"Prometheus was an economist, Peter. That's what he stood for," said Sylvia. "Nicolai and Anton were economists, and so are we. Every human being is an economist. True economics is built into out nature. That's our immortality. We discover principles, develop ideas, utilize science to understand the nature of the principles, and so we create technologies in applying those principles to build a brighter world. That's the flow of economics. Every human being is an economist. That's our identity, our sex, our passion in life. And the Principle of Universal Love is driving this passion."
I nodded. "Prometheus represented what a human being is. That's why he was called a god. And Zeus, who claimed to be a god like the oligarchy does and always has, claiming to rule by divine privilege, is being exposed in the play to be a liar. On this ground Prometheus stood firm in defiance of the process of oligarchy. In the play the imperial oligarchs of Olympus realized that they could not simply kill Prometheus, since he was immortal, they ganged up on him and bound him, and subjected him to eternal torture. Except the torture didn't work for them, as indeed it never does. However, Prometheus, the champion of discovery and science, knew what would be Zeus' unavoidable undoing. He understood the self-defeating nature of any basically inhuman process, such as imperialism, oligarchism, and fascism, which are really all the same. Of course Prometheus wouldn't tell Zeus what it was that spelled his doom. In order to get the secret revealed the Olympians offered Prometheus a deal. That's how the oligarchy still works, to the very day. Zeus promised that he would stop torturing him if he would give up his secret. That may have sounded like a fair deal to the audience. But there is always a hidden hook built into the imperial deals. Prometheus couldn't accept what was offered. If he were, he would deny himself. He would denounce what he stood for, representing the freedom of discovery and scientific development. He knew that if he were to deny that, he would destroy humanity, the object of his love.
With this paradoxical setup, the poet puts his audience into a conflict with itself. The audience is made to feel the pain and the agony of Prometheus, whereby it would be inspired to hope that Prometheus will give up his secret to save himself from the incessant torture. Except the audience also knows that its hope must never be fulfilled, because if it was fulfilled the audience would loose the basis for its existence. It would protect Prometheus, but can't in order to protect itself. That's oligarchism, the irrational thinking of empiricism that get no one anywhere. The audiences realizes that it would be destroyed itself if Prometheus were to give in to his rival, Zeus. The audience was inspired to hope that Prometheus would remain defiant, even while it sincerely wished he would give in to save himself from torture.
"At this point the play unfolds towards the sublime for everyone involved," I said to Sylvia. "The resolution in the play takes us beyond empiricism where no real solutions are intended to be found, into the realm of universal principles and the discovery of truth. While a chorus on stage urges Prometheus to surrender his secret to save himself, we see Prometheus defiantly standing his ground, even being in pain. That's when the audience begins to side with him, in spite of its own pain, knowing that he cannot betray humanity and himself. Here a sublime moment begins that shifts the scene. The audience begins to realize that by his staunch refusal, Prometheus turns the table and Zeus really becomes the tragic figure instead of him. The audience finds that Prometheus is able to answer back to the gods of Olympus, even from his bed of pain, with the full realization that they can have no power over him, because the very worst that Zeus had been able to impose had been but a small thing compared to his love. He laughed at them. He had endured their torturing, and could endure it forever. He says to them that the pains of torture pale in the face of his love for humanity. Thus he laughs at the mighty gods whose existence is filled with such hate that it becomes a torment upon themselves more grievous than his own. In his laughter they realize their doom, a fate most certain that they lack the power to escape. By this process of proving to the Olympians that they have no power, their self-claimed status as gods becomes uncovered as a lie. Humanity is saved. Prometheus is free. That's how we can free our world, Sylvia, and we must. Prometheus lives in us as he did in Nicolai and Anton, and still does in many others. We may have failed on some counts. The tragedy that killed eight million people should have been avoided. We should have moved faster. But in the end we won. It is my hope, Sylvia, that in the end humanity will win its victory over imperialism and oligarchism in as decisively a manner as Prometheus had and as we had won in the end against the death Star."
"After relating the story I suggested to Sylvia that by means of this classical tragedy, the audience becomes educated to grasp the meaning of the sublime which is rooted in a higher truth. "The people's thinking becomes elevated," I said. "It becomes more truth-oriented. Sublimity begins with the discovery of truth and unfolds with the scientific development of the human understanding of it. And the truth is that we are all human beings. The mythology of imperial masters acting in a zoo of underlings has nothing to do with the real world. It is nothing more than the acting out of a scrip in an Olympian game that unfolds in tragedy. The poet of the Prometheus trilogy tells mankind that it is free to write its own script, a human scrip, a script of renaissance instead of slavery."
"Isn't it amazing," said Sylvia, "that the poet in ancient times also understood the nature of the platform of human freedom. Prometheus represented the freedom that comes with the discovery and the use of the technology of fire. In his days, this meant wood power. The key element in our advancing forms of civilization is always the power of fire. We stepped from wood to coal, to oil, to nuclear fission, with nuclear fusion being on the horizon. And there is always a Zeus stepping in front of us, saying you can't do this. Sometimes the modern Zeus is successful in holding back the march of scientific and technological progress at a great cost to mankind in human misery. But the Zeus never really wins. Our humanity always wins, and wins out of necessity. We are a creature that is always a step head of itself, blazing new trails. But we cannot step back. That is why we win. We can't go back to wood power, because there is not enough wood in the world and wood power is no longer intense enough to meet our needs. We can't run airplanes with wood power. Now that we have entered the age of nuclear fission, we can't go back to reliance of coal-fired electrical plants. There isn't enough coal in the world to fulfill our planet wide needs, and the coal that is left is fast running out. In a couple hundred years there won't be much of that energy resource left, and by then the planet will be back in an Ice Age environment for the next 90,000 years. In order to live through that we need greater energy resources than ever had before. Nuclear fission power promises to provide us enough power to last 10,000. But even that will be superceded by nuclear fusion power long before the usefulness of fission power ends. So, the poet was right. Mankind's freedom is always assured by the technology of 'fire' that gives us the power to power our universe. What the poet didn't know is that each step forward gives us greater freedoms and a higher standard of living, but also requires an ever-larger human input to create and operate the technology. One person was sufficient to light a wood fire and warm a cave, while it takes the work of thousands to operate a coal economy, and the word of millions to discover and create the technology of nuclear fission power. The development on nuclear fusion, in tern, has become a global project. In a very real sense, mankind develops not only ever richer resources of power, and thereby a richer civilization, it also discovers thereby more and more the principles of its own humanity, the Principle of its Universal Marriage to each other, and develops this principle together with the Principle of Universal Love. Thereby we become truly human. The Zeus-factor that stands in denial of the Principle of our Universal Marriage as children of a common universal humanity, get necessarily dropped and left behind on the road of human progress. The poet of the Prometheus play truly understood economics, didn't he? The shutting down of oligarchism and imperialism is a natural element of the unfolding process of economics."
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