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Modern tragic figure meet your ancient greek equivalent. He suffered to bring light and warmth to all mankind for no personal gain. You suffer so that your frat might get disastrously drunk at next friday’s rager. You two should have a lot to talk about.

The issue presented here is one of psychological blinders and a lack of personal perspective. In our minds, our problems loom large and unconquerable a great deal of the time. We look at our lives and how difficult they are in the context of the situations we face being the only problems in the entire world. This applies to everyone at one time or another, myself included. The problem, then, is finding it in ourselves to realize that we live relatively comfortable lives. Naturally, life is not perfect for anyone. Even the billionaire can suffer in his own way. It’s simply a matter of scale. How bad are your problems really? How bad is it that some girl or guy you dated for a couple of weeks broke up with you? Is it as bad as say…starving to death in a dry, barren wasteland? How about having your liver torn out by an eagle day after day for 30,000 years? No? Then maybe you can lighten up a bit.

When it comes to massive and repeated suffering, no one does it better than good ol’ Prometheus. Solely responsible for giving humanity the gift of fire (as well as actually creating humankind), Prometheus was punished by the always reactionary Zeus in a serious way. Chained to a rock in the Caucasus Mountains, he was tortured by having an eagle tear out and devour his liver day after day. Being a Titan, (those fellows that came before the gods) Prometheus was naturally immortal and his liver regenerated each morning. For thousands of years, Prometheus was tormented until Zeus finally allowed him a chance at redemption. Asking an important question that only Promtheus had the answer to, Zeus sought to see if the Titan would give in to his rule. He did, and Zeus sent his son Hercules to slay the eagle and free Prometheus.

You would think that after such a lengthy torturing, Prometheus would be resentful, but there isn’t a thing about him in greek mythology after his freedom is attained. One can only hope that he is somewhere pleasant, perhaps a nice beach sipping mixed drinks and enjoying immortality and the fruits of his labors.

Hopefully he can look on us, the beings he helped to create, and smile from time to time.

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