Friday, September 26, 2008

The State of Humanity

I have realised that if Prometheus were to suddenly appear today, after centuries of being bound, I am sure he would think we are in a pretty sorry mess. After all, he was the person who tried to prevent any ills besetting us. He failed in this and now he will see the end results. This will surely be a bitter/sweet experience. This aspect of the myth will give me an opportunity to examine the state of humanity. I don't want the book to be a polemic, but I do feel it is a significant aspect that I cannot ignore. It will be tricky to get the balance right, I can see that.

The other thing that has come to me, is that, in psychological terms, Prometheus clearly represents all that makes us essentially human. His name of "forethought" is so evocative. Forethought requires: memory, intelligence and imagination. Without these we would be little more than apes. Also, the fact he bought man "fire" is so profound. Fire is light, heat and comfort in the dark. Spiritually it represents enlightenment, the word of god, etc. All this comes from Prometheus. But why, in order to bring such solace, should he have to suffer so? What in us must likewise suffer in order to bring light to our inner darkness? The myth is telling me something here that I do not understand.

I have also been considering the female soldier that Prometheus becomes involved with in the novel. As P represent the heavenly, more fiery, aspects of ourselves, so she represents the more earthly, animal, instinctive aspects. She also has to represent ordinary mankind in general in comparison to his singular, god like, nature. It will be interesting to see how they get on.

It is enjoyable and instructive to delve into all this. However, I am aware that it will all have to be left behind when I begin to write what will be in essence a love story. The results of this pondering will have to appear by osmosis, not force.


Debi said...

This is all so fascinating. You're right, the trick is going to be blend all this into the narrative but meanwhile I'm glad you're enjoying the process of examining all the layers of meaning.

Chris Vacano said...

I talked before about what we learn from Prometheus. You're now getting to the other side of the question: what Prometheus learns from us... or looked at a different way, what Prometheus shows us about ourselves. I would submit to you that it's right in front of you: humanity muddles along, with or without Prometheus. To borrow from Tolkein's observation about hobbits, we're made of sterner stuff than anybody might have imagined.

Deus ex machina is a great literary device, but not so common in the real world. Our lives, including tragedies and triumphs, are typically much more mundane... and that's okay. The key lesson, in my opinion, is that humanity soldiers on, regardless of the circumstances.

To the other question of why the punishment/suffering to get to the "light"... I'm not sure. Perhaps we need the duality to give clarity and definition: good needs evil, black needs white, etc. Then again, maybe the suffering is something of a requisite in our own minds to add nobility and purpose to the victory that follows. This is a good question to explore. I think you may have the opportunity to intertwine an existential crisis here for your Prometheus character that maybe finds its resolution in the love story.

Once again, just my long-winded $0.02. :)

Be well.


Meloney Lemon said...

Long time no see R!
An inspired theme and a blog that puts many things into perspective.
Thanks for sharing it all with us.

Urk that sounds like a Primary School assembly theme. Sudden vision of The League of Gentlemen. Absoutely no idea why......

It's lovely to be able to keep in touch again X

Rich said...

Thanks for observations. Its all grist to the mill. I can see that the woman's part will be just as complex as Prometheus. She has to be both mundane and noble as you indicate Chris. Must give her a name soon, I can't keep saying, the woman!