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Ten Reasons Why The Promethean Movement Deserves Your Support
... despite its small size and long odds

article by Phoenix published November 3, 2003

 

Why should you and I support the Promethean movement? Why now - when it might become so tempting to sacrifice determined ideals for quick results, or to favor the tangible profits of more usual expenditures of personal effort, and give in to the affirming social reinforcement of common behavior? Why do I recommend the fledgling Promethean movement - even above more established, well-supplied, populous alternatives which seem to have more of a chance to achieve their aims? Now, on this occasion, the launch of Prometheanmovement.org, it seems like the time to address such questions directly. And it would seem that I have the uniquely qualified perspective as the founder of the movement to offer some solid reasons for long-term hopefulness and for supporting the movement to which I devote myself.

 

1. The Value, Standard and Advancement of Life. The Promethean movement is the only organization for which seeking what advances life is the conscious, overriding purpose, not only in the personal sense of life-advancement (which, depending on the needs of the individual, a variety of organizations might serve to aid) but in the cohesive and outwardly expansive and activist senses of the idea. Understood profoundly, and variably according to individual context, we hold the value of life as our highest value and paramount standard of judgment and evaluation. Our mission to advance life within us and other human beings defines our movement above all other goals.

2. Organic Individualist Organization. The Promethean movement is consciously non-collective in its organization. The historical problems with any group which has banded together to achieve purposes and then gains a significant impact have been a) subsuming individual variation into the imagined collective of the group, b) defining the collective by particular reductive characteristics desired by only some people, and c) imposing and reinforcing hierarchy to maintain certain definitions of what the collective stands for. The members of the Promethean movement can escape this trap which has plagued social behavior and erased much mutual progress with its unforeseen symptoms. For unless a movement is prepared to deal with becoming substantially important it might even be better for it not to gain influence, no matter how important and admirable its goals.

3. Core Philosophy, Leadership and Cohesion. Unlike other movements which form, quickly work to gain popularity, resources and influence to achieve projects, neglecting to hash out the philosophy they stand for or do proper advance planning (only to find out too late the danger of a flimsy foundation to support their accumulated weight, lacking solid principles and reliable leaders), the Promethean movement began and continues with the philosophy of Prometheanism, and the task of discovering, assembling, and augmenting a core group of leading members, Prometheans. We will be prepared for growing and gaining weight in the world, and thus unlike many other attempts to change the world, we will not give ourselves or the rest of the world cause to regret our endeavors. Unlike uncohesive movements the Promethean movement has that core of leaders around whom cohesion can take place (not top-down "order" through imposed hierarchy), and core ideas around which organic consistency (not top-down "order" through imposed orthodoxy) can develop naturally, hand in hand with dynamic behavior, with the potential of strategic adaptation to changing circumstances.

4. Trustworthy Leadership. Prometheans' leadership would tend to deserve far more trust than any other kind of leadership if only because no other method of choosing leaders can ever be as effective as considering their motivations and personalities individually - not popularity, not plurality, not wealth, not bureaucratic certification, not inherited or customary title, nothing. Of course it is possible for Prometheans to make mistaken choices in the process of recognizing Promethean candidates as Prometheans. But at least the basic method and goal are reliable for being firmly focused on discovering deeply life-interested people who are not disposed to harm others but rather disposed to consider others' interests along with their own. This is untrue of existing social leadership choices, whether political, religious, ideological, etc.

5. Deep Resources. Prometheanism is even now far from a superficial philosophy, and will broaden and deepen in the future as I and other Prometheans grow and refine it. This is not merely an interesting pursuit for the intellectually-minded and creatively-minded among us, this is absolutely critical and practical. Any movement which is going to have not only a lasting impact but a lasting desirable impact must be made of people who understand themselves and what they are doing. For this they need deep resources they can draw upon (often insufficient in popular cultures). In this the Promethean movement has certain advantages of openmindedness. Prometheanism does provide many original and potentially life-changing ways of seeing things, but has not remained limited to the new and original, and therefore the sparse or selective. In order to develop new gifts to the world's mutual knowledge we have drawn upon old gifts, ideas from as many pre-existing sources as we have found available with something Promethean to give. Prometheanism has drawn upon much of the riches which past traditions have had to offer, not rejected the past merely because of age or unfashionable reputation. Prometheanism inherits no artificial barriers against learning something from everything. Further, it inherits no barriers against willfully adopting any collection of ideas which already offer something we need. We can without reservation supplement Prometheanism's gaps with whatever bodies of thought exist with Promethean usefulness (such as radical free-market economic studies, semantics, studies of complexity, Nietzschean thought, etc.). The results of this progressive yet inclusive approach are that while Prometheanism has a unique and fresh guiding purpose, the advancement of life in the future, it swells with the accumulated resources of life as it has been.

6. Cosmopolitanism. The Promethean movement is a worldwide movement. Our membership is open to people all over the world and to diverse personalities from any one place too, for we can benefit from the talents peculiar to any natural sort of mindset. In leading such an encompassing life-advancing movement, we Prometheans must consider the interests of (diverse) life, not parochial "interests" ascribed to one clannish group, one territory, one state, one religion, one culture, one subculture, one lifestyle, or one personality type. We offer an alternative not only to humanity's shortsighted subsets but also to world politics, those who seek to unite the world by making it bow to their particular vision and bureaucratic rule, including both "great power" national hegemonists, and the UN and its democratic trans-nationalist adherents.

7. Strategy Consistent With Principles. An important applied consequence of our quite integral philosophical consistency is that we will not compromise on essentials, we will only make strategic compromises which support our principled goals. Our own personal limits of our small numbers aside, we do represent the determined (r)evolution of life to both restore lost advances to itself and advance itself unprecedentedly, just manifest in a package which seems insignificant at present to the superficial observer, like any timeless and inexorable genie would look in a bottle. We will never reduce our aims to accommodate the advantages of our inertial opposition or detractors; we can merely take longer to achieve our aims. (In a sense we could only fail if we lose heart - or if human self-ruination finally makes our efforts moot, in which case we still did not fail because we did not submit.) We will not cease or desist in our quest for the essentials of freedom, individualism, and post-orthodoxy. We're not a social activist campaign built around just one issue which falls apart in other contexts. We're not a political party or political organization which makes deals. We're not an ephemeral fad riding on popularity. Thus for example, we would never settle on partial freedom. We would never accept just freedom for some in this world, or just freedom to do some things, which the supposedly "pragmatic" in today's political world consider mandatory. We realize all too well what happens with partial measures and compromises over time - and in the meantime, what it's like to be one of those forgotten or betrayed oppressed people whose worthy but unpopular causes have lacked persistent advocates.

8. The Rule of Ideas. The Promethean society we wish to found in the future will be unique in its conscious basis on the effect I often call the rule of ideas. In the all-inclusive sense, this means that the circulation of ideas (not merely memes but philosophical assumptions, models, neurosemantic feedback patterns, meme complexes etc.) offers the major human interpersonal conduit of both perpetuation and change, and in fact whatever is malleable in our characters. In the more specific Promethean sense, the term refers more to leadership offering direction through ideas according to unprecedentedly conscious awareness of the effect. One can look at the rule of ideas in the movement as a sort of applied microcosm of that, but the Promethean rule of ideas can become much more as an established institution of civilization. It can replace restrictions of semi-static orthodoxy in morality and law, while providing for whatever basic functions do not arise otherwise in other natural, free market alternatives. It can grow to replace the important cultural role taken by (often collectively-syndromic, culturally-limited, orthodoxical, or soul-diminishing) religious institutions, instead catalyzing a voluntarily-patronized "spiritual" inspiration for post-orthodox human beings who seek to recover from the existential problem represented by Nietzsche's figurative death of God: the simultaneously advantageous and disadvantageous collapse of religion's objective, common value system which had even in Nietzsche's day been largely accomplished as a consequence of the scientific erosion of unanalyzed faith. For though this death of God brings vast, chaotic freedom from tethers of belief, those tethers had also served as moorings in an uncertain world, and so with the opportunities of freedom came the terrible threat of nihilism for all those unready to make or choose their own values. (Or for those who would have none of this post-religiosity for themselves, the rule of ideas can coexist with religion.) In these roles the rule of ideas has something in common with some traditional tribal and clan leadership practices, whereby respected individuals such as "elders" commonly would get consulted for advice, inspiration, cultural cohesion, and arbitration.

9. Personal Evidence of Human Potential. Consider my viewpoint for a moment. I started Prometheanism as a cohesive philosophy by connecting the paths of others before me and going further on that path. I founded the Promethean movement. I began the association of Prometheans with myself. I have seen the Promethean movement grow to its present (still relatively small) size and the accomplishments surrounding it snowball (in a little-known, yet energetic way) since I decided to found it, beginning with myself, very few accomplishments, and few resources to speak of save my own. Now, as I'm in the position to know, I am but one human being, who although unique does not command the superhuman abilities of some demigod, such as our mythic kindred Prometheus. Sure, what I can do others cannot replicate, in the sense that any individual is irreplaceable, but others surely can do other things which are also important. More than anything, among those who might feasibly change the world with me, a number of whom I have met in my life, what seems to be lacking is above all genuine confidence in themselves, and more than a token belief in individual potential among others. Surely you too have gotten at least a brief glimpse of unfathomed and mysterious potential within you, and within others, only waiting for your commitment to awaken it? I invite you to remember such hints as you have encountered, kindle a Promethean flame with your own sparks of life, and dream with me. I know and believe passionately that if I could start this movement alone by unlocking some of my potential and devoting myself to the necessary work, and then build the movement with the help of but few others, we can do very much more together.

10. Not Only Goal, But Process. I do believe that the Promethean movement can be successful over time, with the members it needs, with enough hard work to drive it and wise work to guide it, and with the confident faith which a more promising future still deserves even in the face of skepticism, cynicism, and pessimism born of all the human failures our world has seen along with all the human successes. But even if we fail, at least we will have the experience of trying, and the knowledge we did well to try in our ever-brief lifetimes. In our human and personal terms, what we do along the way may be even more important than the ends we seek.

 

contents in this section determined by Phoenix
page updated November 3, 2003 18:02

 

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