Sunday, June 10, 2012

Prometheus


There is a lot of talk about the cryptic Engineer at the beginning of the movie Prometheus. Here are my suspicions on the matter.

**WARNING**
Spoilers contained here-in. DO NOT READ if you have not yet seen the movie and are afraid of knowledge.

I'm think this engineer represents the Greek Titan 'Prometheus' himself. In this scene, we see him sparking life by using his technology and genetic makeup as the base for creating life on Earth. The movie shows other Engineers went on to have a great deal of influence throughout human Civilization and even warned us about LV223. Considering there are so many giants in mythology, it's not a far stretch to think this often came in the form of Religion inception. So why would the Engineers on LV223 want to destroy that life, specifically 2000 years ago at that?

We see hints in what the Engineers on LV223 were up to and what subsequently put a stop to their plans. It's pretty clear they aimed at destroying life on Earth, or at least resetting things through some type of massive biological attack. The way the Engineer pilot dealt with David and Weyland shows his open hostility and implies he does not like seeing how far humanity has come. He instantly goes back to his mission to attack Earth and wipe out everything the Promethian Engineers had worked for.

Basically we are dealing with competing ideologies in the Engineer civilization.

The mythical Promethians is a group of Engineers who view the life they have created on Earth with a sense of awe and respect. Just as how the crew of Prometheus is not at all impressed with the synthetic life of David, most of the Engineer society doesn't think that highly of their creation. We are little more than a chemical creation they have mixed, or a tool they have built. We are theirs to destroy or reset as they please. However just as some humans are able to think higher of David and respect his personal growth, there are some Engineers who care deeply about their creation. This is what the mythical Prometheus figure stands for in his rebellion against the gods.

Or perhaps the bad Engineers were afraid of what they had created somehow overcoming them and wanted to launch a preemptive strike? After all, look at our own cultural fear of AI overthrowing us. Terminator, The Matrix, Battlestar Galatica etc, etc, etc.

As with everything we create, we don't always have a philosophical ideology behind it. It's only the people in our culture that drive the greater significance of what it may mean. Smartphones have radically altered the way people have connected with each other and technology. But do most of us spend any time philosophizing about it? I think the Engineers are an abstracted look at what this might be like if some alien mind had been responsible for (or at least played a part in) our own creation.

2 comments:

  1. I disagree fully. If he were Prometheus, as you say, how would humans even know anything about him? In case you hadn't noticed, he disintegrated completely in order to provide the genetic material necessary for life to begin on Earth.

    Now, I find it much more likely that he was not alone and a group of Engineers stayed on Earth in order to coax and nurture the young lifeforms so that they might thrive and evolve. In this scenario, it seems likely that those who remained behind began to view humanity with disdain (likely due to wars and pettiness that is so prevalent throughout our history) and send a message back home to terminate the experiment/project.

    The installation on LV223 was in the midst of preparing to fulfill the order when they were overrun by some form of the weapon they had planned to use to destroy humanity.

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    1. >Now, I find it much more likely that he was not alone and a group of Engineers stayed on Earth in order to coax and nurture the young lifeforms so that they might thrive and evolve.

      That is explicitly implied in the movie (the cave-drawings showed the giants among the much-smaller humans). The drawings are also key in the movie to leading the team to LV223.

      My point is that the mythical Prometheus created humanity (from clay) and gave it fire. Obviously fire and clay are allegories. It's ancient mythology, so maybe the guy in the beginning was the one who created humanity out of clay (his own genetic makeup coupled with the black goo) and other Engineers were the ones who gave it fire (the ability to build technology, create culture, think and reason, etc) and helped shape human history.

      So maybe the mythical Prometheus figure was more than one Engineer. But I still believe they were acting with a different agenda than the ones who were setting out to destroy humanity.

      So I'm not sure what you're disagreeing with. I don't think the name of the movie, or the ship, or the other themes in the movie were a coincidence or random.

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