Prometheus is one of the figures in Greek myth responsible for creating mankind, which makes him sort of like our mythological father. And like any father, I’m sure he has been deeply ashamed of his children from time to time.

Throughout history, mankind has created and discovered many tools that have made life a little easier to deal with. It goes without saying that fire is probably the most important of all, offering us the ability to cook food, warm ourselves, light up the dangerous night, and to ward off predators. If our ancestors were anything like us today, they’d probably be more interested in the entertainment value of this revolutionary tool.

I wonder if they had a shadow animal version of I Can Haz Cheezeburger…

Prometheus is, simultaneously, a heroic and yet tragic figure in the world of Greek mythology. He has, at different times, been blamed as being responsible for the tragedies of mankind and lauded as a champion for those that have no power of their own. In the struggle between man and Gods, only Prometheus, a lowly Titan, stood up against the incredible power and knowledge of the god Zeus to act in the best interests of humans. When the Gods saw fit to demand tribute, Prometheus tricked Zeus into accepting inedible bones along with a coating of fat as their sacrifice, allowing men to keep their meat. When Zeus took fire from mankind, Prometheus brought it down from Olympus.

His actions directly lead to the creation of Pandora, the first woman, who, as we all know, was responsible for unleashing the evils of the world from the jar she carried thanks to her curiosity.

Prometheus is not unlike the trickster gods of other ancient religions. He is not quite an evil figure, he doesn’t do what he does out of malice, but neither is he wholly good, for his actions result in some rather terrible things. He is, however, less selfish than gods like Loki. Prometheus’ primary motivation is, undoubtedly, love for the race of man which he had helped to create, though his hatred of the gods who had imprisoned the other Titans is also a factor.

Like most trickster gods, Prometheus is responsible for both the good and the bad in the lives of mankind, and, like many other trickster gods, he has held a special place in the hearts of those that ascribed to these stories. Where others may be seen as comical figures, loved for their jests and japes, Prometheus is both heroic and tragic. He is a champion and a villain at the same time. He brings fire and choice meats, but his actions bring suffering and death.

Prometheus is a lot like humanity itself. The good goes hand in hand with the bad. Though our motivations may be pure, sometimes our actions result in suffering. Like us, Prometheus is flawed and there is something about that we love and understand.

The same can be said for progress itself. Though the acquisition of fire brought about many negative side effects for the people in the myths, it was an important development, one that nobody would give up. The history of human progress is one of growing pains. Each new technology seems to come with pain and suffering in tow. In spite of this, humans continue to create, to be inspired, and move forward. We have dealt with suffering for a long time in our own way: entertainment.

So rock on, Prometheus. Though fire may have brought us suffering, we’ve learned to deal with it. Life isn’t so bad and your heart was in the right place.

At least we’ve got entertainment to help us through the cold, dark nights, right?