Promethean heat

prometheus fire
Artistic rendition of Prometheus stealing fire from the heavens, the god Thor in particular, who gave it to mortals, made of clay, to animate them and thus give them life.
In religio-mythology, Promethean heat (G:7K), or "Promethean fire" (G:50K), is the mythological substance of life, which, according to the 800BC stories of Hesiod, was a life-animating type of fire that was stolen from the god Zeus by wily intelligent Titan named Prometheus who gave it to mortals, made of clay, to animate them and thus give them life. In short, "Promethean fire" is the Greek version of the vital principle; the fire with which Prometheus quickened into life his clay images. [4]

English writer William Shakespeare comments on this, extrapolated to the nature of the heats of passion, in his 1603 Othello, the Moor of Venice, in riddled form: [1]

“I know not where is that Promethean heat, that can thy life relum.”

In other words, even in Shakespeare's time, people believed that life, in some way, was due to an internal fire and that this heat is in some way connected to the heating natures and aspects of passion and love.

Etymologically, the 800BC Greek Promethean "fire origin of life theory" is a handed-down derivative version of 3,100BC Egyptian Ra theology creation myth of the creator fire god Atum, himself born out of mud (or clay), creating the first two forms of life (Shu, his son, and Tefnut, his daughter) via "breath" and "spit". This "breath origin of life theory" then became syncretized, in the years to follow, with other derivatives such the Sumerian myth of the birth goddess Nammu, of the watery depths, molding clay into the shapes of humans and bringing the molds to life to be a workforce replacement for the gods in the maintenance of the land. [2]

In his 1954 chapter “Life and Thermodynamics”, English thermodynamicist Alfred Ubbelohde quotes this motto by Shakespeare to argue to the effect that when we look into the question of the origin of life, or emergence of life, in the thermodynamic perspective, we are not much progressed, in our understanding of the issue of life’s origin, beyond myth of Prometheus. In his own words: [3]

“Scientifically, we are not much more advanced than the Greeks, who thought of Prometheus making men of clay, and stealing fire from heaven to animate them.”

In the correct modern sense, the 2009 defunct theory of life is the reconciliation to the issue, which states that the theory of life is defunct, replaced by the view that humans are molecules (human molecules) animated or moved by the electromagnetic force, as are all molecules.

Synonymous theories
The defunct 19th century term “vital heat”, as well as the early 20th century term “vital energy”, are modern-day versions of Promethean heat. Other examples of modern-day thinkers in search of the so-called Promethean fire to explain the origin of life include: American chemist Stanley Miller, and his 1952 electric spark theory of the origin of life, Dutch biophysicist Anthonie Muller, and his 1983 thermosynthesis heat engine origin of life theory, American biochemist Stuart Kauffman, and his 1993 auto-catalytic closure thermodynamic cycle origin of life theory, and Russian physical chemist Georgi Gladyshev and his 2010 hierarchical thermodynamics origin of life theory.

All-in-all, attempts to search for a thermodynamic-stylized Prometheus fire origin of life theory is akin to the chemist's search for the philosopher's stone or the mechanist's search for perpetual motion.

1. (a) Shakespeare, William. (1603). Othello, the Moor of Venice (Act V, Scene 2). The Oxford Shakespeare, 1914.
(b) Othello – Wikipedia.
2. (a) Creation of man from clay (section) – Wikipedia.
(b) Thims, Libb. (2008). The Human Molecule (Nammu, pgs. 1-2) (issuu) (preview) (Google Books) (docstoc). LuLu.
(c) Cotterell, Arthur. (1999). Encyclopedia of World Mythology, (pg. 13). New York: Barnes & Nobel Books.
(d) Jordan, Michael. (1993). Encyclopedia of Gods – Over 2,500 Deities of the World. New York: Facts on File, Inc.
3. Ubbelohde, Alfred René. (1954). Man and Energy. Illustrated (ch. 8: life and thermodynamics, pgs. 183-200). Hutchinson's Scientific & Technical Publications.
4. Promethean fire –

Further reading
● Lumsden, Charles J. and Wilson, Edward O. (2001). Promethean Fire: Reflections on the Origin of the Mind. Replica Books.

External links
Prometheus – Wikipedia.

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