The Promethean Benevolence

When the Titan Prometheus stole both nourishment from propitiatory animal sacrifice and fire from the Olympians, to bequeath both benevolently to mortals, he set a precedent in some regards. The iconoclastic and independently minded hero; delineating the extant potential for the third edge of the coin toss, where neither heads nor tails comes down, but the balancing aspect betwixt and between.

This is the shadowy possibility, and the most slender of chances, however remote or unlikely that remains in every decision, to simultaneously be a force for good and positive accretion for the innocent, a force for ill-will and detraction toward the overbearing excess of the corrupt or greedy, and the selfless embrace of whatever punitive consequences are engendered through the act of ensuring balance.

In Prometheus perhaps we can see the complicated nature of man more than any other of the Titans, Gods, or other mythic figures. Son to a dethroned scion, relegated to an ignoble or understated fate of idle tolerance or dismissive neglect as the Olympians take centre-stage in the Greek pantheon, Prometheus beholds the possibilities of the future and seeks to actively embrace them, to usher them forth and cultivate harmony and balance between the Gods and mortals. Thus, the proverbial wheel of destiny and evolution may continue to spin without deleterious disequilibrium; the sort that typically precludes the ongoing existence of sentient life as cataclysmic rupture (or rapture, perhaps) ensues.

This noble Promethean altruism, specifically the notion that a Titan, a demiurge, or a particularly sympathetic psychopomp would pursue the wilful restoration of balance, and promote humanity’s interest in advance of their own deified kin, is a charming fantasy, and one that resonates with the timeless nobility of heroic sacrifice. It is in the acts of such heroes that we can find an almost euhemeristic inspiration; that once great figures of antiquity were willing to risk their all for the betterment of lowly mortals; that a being of such immensity and power might choose suffering and ruin, damning themselves to an unpalatable fate for their transgression against the supreme authority or condition to restore balance.

How marvellous must these stalwarts long since relegated to myth and legend have been? Through their efforts they would ensure that lesser folk may yet endure, the mortal burdens lessened and their grime-studded humble faces, even if only temporarily, might yet cast a gaze upward, hearts and minds skybound, while the seeds of hope for tomorrow could take root in the most fertile soil of the human heart.

And beyond the dying twilight of the Gods of antiquity, we find now the world over many an enthusiastic recreationist or resurrectionist celebrating Blot, Samhain, or otherwise, supplicating the Gods for benevolence and favour in spans to come. I cannot help but wonder if the fallen, neglected deities of millennia past yet hear these prayers and paeans. If enough people believed in one of the Old Ones, might that be sufficient to restore them to their ethereal dominion in guardianship over man and the Earth, or is this merely an optimistic prognostication?

Perhaps it is truly a euhemeristic gift from benevolent souls long since forgotten; a prominent didactic legacy to educate and inspire in man the importance of harmony and balance, of the noble curatorship of this scarred, imperfect paradise we inhabit. To continue fanning the embers and cinders of hope, that one day, it may erupt into an all-consuming, all-cleansing conflagration of the most noble aspects and elements of humanity.

In any case, the Promethean heroes of the ancient world have set a profound example. May the world find others upon whom to bestow this mantle in millennia to come.

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