Prometheus Rebound

Eagle eating snakeIn embracing Prometheus, techno-optimists expunge Zeus’s succeeding curse, an omission that aligns right alongside their myopia around one of two of humanity’s sources of wealth.

Earth’s regenerative natural resources are clearly as necessary an input as human labor. Otherwise, ignoring we’d never have evolved in the first place, any cargo system organized around mutual aid, even resignified in opposition to the colonial enterprise, would be no better than breaking rocks.

As Hesiod retweeted the last real news cycle:

Son of Iapetus, surpassing all in cunning, you are glad that you have outwitted me and stolen fire — a great plague to you yourself and to men that shall be. But I will give men as the price for fire an evil thing in which they may all be glad of heart while they embrace their own destruction.

Pandora proved quite the problem and still serves on many a corporate board.

If Prometheus’s awful punishment still enrages us, myself included, our laudable empathy is buoyed by the very religiosity against which we rail. Zeus, my fellow atheists, never actually existed and the eagle chewing his prisoner’s liver, one or the other or both just another villain on Law & Order, is no more than an albeit galvanizing symbol.

If the story–the story!– lives on, it’s in suggesting we are bound to our environmental context, including the vast webs of energy and information exchange, pathogens among them, that are at best tangential to civilization’s command and control.

The raptor’s cruel snacking, nature red in beak and claw, failed to imprint the self-evident lesson. That we can embrace humanity’s ingenuity without pretending we need extract our identities–as if iron and oil–out of the ecosystemic matrix.

Making that conditionality work, properly situating our Feuerbachian Vergegenständlichungg, our citified projections, within the web of life on which we depend, well, that’s where the real science of the 21st century now lies.

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