What does Promethean mean?

 

Prometheus was the name of a Titan in Greek mythology.  His name means “one with foresight” and he was revered as being the wisest of all in the ancient pantheon of Gods and Titans.  The Titans are sometimes referred to as the “Elder Gods” and ruled over the cosmos before the Gods (Olympians) were created.  (The Gods were born of the Titans; Zeus king of the Gods was Prometheus’ cousin).
 
A war was waged between the Titans and the upstart Olympians, who were led by Zeus.  Prometheus as well as his brother Epimetheus of the Titans remained free from punishment or exile after the demise of the Titans, due to his role in the victory of the Olympians.
 
In many stories, after peace reigned again, Zeus delegated the responsibility of creating mankind to Prometheus and his brother.  Epimetheus (whose name meant hindsight) created the animals first, however, and foolishly gave all of the best attributes for survival in nature to them, leaving very few to man as a result.  Mankind was created hairless and shivering, without weapons of tooth and claw for defense, and unable to compete with the beasts.
 
Prometheus took pity on the human race, brought a torch to the heavens, lit it from the sun, and returned bearing fire as a gift for mankind.  He brought as well the gifts of skill in technology, metallurgy, and the arts as well as others that only the Gods and Titans had previously owned. This was done without Zeus’ approval.
 
Zeus became angry with Prometheus for favoring humans so, and giving humans gifts that were not (as Zeus saw it) Prometheus’ to give.  After trying different strategies to avenge his anger against the indepentently acting Titan, he finally had Prometheus bound with adamantine chains to a boulder in the mountains of the Caucasus.  When this failed to daunt the proud Titan, Zeus sent an eagle to tear out Prometheus’ liver daily for eternity. 
 
 
This went on for aeons with Zeus demanding of Prometheus the knowledge that his gift of foresight had given him: which of the offspring of Zeus would eventually rise to usurp the throne.  Prometheus endured the torture without capitulating until his rescue in later times at the hands of Hercules.
 
What I do get from all of this?  We have skills and potential as humans that the rest of the animals on earth do not.  Since the dawn of the human era, our unique advantages have been our intelligence, inventiveness, and very importantly, our mastery of fire.  Do we deserve this advantage?  Why was it given to us that we should survive?  Prometheus, to me, is firstly then a symbol of Providence from the universe that we, as a race, cannot claim to deserve and should strive to be worthy of in all that we do.  If you doubt this, just look at the horrifying uses that we humans often put our knowledge and skills to.
 
Secondly, I see Prometheus as an exemplar of a great ideal: courage and steadfastness in the face of oppression.  A wise practitioner of the martial arts will say this: we do not learn these skills so that we can take what we want by force and be cruel to those that are weaker than us.  We do not learn to fight and to use weapons so that we may make war and commit atrocities upon others.  We learn these skills to peacefully wait for the day when they may be needed to protect our selves and our fellow humans from the oppression of evil men.
 
When a sword was forged with care, many ancient cultures from around the world believed that a spirit could reside within the blade.  While stories of blades with evil spirits existed, the ideal to be achieved by the swordsmith was the creation of a blade with a noble spirit that would seek to promote peace and protect the helpless.
 
Prometheus’ gift of fire was the foundation of all of the technology that mankind was to master in later eras.  The story of our progress throughout the ages is the story of our metallurgical discoveries and achievements, and the story of our metal crafts is the story of fire.  Prometheus then provided the supreme gift to mankind of the ability to survive and grow by the mastery of fire, and as well set an enduring example of the honor with which it is meant to be used.
 
            In recognition of the greatest benefactor to mankind, a hero in the face of tyranny, a supreme patron of the arts, and a father to all blacksmiths, I choose to make my knives in the name of Prometheus.
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