The Modern Prometheus

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You are the son of a man who gave you life for no other reason than his own cruel narcissism. Father could not look at you, from the moment you were born, without hatred and disdain. He hated the fact that you lived. Hated to see himself reflected in your barely comprehending eyes.

You were the beaten Judas Goat standing in for his relentless loathing of his true self. You were the sum of all his imperfections. Only by reviling and blaming you, by declaring you monstrous and unworthy, could he express the unbearable pain he felt when he looked in the mirror.

His message to you, from the earliest memories you can recall, never changed. “You were a mistake. I should never have made you. You should not be.”

Deprived of love and of any hope of love in the future, you did what any dutiful son would: you imitated your parent. Father hated you; you hated Father back. He told you that you would always be alone, that no one would ever love or befriend you. You reacted with anger, and vowed to take from him what you would never possess.

You destroyed the woman who loved him, the woman he idealized, strangled her innocence before he could destroy her himself. He could never forgive you for that. Father would hound you, harry you, too weak to destroy you but too crazed to leave you in peace, until the end of his days….until the day you finally turned to see him drop in his tracks, felled by old age and madness, cursing you with his last breath.

You buried Father and you lived on…but your life was dark, empty, without meaning. Friendless, despised and unable to even imagine that there could be fellowship from mortal men and women, you kept to yourself and took comfort in solitude. You would have been content to simply be left in peace. But instead you found yourself trapped on the battlefield of an ancient war which to you made no sense at all.

You are a child of Science. You see yourself as a moving, thinking suit of flesh–perhaps without feeling, without conscience, without a soul, but alive nonetheless. You are the product of random chance and of Man’s will, not God’s, and you know this in every particle of your stolen flesh and bone.

But in the world around you the old Armies of Faith are still endlessly warring for the souls of people who increasingly do not believe in them. Why? You do not know, and do not care. You only defend yourself with violence from the demons who want to steal your power, to harness your mysteries, to use the sins of your Father to burn the world and destroy its people. Those on the side of the angels are not your enemies, but neither are they your friends–they regard you with suspicion and distrust, and many of them would sooner see you dead than let you empower the Foe.

But why should you care what happens to the rest of the human race? Isn’t all the world your enemy? Doesn’t all humankind see you as a monster?

No. You find to your genuine amazement that there is one person who does not. There is one woman whose mind shines like a diamond, whose eyes see beyond the shame of your origin. She can see you for what you are, can look at your stolen body and see…a person. A man.

A man in pain.

Her soft hand traces every scar, every rivet and seam, without revulsion. Her eyes turn toward you, standing before her without even a rag to hide your shame, and she does not turn away. She is the only one who can see that YOU are the miracle…and that Father was the monster.

And now finally you have something worth fighting for. Now something matters other than you. At last you have something to care about, something that transcends the brute needs of flesh and ego. In her presence, bathed and healed by her humanity, a part of yourself which has lain dormant for years…ignites. And you are no longer a monster, an abomination.

You have a soul…and you will fight for it.

In the end you stand triumphant, scarred but unbowed, a humanist savior for humankind. You are the Modern Man, and you owe no allegiance to divine powers, but you nonetheless bear the torch that will drive back the darkness, and you will go to your death battling the demons that plague the human race.

You are the Modern Prometheus. And if I had a brother, this would be your story.

About Arinn

Author, Game Developer, Anthropologist, Feminist, reformed Supervillainess.
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