Stone Washington
Prometheus and the flames of the future
FacebookTwitter
By Stone Washington
August 3, 2015

"For seeing they saw not, and hearing they understood not, but like shapes in a dream they wrought all the days of their lives in confusion."

"It is an easy thing for one whose foot is on the outside of calamity to give advice and to rebuke the sufferer."

~
Prometheus, Prometheus Bound

In ancient Greek mythology Prometheus was a supernatural creature born of the Titan Iaeputus and Clymene an Oceanid. The name Prometheus comes from the Greek word "forethought." Prometheus was born alongside his brothers Atlas, Menoetius, and Epimetheus as second generation Titans preceding the gods. After many fierce battles the Titans are defeated by Zeus after he frees his Olympian brothers and sisters from the clutches of his father Cronus, and imprisons the other Titans in Tartarus. Prometheus was spared imprisonment because of his aid to Zeus in battle, for he joined the god because he foresaw his victory.

Prometheus' Gift of Fire

For the creation of humans and animals upon the earth Zeus chooses Prometheus (forethought: always thinking of future events to come) and his younger brother Epimetheus (afterthought: always recounting on events past). All creatures were formed out of clay by Prometheus and Epimetheus was given the task of providing these creatures tools for survival such as: swiftness, cunning, strength, fur, and wings. But unfortunately for Prometheus by the time Epimetheus was done distributing these qualities to all the animals and insects, there was nothing left to give to man. Prometheus greatly cared for man, invested in developing humankind into a wise and productive race of creatures. So Prometheus, witnessing the Ice Age trapped mankind as savages groveling around the earth like animals, decided to strengthen man's resolve to stand upright like the gods and to give them the ultimate power: the gift of fire from Mount Olympus,

"If they only had fire," said Prometheus to himself, "they could at least warm themselves and cook their food; and after a while they could learn to make tools and build themselves houses. Without fire, they are worse off than the beasts."

One day Prometheus pleaded with Zeus to bring fire to earth, but Zeus rebuked the idea in fear of man rising to the level of the gods. He states,

"Not a spark will I give," said Jupiter. "No, indeed! Why, if men had fire they might become strong and wise like ourselves, and after a while they would drive us out of our kingdom. Let them shiver with cold, and let them live like the beasts. It is best for them to be poor and ignorant, that so we Mighty Ones may thrive and be happy."

Despite Zeus' arrogant indifference, Prometheus defies his command and ponders a way to bring fire to Earth without help from the gods. Walking by a shore line Prometheus finds a dry reed stalk which he presumes will hold a flame if ignited by a spark. Prometheus journeys toward the dwelling of the sun far East proclaiming, "Mankind shall have fire in spite of the tyrant who sits on the mountain top." As the sun chariot controlled by the god Helios pulls the large fiery orb through the sky, Prometheus lights the reed stalk to the sun and rushes down to earth carrying a bright spark inside the reed. On Earth Prometheus called all the shivering men and women from their caves revealing the flame to them, igniting wood, and teaching humans how to start fires with coals. All the families of men gathered around the fires in warmth and were happy and thankful toward Prometheus for his divine gift from the sun. Humankind learns to eat like superior creatures and live in the light of day as opposed to groveling in the caves like the beasts of the Earth.

Prometheus teaches men hundreds of survival tactics known to us today, such as, how to build houses of wood and stone, how to tame sheep and cattle for agricultural practices, how to plow and sow and reap, and even how to protect themselves from the elements and defend against wild animals. Lastly he taught men how to mine in the earth for metal and iron, showing how to melt material and fashion it into weapons. Enraged by the sight of man's progression, Zeus initially sought to punish mankind until Prometheus reassures him that there is good to man harnessing the power of fire. Prometheus then prompts men to burn and sacrifice the meat of animal remains to the gods, greatly satisfying Zeus and the Olympians. But over time mankind begins to develop hubris and uphold themselves as being important in the presence of the gods. People begin to trick Zeus by burning only the crude bones and lesser meaty portion of the sacrifice, keeping the rest for their consumption. The god of thunder is furious at this deception and captures Prometheus, while punishing mankind with the curse of curiosity and the first woman, Pandora.

Prometheus Bound

On a barren peak in the Caucasus, a mountain range that lies between the Black and Caspian seas, two demonic servants of Zeus, Might and Violence supervise Hephaestus, the god of craft and metal work. Might orders Hephaestus to chain Prometheus to a desolate rock in punishment of his crime of corrupting man with the gift of fire from Olympus. Hephaestus admits that he is caught between his honorable bond with Prometheus and his fear of Zeus. He chooses the latter of obedience toward the god of thunder and pronounces Prometheus' doom,

"I shall nail you in bonds of indissoluble bronze on this crag far from men. Here, you shall hear no voice of any mortal; here you shall see no form of mortal... For you, a god, feared not the anger of the gods, but gave honors to mortals beyond what was just. Wherefore you shall mount guard on this unlovely rock, upright, sleepless, not bending the knee."

Hephaestus concludes that Zeus is an unforgiving and tyrannical deity because of the newness of his power over gods and men. Prometheus is chained in tortured and uncomfortable positions to a barren rock and is mocked by Might saying, "You yourself need 'Forethought' to extricate yourself from this contrivance." Alone is his agony Prometheus calls forth the waters, the earth, and the sun to witness his torment which he must endure for 10,000 years. To add to his suffering everyday an eagle would fly in and eat out his exposed liver, only for the liver to regenerate again in a never ending cycle.

The daughters of the ocean cling to Prometheus' arm tearful and, like Hephaestus, frightened by the new tyrannical reign of Zeus. Prometheus wishes he could have been executed by Hades, god of the underworld, and not be forced to tolerate the mockery and insult of his enemies. Prometheus anticipates a time when Zeus will one day require his aid in battle to save his throne. The deity Ocean comes to Prometheus' side and he reminds him to hold his proud tongue and mend his ways before he loses any hope of redemption. But Prometheus reminds Ocean of Zeus' merciless punishment by bringing up his brothers: Typho wedged in between Mount Aetna by Zeus' thunderbolt, and Atlas, who is forced to bear the weight of the earth between the heavens. Finally Prometheus rehashes his crime. Despite his wounded ego he congratulates himself for his benevolence toward mankind. Prometheus reassures himself that Zeus is not almighty, as all beings must bow to the powers of the Fates and Furies. He also realizes that what truly imprisoned him was the hubris of man through exposing how the gods are not perfect beings. The gods are vulnerable creatures and can be exploited, such as when human beings demoted the wholeness of the sacrifices toward the gods to benefit themselves.

Soon a young maiden with bovine horns beckoned by a gadfly watchman journeys up the mountain beside Prometheus. Prometheus recognizes her as Io, one of many women who have slept with Zeus and provoked the wraith of Hera, queen of the gods. Io's girlish shape has been distorted into the form of a heifer as curse by Hera. Io eagerly seeks her future from Prometheus who tells her many details of where she will travel. He assures her that Zeus will receive his comeuppance by bearing the brunt of his conniving and be challenged by his own son. Zeus' only hope shall be Prometheus who will be freed from bondage by one of Io's descendants from the 13th generation (the mighty Hercules). The end of the prophecy links Prometheus' fate to Io's by one of her descendant daughters shall rebel against the gods and birth a race of kings, among them a skilled warrior archer who shall set Prometheus free. As Io departs, Prometheus gloats over his one trump card, the knowledge that Zeus shall sow the seeds of his own destruction. Prometheus then looks out upon the universe, awhirl with a sea of terrors and prays to mother earth for comfort.


Prometheus: Rockefeller Center (New York)

Prometheus for modern times

What helped inspire me to write this article on Prometheus was my father's essay on Prometheus as chronicled in his outstanding book, The Progressive Revolution, Vol. I and my recent trip to New York last month where my family and I explored the famous Rockefeller Center located blocks away from Times Square. In the center is a huge golden statue of Prometheus holding a ball of fire descending from Olympus wearing a ring of all the zodiac symbols around his waist. I believe Prometheus is the manifestation of Christ in Greek mythology. Prometheus blesses humanity with more than mere fire; he gives mankind the fire of Ideas, of Reason, Imagination, and Innovation that became essential to the survival of the human race. Jesus taught us the ways of peace through serving God and loving thy neighbor as thyself. As the Son of God he introduced the power to heal illnesses, handicaps, and cast out demons, becoming the hope for mankind's salvation. But despite the fact that both steered humanity away from the brink of doom, they were punished by the very people they sought to save. In Biblical pretense Zeus represents the Jewish authority that branded Jesus a blasphemer despite blessing the people with God's wisdom and healing, just as Prometheus was branded a traitor to Zeus despite teaching his creation to make sacrifices benefiting the gods. Prometheus suffered the pain of time by being chained to a rock while Jesus suffered the pain of the entire world's sin, being nailed to a cross.

This double standard imposed on these two legendary figures is very similar to the strict scrutiny modern day conservatives face from virtually every news outlet and political faction. The most obvious example would be the dense controversy surrounding Presidential candidate Donald Trump, a Promethean figure, who is surging in the polls as the number one Republican candidate. Despite his success as a hardened conservative and hyper successful multi-billionaire, he is on every Liberal news channel often mocked or called racist towards Mexicans simply because he seeks to deport illegal aliens, most of who happen to be Hispanic. Many Americans overlook and often underestimate Trump believing he wouldn't run for President, but he has, believing he would be at the bottom of the polls, but instead he's at the top, believing he doesn't have the Hispanic vote, when in fact he is well acquainted with the Hispanic community through his massive business empire. Even in the GOP's eyes Trump is a black sheep, but in reality he is a Prometheus, a light shining in a sea of darkness and political barbarity.

Another example of a modern day Prometheus would be my Father, Ellis Washington who has been Blacklisted and ignored by the Progressive Socialist establishment for over 30 years simply for speaking truth to power or what the Russian Prometheus, Alexander Solzhenitsyn said in his legendary 1978 Harvard Commencement Address: "Also, truth seldom is sweet; it is almost invariably bitter." Professor Ellis Washington has spoken truth as a Black Conservative when all others were afraid to and like Prometheus was punished for bestowing Enlightenment to the masses. This despite the fact that he has written 9 books, many of them accepted into the Chamber's Library of the Supreme Court and the last four dedicated to his intellectual mentor, Justice Clarence Thomas (another Prometheus figure despised by Black America and White Marxists). Why must good men be punished for good deeds? America, we must always venerate, respect and learn from Prometheus and from all of the Promethean figures from antiquity to modern times for Prometheus always brings forth fire which represent not only heat and warmth to conquer the Ice Age, but Ideas, Reason, Enlightenment, Morality, and civilizational gifts to be coveted and cherished generation after generation.


This essay is based in part on a synopsis of Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound contained in Mary Ellen Snodgrass, Cliffs notes on Greek Classics (Wiley Publishing, Inc), pp. 108-112; "Mythology: Prometheus." The Legend of Prometheus website.

© Stone Washington

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Stone Washington

Stone Washington is a PhD student in the Trachtenberg School at George Washington University. Stone is employed as a Research Fellow for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, focusing on economic policy as part of the Center for Advancing Capitalism. Previously, he completed a traineeship with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He was also a Research Assistant at the Manhattan Institute, serving as an extension from his time in the Collegiate Associate Program. During this time, he worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in Clemson's Department of Political Science and served as a WAC Practicum Fellow for the Pearce Center for Professional Communication. Stone is also a member of the Steamboat Institute's Emerging Leaders Council.

Stone possesses a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration from Clemson University, a Juris Master from Emory University School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Clemson University. While studying at Emory Law, Stone was featured in an exclusive JM Student Spotlight, highlighting his most memorable law school experience. He has completed a journalism fellowship at The Daily Caller, is an alumnus of the Young Leader's Program at The Heritage Foundation, and served as a former student intern/Editor for Decipher Magazine. Some of Stone's articles can be found at EllisWashingtonReport.com, which often provide a critical analysis of prominent works of classical literature and its correlations to American history and politics. Stone is a member of the Project 21 Black Leadership Network, and has written a number of policy-related op-eds for the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, The College Fix, Real Clear Policy, and City Journal. In addition, Stone is listed in the Marquis Who's Who in America and is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society. Friend him on his Facebook page, also his Twitter handle: @StoneZone47 and Instagram. Email him at stonebone20@att.net.

Subscribe

Receive future articles by Stone Washington: Click here

More by this author

March 30, 2024
Judge, jury, and regulator: Are SRO courts more of a threat than a benefit?


February 29, 2024
The political failings of ESG: Why 2024 is the year for policy reform


October 31, 2023
The SEC’s ethical breach as an 'amicus' against We the People before the Supreme Court


July 13, 2023
Special Counsel Durham delivers a special dose of reality on FBI corruption and weaponization


May 5, 2023
All “Bragg” and no bite: Why the New York DA’s case against Trump is 100% a political witch hunt


April 1, 2023
Congress cracks down on the weaponization of government


February 2, 2023
The Twitter files – Elon Musk’s takeover, and the exposé of big tech censorship


January 5, 2023
The Gulag Archipelago 50 years later– reassessing one of the greatest works of literary realism


More articles

 

Stephen Stone
HAPPY EASTER: A message to all who love our country and want to help save it

Stephen Stone
The most egregious lies Evan McMullin and the media have told about Sen. Mike Lee

Siena Hoefling
Protect the Children: Update with VIDEO

Stephen Stone
FLASHBACK to 2020: Dems' fake claim that Trump and Utah congressional hopeful Burgess Owens want 'renewed nuclear testing' blows up when examined

Randy Engel
A documentary: Opus Dei and the Knights of Columbus – The anatomy of a takeover bid, Part VI

Jerry Newcombe
Electoral College dropout?

Curtis Dahlgren
The "Hand of History" writes its own reply to arrogance

Pete Riehm
Our fallen fought not just for freedom but truth

Linda Kimball
Christendom and Protestant America’s apostasy into paganism: A timeline

Jim Wagner
Why the Left loves Allah

Randy Engel
A Documentary: Opus Dei and the Knights of Columbus – The anatomy of a takeover bid, Part V

Peter Lemiska
For Democrats, justice is a one-way street

Rev. Mark H. Creech
Billy Graham’s statue in the Capitol: What does it mean for the country?

Linda Goudsmit
CHAPTER 19: From sex education to sexuality education

Cliff Kincaid
Press Conference on America's 'Reefer Madness'

Jerry Newcombe
Throwing Israel under the bus
  More columns

Cartoons


Click for full cartoon
More cartoons

Columnists

Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
Fr. Tom Bartolomeo
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites