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The fire of Prometheus

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Regardless of how fantastic, mythology has been a mirror portraying defects and good aspects of human nature. Violence and pacifism, empathy and apathy, selfishness and self-denial, the nucleus of the human soul embedded between the lines of ancient epics and the reveries of early civilizations. 

On a trip to old Greece, the nation of democracy, we see the force of tyranny and its root in our modern life from generation to generation through the tears pouring down the eyes of Prometheus, the Forethinker. The tale of Prometheus is a simple tale in which we can find the principal tool controlling the middle and lower class from the dawn of time. 

To avoid wasting your time with a classic Once upon a time, Prometheus molded humanity into clay and Athena blessed us with the gift of life. Seeing the potential in what he created, Prometheus did not want a race this elegant to go to waste, so he made us stand upright like the gods and managed to steal away the gift of fire from Mount Olympus and bestowed it upon the mortals. 

From fire sprouted metalwork and metalwork grew civilization, and equally grew the wrath of Zeus. For this treason, Prometheus was chained on top of a mountain for eternity, with an eagle devouring his liver every day, a punishment worthy of his empathy. Fire in this sense is a symbol for wisdom and intelligence, turning man from the animal that he is to a powerful race comparable to the Olympians and on their way to reach the stars, which was a red flag in the book of Zeus, not as a god but as a leader. 

This reflects our history, for every king, dictator or even president chosen by the people agree on a rule, not to kindle fire if darkness gives you fire. In other words, do not teach the ignorant in whom you might find gain, materially or politically. Education must not be a tool in the hands of the powerful, as it will no longer be a tool, but a weapon to control the people. They teach what they want to be taught and children devour it clueless to the truth of their ignorance turning slowly into sheep that follow the herd into a future of tyranny and unseen dictatorship. 

It is worrisome for those who have the chance to afford a decent education. Of course, the mighty must-see cold coins of gold in the noblest of human rights. Education is found in the hands of the son of this banker or the son of that lawyer, but the sons of the streets and the sons of woodworkers and builders find it a privilege to read and write and speak more than one language. 

If the street you see from your window is crooked and misshapen, if you sleep to the bark of rabid dogs and police sirens, you will one day leave school, look back and never return, with years of knowledge ahead of you fading into a thick fog hiding a miserable life kneeling at the feet of those with money or behind the bars of a prison cell. Ghettos and bad neighborhoods are as good as open-air prisons because they trap people who are unfortunate enough to be born in their alleys. 

The children of these streets open law or philosophy books and see unknown symbols and scribbles encrypted to keep them living their simple ways, or worse, lead them to a violent life of crime. We see it in every derelict sector of the world, in the black neighborhoods of the United States, in the poor countries of Central and South Africa, and in the western cities of our own country.

Prometheus in this image represents all the people who attempted to make an impossible change to the system and were also punished for a noble act. Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr who fought to lift their breed under the boots of a white country shone with Prometheus fire. 

Socrates, who ignited the spark of thought in Ancient Greece against the will of the government, shone with the flame of Prometheus. There is also you, as an educated generation, future futurists, who hold his spark, and you must turn it on, to shine eternally with the fire of Prometheus.

 

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Ghosts in the Mirror

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Deep down the mysterious continent of Asia, laden with centuries upon centuries of legends and stories to tell, lies the land of a thousand dynasties, China. The people of this land are known most for their vast seas of wisdom and spirituality. Their eyes look through the physical and value beauty on the purity of the soul and the mind, as we are going to see in the tears falling from the eyes of Zhong Kui, the King of Ghosts.

Bright minds are the spark of civilization yet no mind can shine brighter than Zhong Kui’s:

The hero of this story was a true genius, had the highest grades in his class, was the favorite of all his teachers, and was the teacher of all his classmates. A man of such talents deserves no less than the highest of honors and positions, and so was his thinking. Zhong Kui chose to apply for the imperial examination, to become an advisor of the king and do his part in the rising of his empire.

People in the imperial palace were astonished by Zhong’s brilliant answers and immediately invited him to assume his new position. The emperor, a pretentious man, all too pompous for the common folk was the type of man that wishes everything to be perfect and all too beautiful. He sat on his golden throne wearing the finest of his silk robes and a crown made of pure jade was resting on his head, waiting for our hero’s presence.

Zhong Kui finally arrived at the doors of the palace and presented himself to the guards who allowed his immediate entry. He could not be happier, but all of his joy sunk to the depths of the earth when he entered the emperor’s courtroom. The king gave the highest shriek when helaid his eyes on Zhong. He felt pure disgust as he looked upon our genius’ misshapen eyes and overgrown ears. He almost puked as he looked at our prodigy’s ragged clothes and dirty hair, and immediately expelled him from the palace vowing to never let something so horrendous sit on his imperial tables.

Zhong Kui wept his eyes dry as he left the presence of the emperor and walked with what he thought was shame until he reached the huge metal doors of the palace. Before leaving, he looked at his reflection on those doors and felt so much anger for the world that birthed him in such a fashion, and with so much rage and sadness building in his heart, he struck his head on the door, once, twice, and thrice, until his blood splattered all over it, and he kept beating on his brow until he fell on the ground dead, another victim of suicide.

Fortunately, his story does not end with his untimely death. As his soul traveled to the underground, it caught the eye of the King of Hell and fascinated by its purity, and sensing the talents of the new arrival. He knew that Zhong Kui was way too special to waste.

He honored him with a greater title than he could ever wish for in the emperor’s palace. He named him King of Ghosts and Hunter of Demons. Zhong was delighted and vowed to do right by his new duty, protecting all humans, including the emperor that caused him nothing but depression.

With plenty to take from between the lines of this tale, we can start with the fact that words are as sharp as swords and they can shred a soul to bits leaving a person broken, never to be repaired. There is no ugly, or hideous, there is only different. 

There are no two humans on this earth that look alike and that’s what makes being human beautiful. It’s okay to have features unlike those you see in the media and pictures of models, for those features are you and nothing is as pretty as your love for yourself. Beauty too can come in so many forms, and to the forces of nature, illustrated in this story by the King of Hell and God of Death, the most natural of all forces, nothing is more important than the beauty of your mind.

Superficiality is killed when the eyes are closed to let the ears hear the magnificent words coming out of your mouth, to understand the purity of your golden ideas, and to feel the true essence of what truly is you beneath the shell that might or might not be attractive by the common definition.

To wrap up the story of a prodigy and his unjust end, I advise each and every one of you to stand in front of a mirror and say that you are beautiful because if you accept it, no sword can scathe your soul. And you are not just beautiful because of what you look like, you are beautiful because of what you feel, because of what you think about when you steer away with your thoughts in public, you are beautiful because of what you love and what you cherish, because of the art that leaks like rainbows from your mind and most importantly, you are beautiful because you wake up and live every day to the fullest despite what the poison you hear from the people in your life.

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