wonder, gratitude, and horror for what the universe has to offer.  (Or, as Stanley Kubrick so eloquently said in 2001: A Space Odyssey: “God…how the fuck are we supposed to know?”)

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