Promethean enlightenment: The Fall

In fire we are born. In fire, we shall be remade.

For nothing have we pitiful men of the west shaken off the shackles of papal oppression and dogma, only to become entangled with the broken chains left in its wake. Under new guises the old beliefs once again reestablished themselves and barely a soul noticed. These new-thinkers of utilitarianism and egalitarianism, even the communists; all have proven to be nothing more than waxwork copies – a Tussaud identity parade. How long must we continue to stumble over our own feet in our attempt to stand upright? For is that – has that – not been the pursuit of man from our first awakening? Yet time and again we prove ourselves unworthy to possess that elusive prize that we egotistically label “truth“.

Have we learnt nothing from the failures of past generations? Failures! Yes, for what else can we label them? Each succession of thinkers or “actors” (to use the word as an antithetical term to the former) have done nothing but edge ourselves closer to an infinity. The modern mathematicians will tell us the impossibility of that task! One wonders how we can continue to tolerate this self-fraud simply for the preservation of an aged ideal. When will we realize that each generation is plagued with the same exact problems man has faced since he first stepped out the cave, burning branch in hand. We side step like crabs towards an unreachable goal, when the true destination is before us – and within reach!

The spirit of man, a thing birthed in an uncharted age before letters or speech. Kindled in that primal serendipity. Gifted from the hands of Prometheus, and paid for with Ichor and toil. All myth and subsequent history has been nothing but a slow, lethargic awakening. But how desperate we have been to hold ourselves back! How terrifying that first glimpse of the abyss of truth must have been to early man when he lit that first flame: so much so, we have been running from it ever since!

Prometheus’s gift was a double-edged blade. It represented a force of unbridled chaos, harnessed for the manifestation of order. What had once been man’s great enemy, the ravaging forest fire, the wrath of the gods given form; now tamed, now his greatest ally. But the gift offered not guidance, but opportunity. The choice of how to wield the flame was left in the hands of that blind and fearful creature. Would it wield it as a weapon – the prodigious torch? Or, would it build a campfire, that predecessor to all social communion – a primal agora! Before fire, man was nothing more than an apex predator, it’s animalistic will to survive the dominant and central thought that motivated it’s every action. Schopenhauer was 10,000 years too late! Upon the blessing of the titan, we became something so much more. It could be seen as this moment that awakened a higher sense of purpose, the will to survival broadening it’s scope – now a will to power. Man no longer had to fear the dark, nor the predators that roamed within it. No longer was man enslaved to the cycle of days and nights. It was this moment when man realised it’s own dominance over nature.

And, like any peoples oppressed for millennia, only to be given power, the revolution was bloody. Man exerted it’s will upon the world it a plethora of dichotomies. War and peace, hate and love, build and destroy. Fire is ying, but also yang; man’s will decided what had once been the right of nature. It was here that the race, once unified in fear of the dark, branched out into what can only be considered two distinct species of man; ones that have been at war in societies and politics ever since!

The torch-bearers. Individualists, that strove to use the flame to take back the world from the savage beasts. They feared nothing, for fear itself – the ravaging flame – was theirs to command.

The camp followers. To them fire did not so much change as enhance what already was. They continued to huddle in their caves as they always had done, but now, the fire kept them warm, safe, and free to attend to matters of community.

If the world had been left to the camp followers, we would still be living in caves. If left to the torch-bearers, it would have been destroyed.

Their union, this is what man had come to know as civilization. I use the past tense here, as what we elude to as civilization today is nothing more than a rebirth of the savage jungle. The torch-bearers are an endangered species, hunted by a new predator that far surpasses the threat presented by anything nature had to offer. A predator dressed in the garbs of man, with the name of civilization upon his lips. The camp has grown large in the millennia, suffocating, it no longer remains bound to the confines of the cave. One by one, the torch-lights are going out. Little by little, the night closes in once more. Perhaps indeed, we can consider the last thousand years of history to be nothing more than man returning to his cave, only to realize the fire has gone out and its safety gone with it…

To be continued in Promethean Enlightenment: The Rise…

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