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Prometheus the Film – Thematic Confluences

December 17, 2012

(original posting date: July 3, 2012 01:11)

Introduction

As I write this, director Ridley Scott’s newest film, Prometheus, is still making the rounds at the theaters. However, it’s already clear that this film does not enjoy the same level of mass audience appeal as his 1979 science fiction horror film classic, Alien. For many, the first film in the Alien franchise set the standards bar for that particular genre – Prometheus is certainly a decent film with film-watching entertainment value, but Alien remains secure within its claim of top position of the sci-fi horror genre.

There are other kinds of rewards to be garnered in a watching of the film Prometheus, though. However, you will not find any film critics of the conventional ilk making note of what those rewards are. Well known film critic Roger Ebert is illustrative, in this article, just how clueless conventional critics are when it comes to a film that has a primary purpose of putting forth certain thematic concepts into mass consciousness. Even on the contextual basis that Ebert editorialized this particular take on the film’s content (which he presses the film into service of an ideological political agenda – Ebert is a very political kind of guy, I know as I follow him on Twitter), he even gets that completely wrong; painfully obvious elements in the film refute his particular take-away.

The political arena is a completely inappropriate one to be in when examining any of the themes of this film anyway. The conventional film critics should all just step aside and let those with a better equipped background (esoterica) handle this one. The usual reasons, to go see a film, are not the most relevant ones here. When I went to see this film, there were those in the audience that were there with very much the same motivations as me – what interesting (and perhaps provocative) things is Ridley Scott out to try and say with this film?

Ancient Astronaut Theory of Origin of Life (and Humanity)

The provenance of alternative history researchers, the Ancient Astronaut Theory (AAT) as explanation for the origin of life on Earth, or specifically the origin of the species Homo Sapiens, is a front and center literal depiction in this movie. An alien race of technologically advanced space traveling humanoids, dubbed as the ‘Engineers’ by the human characters in the film, are the responsible agents. Later on in the film, the arch protagonist, scientist Elizabeth Shaw (played by Swedish/Icelandic actress Noomi Rapace), discovers that human DNA is derivative from the DNA of the Engineers. This alien race is thus the progenitor of our own species. An Earth girl could conceivably have an Engineer’s baby, so to speak.

This is the great center piece concept that the film intends to inculcate into the minds of the mass audience that is assured to come to see a Ridley Scott film (especially one built up with the hype and anticipation that Prometheus enjoyed). There is nothing at all subtle in the presentation of this concept by the film – no one in the audience will miss this fundamental edifice of the Prometheus narrative. It is literally related – no symbolic decoding required whatsoever.

Prometheus is now saying it all out in the open

My entire motivation to write any manner of analysis on Prometheus the film is that I see the narrative and thematic details that it relates as essentially an out in the open disclosure of the occulted back story that was told in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner film of 30 years ago. So from my esoteric point of view, Prometheus actually has much more in common with the 1982 Blade Runner film that it does the 1979 Alien movie. I’m going to mark out the comparative overlaps between Prometheus and my decoding of Blade Runner so a reading of Blade Runner – An Astro-Gnostic Fable (of the past – not the future) is a prerequisite for what follows.

Prehistoric Shaman and Ancient Cave Art Work

The human side of the narrative tale in Prometheus begins with an archeological discovery in a newly found cave depicting the artwork of some prehistoric tribal shaman. What is illustrated in this ancient cave artwork is significant in that it shows our human forbears having knowledge pertaining to our extraterrestrial creators going back in human history tens of thousands of years.

In the section of my prior Blade Runner article dealing with the symbolism of the owl, I relate how humanoid owl imagery has been found depicted in cave artwork dated to 15 thousand years ago. What ancient prehistoric shaman experienced then in their consciousness-altered state, employing hallucinogenic mushrooms, references the same imagery as described in contemporary UFO abduction cases – the visage of the humanoid owl. Thus in Blade Runner the symbolic device of the owl turns out to be a kind of linkage to the most ancient times of expressive human artifacts – shamanic cave artwork.

It’s unlikely there was any intentional linkage here on the basis of the owl vis a vis cave artwork. It is merely a kind of emergent indirect connective thread that after the fact is discernible. My decoding of Blade Runner ended on prehistoric cave artwork – Ridley Scott’s Prometheus inaugurates its human-related story from prehistoric cave artwork.

Sumer/Akkad/Mesopotamia

When the human space travelers in Prometheus arrive at their destination, the crew is given a background briefing as to the purpose of their journey. Numerous reliefs and clay tablets stemming from ancient Sumer/Akkad and derivative Mesopotamian civilizations are shown to the crew. A very clear reference to ancient Mesopotamia in conjunction to AAT is thus established.

My Blade Runner article likewise ascribes the surface story of desperate Replicants to be a Gnostic-style allegorical retelling of the ancient Mesopotamian literature. Principally its narrative is the centerpiece of Mesopotamian theology – that Mankind was created as a lesser race by the gods to be their servants. My analysis noted other elements in Blade Runner that referenced ancient Mesopotamia as well (e.g., the style of pyramidal buildings in which the elites resided in the top most chambers).

Interestingly, the 1979 Alien film has a scene depicting a subliminal reference to ancient Mesopotamia:

Sumerian Winged Solar Disk Emblem

This is a fairly lengthy scene of dialog and the winged solar disk symbol occupies the center space of the screen for its duration. It might not even be fair to categorize this as subliminal symbolism as the camera shot places it right at the level of the actors’ heads – right to where the viewers’ eyes will be focused. If one was already familiar with this symbol it would never escape notice.

The winged solar disk is rampant in ancient Mesopotamian iconography:

Sumerian-winged-solar-disk

Today, thanks in large part to various popular alternative history books and the Internet, the winged solar disk is rather well known (back in 1979 – probably not so much):

Prometheus makes explicit what Alien and Blade Runner encoded.

The Darwinian Fallacy

Prometheus on one level relates an account of the origin of life (and Mankind) on planet Earth that contradicts the materialist Darwinian belief that life originated on Earth through random processes of nature. Instead, Prometheus depicts that life was seeded by an extraterrestrial intelligence, which that concept is known as Directed Panspermia.

Some Darwinians are friendly to Panspermia and even perhaps the Directed Panspermia hypothesis. It remains a great conundrum that there still remains no scientifically viable explanation of how first cellar life arose on Earth. One ostensible way out of the dilemma is to posit that first cellar life came to Earth from outer space – from some other point of origin in the cosmos.

At one point in the Prometheus film, the protagonist character, scientist Elizabeth Shaw, is confronted on this matter. She is asked if she is effectively ready to jettison the presumed rationality of Darwinian Evolution (where the tone of the verbiage employed in the dialog treats it as well accepted fact) to account for the origin of life in favor of a Directed Panspermia explanation. Shaw’s retort is who created the Engineers? In other words, Directed Panspermia is not any kind of ultimate answer to the question of the origin of life.

As prominent real life Darwinian Evolutionist sometimes cozy up to the Panspermia hypothesis, Shaw’s critique stands as their rebuttal, i.e., you can’t run and hide under the Panspermia umbrella as a means to explain the ultimate origin of life. Panspermia is just another run of the mill circular argument that’s tossed up as obfuscation of the root dilemma. The Prometheus film depicts Shaw’s character savvy enough to see that ruse for what it is. (So instead of being a dogmatist, her character is a scientist that is about the business of science – searching for actual explanatory answers.)

(Per Elizabeth Shaw (Ridley Scott) rejoinder – a more in-depth rebuttal of the Darwinian Fallacy here.)

Transhumanism/Immortality

In the Blade Runner article there was a section that addressed the subject of achieving immortality via a transhumanism agenda of engineering a Replicant suitable for consciousness download – the Replicant Rachel being suspected as a research prototype with this purpose in mind.

The Prometheus spaceship is sent on a journey to encounter the Engineers, Mankind’s creators, as the character Peter Weyland (portrayed by Guy Pearce) hopes to learn how to reverse the condition of his decrepitude of old age. Thus he is looking for a genetic engineering solution to achieving immortality and rather reasonably expects that Mankind’s creators would possess that kind of know how.

This theme appeared somewhat obliquely, yet visibly, in the Blade Runner film. It becomes a front and center component of the Prometheus plot narrative.

Engineers as Gnostic Demiurge

The Prometheus film sets forth that the Annunaki gods of ancient Mesopotamian civilizations are essentially one and the same as the Engineers. Prometheus portrays the Engineers as having the following characteristics:

  • Gigantism
  • Pale complexion
  • Piercing eyes
  • Super human strength
  • Great intelligence
  • Malevolent attitude toward humanity

The Annunaki gods were depicted on the ancient reliefs as being giants in comparison to Mankind. The Hebrew Old Testament of the Bible describes the Anakim tribe in the land of Canaan as being great in stature (the Israelites were as grasshoppers by comparison). The height of Goliath, noted in various sources, ranged from 6 foot 9 inches to 9 feet tall – King Og of Bashan perhaps 11 to 12 feet in height.

The Book of Enoch has this description of Noah at his birth:

For unto my son Lamech a son has been born, one whose image and form are not like unto the characteristics of human beings; and his color is whiter than snow and redder than a rose, the hair of his head is whiter than white wool, and his eyes are like the rays of the sun; and (when) he opened his eyes the whole house lighted up.

Lamech was fearful that his new son had been sired by one of the angels of heaven given his physical appearance (Genesis Chapter 6 relates how the sons of the Elohim took human wives and had offspring – the demigods referred to as Nephilim, which has typically been translated as giants).

The Engineers of the film Prometheus are of a very pale complexion. Also, the eyes of the Engineers are of a notable piercing characteristic. The Engineers are physically much taller and definitely much stronger than human beings. The Elizabeth Shaw character determines through DNA analysis that humanity is derived from the Engineers (and hence in theory there could be offspring from a mating of the two species). The fact that the Engineers can travel in space and engage in genetic engineering is indicative of their intelligence.

Finally, the most paramount attribute of the Engineers is the unmitigated malevolence they harbor toward Mankind, their progeny, given their fervent intent to seek Mankind’s eradication.

This last point mirrors what is related in the ancient Mesopotamian account of the Deluge, where the Annunaki god, Enlil, wished to see Mankind eradicated by the device of a great destruction that was foreseen by the Annunaki to soon befall the Earth. Enlil forbade providing any foreknowledge or assistance to Mankind in respect to this looming great catastrophe. The Book of Genesis relates that the Hebrew god, Yahweh, likewise desired to see Mankind totally destroyed:

6:7 And Yahweh said, I will destroy Man, whom I have created, from the earth — from man to cattle, to creeping things, and to fowl of the heavens; for I repent that I have made them.

The more ancient Sumer story recounts that the god Enki wanted to instead see humanity survive and therefore assisted the Flood hero (thus thwarting Enlil’s intent of bringing about absolute extinction). The Biblical account of the Flood, in contrast, depicts a monotheistic god that is sort of schizophrenic – wanting to utterly wipe out Mankind on the one hand, while deciding to spare Noah and his family on the other. (It is a kind of further evidence of how the very ancient stories coming down from Sumer/Akkad were edited into a monotheistic Reader’s Digest version as they were incorporated into the Book of Genesis.)

An innate malevolence as a characteristic of the so-called creator god is a fundamental tenet of Gnostic Christianity in respect to their theological conception of the Demiurge. (My article on Gnostic cosmological dualism goes into this in more depth.)

In a sense the portrayal of the Engineers in the film Prometheus is essentially a revisionist formulation of the Gnostic Demiruge – where it is now informed and updated by the Ancient Astronaut Theory.

The Engineers as the Gnostic Demiruge…is it reasonable to bring Gnostic Christianity into a comparative analysis of Prometheus to Blade Runner?

Christian Gnosticism

When plumbing the back story of Ridley Scott’s film Blade Runner, it will be necessary to take into consideration the author of the book on which the film was based – Philip K. Dick.

Here is an excerpt from The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick:

P.K.Dick_excerpt_from_Exegesis

Or consider P. K. Dick’s The Ten Major Principles of the Gnostic Revelation as recounted in this Examiner article by Miguel Conner, What are the main principles of a Christian Gnostic? From the article:

But if a list is demanded on defining Gnosticism, it might as well come from a person whose first passion was music– Philip K. Dick, considered by many as the latest and greatest Gnostic bandleader.

Dick’s visionary Gnosticism is best known from his novels (‘Valis’ and ‘The Divine Invasion’) and films (‘Bladerunner’ and ‘Minority Report’). Yet Dick spent much of life expressing his mystic discoveries in his ‘Exegesis’. Although the ‘Exegisis’ is a massive work, Dick managed to produce a list that might satisfy those needing to perfect their musical ear.

Here is item 5 from Dick’s list:

5. Each of us has a divine counterpart unfallen who can reach a hand down to us to awaken us. This other personality is the authentic waking self; the one we have now is asleep and minor. We are in fact asleep, and in the hands of a dangerous magician disguised as a good god, the deranged creator deity. The bleakness, the evil and pain in this world, the fact that it is a deterministic prison controlled by the demented creator causes us willingly to split with the reality principle early in life, and so to speak willingly fall asleep in delusion.

In Blade Runner I denote two visual allusions that depict the character Roy as a Christ figure, and that in particular he is a “Christ as Gnostic Revealer” in that he awakens the character Deckard.

Both the film Alien and the film Prometheus have main protagonist characters that are female (Ripley and Elizabeth respectively). Gnostics revere wisdom as expressed in the feminine divine, Sophia. The Christian Gnostics were denounced as heretics by their so-called “orthodox” counterparts. The Gnostic sects tended to be egalitarian and permitted women to participate at any function and capacity. One of the graver denouncements that Irenaeus of Lyons leveled against them is that they even permitted women to perform baptisms. (In contrast to the Gnostic Christians, the early church fathers of what became the orthodoxy tended toward misogynist attitudes.)

In Prometheus, the protagonist Elizabeth Shaw wears a Christian cross in necklace fashion. Significant attention is brought to bear on this symbol over the latter course of the film. At one point the android character, David (portrayed by Michael Fassbender), removes this cross necklace from Elizabeth while she is unconscious. Later on Elizabeth very insistently demands that it be returned to her and she begins to wear it again. This is a very deliberate story element – absolutely no doubt about that – no subtlety involved, no audience member misses this.

Elizabeth soundly rejoined the materialistic Darwinian perspective earlier in the movie (that which passes for “mainstream” rationality). By the end of the film she remains the lone human survivor – all others (and their perspectives toward life and reality) have been washed by the way side as ultimately irrelevant (and futile). She encountered the creators of Mankind and what transpired was neither enlightening nor what anyone had anticipated. She came face to face with the Demiurge and it found her presence as intolerable.

In the face of all that takes place in the latter half of the movie, Elizabeth, scientist by training, fervently clings to a symbol of Christianity. As this film ends, Elizabeth’s determination remains to seek an ultimate answer – to seek ultimate truth. For an awakened Gnostic, this is the great obsessive calling that cannot be repressed or denied.

From 1979 to 2012, what has Ridley Scott told his audience?

Zecharia Sitchin published his book The 12th Planet in 1976 in which he intimately connected the Ancient Astronaut Theory to be one and the same as the Anunnaki gods of the ancient Mesopotamian civilization, Sumer.

Jacques Vallée published Passport to Magonia: From Folklore to Flying Saucers in 1969 or Messengers of Deception: UFO Contacts and Cults in 1979. These books have been instrumental in the deconstruction of UFO contact phenomena from a nuts and bolts extraterrestrial visitation to that which is something playing on the very fabric of what constitutes perceived reality. For the generation of ufologist today, this point of view has become more persuasive and dominant – the nature of reality is not what we might suppose as per our education in school and universities. So-called UFO contact phenomena are actually quite ancient and seemingly shifts in nature to suit the cultural memes of the day. Yet things like the visage of the humanoid owl remain an identifiable constancy through the millennia.

Elaine Pagels published the highly influential The Gnostic Gospels in 1979. This work brought awareness of the Nag Hammadi texts and the Gnostic Christians of the first few centuries AD to an audience beyond academia, as her writings are very accessible to the lay person.

Philip K. Dick in 1974 had an experience that culminated in his writing of the VALIS trilogy. Dick, from this experience, began to conclude that the times of the Roman Empire (and the Roman Church that supplanted it) persecuting Gnostics Christian is a struggle that has really never ceased (a tenet of Gnostic Christianity, Bogomilism, Catharism is reincarnation of the evolving soul – arch conflicts may span through the ages).

There were indeed pre-existent works in literature that Ridley Scott may have been drawing on in respect to the symbolism, allegorical storytelling, and overt narrative themes that he went on to embed in the three notable films that have been referred to herein. Sources such as these could have been plausible inspiration – or Ridley Scott may have also been tapping into the lore (and agenda) of some secret order. Again, the owl symbolism in Blade Runner was simply not a meme that has garnered much awareness until more recent times.

What remains is that starting in 1979 and to the present year, Ridley Scott has made three significant films that in certain ways link together. In this last film, Prometheus, that which was previously occluded is now made overt. Life on Earth is the product of intelligent intervention. Yet the creator may not be of a nature that we presuppose. The cosmological dualism and the Demiurge concept of the Gnostic Christians were essentially right – it need merely be updated to reflect the Ancient Astronaut Theory as explanation of the Demiurge. There is a higher spiritual existence that transcends this current perceived reality – in this too the Gnostic Christians were correct. The Demiurge is actually not that big a deal – there is still yet a much greater truth. If we can come to grasp these things, then we too can awaken to gnosis.

MyCoreArticles (and some related links)
[awakening, synchronicity, Gnosticism, AAT, nature of reality/consciousness, etc.]
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RogerV

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4 Comments
  1. Hey man, great article. I heard about you on the aeon byte and was really intrigued by your insights. Have you ever watched the early 80’s anime Robotech? Tons of weird ancient astronaut symbolism, giant humanoids and all that weird stuff, (plus a lot of boring crap). Anyway I am about to rent prometheus and give it the once over for a second time. I enjoyed it the first time but did not catch all the cool junk, I think I was too busy waiting for the “alien prequel hype” that was going around…. Thanks and keep it up!

    • Hi Matthew,

      Glad you liked the article. If you came to it by way of aeon byte, then perhaps that means you’ve caught my audio interview with Miguel?

      Also, this Prometheus article makes the most sense if one has read my Blade Runner article – not sure if you had done so thus just mentioning that. The Heiser vs Sitchin article, Nice Pictures of Ancient Enigmas, and Baalbeck platform vis a vis AAT are interesting related items to look at as well.

      Am not up on the Robotech anime stuff. (My son got me into watching the Last Airbender anime stuff with him, though.)

      I do make mention of Chris Knowles in my Blade Runner article and he has extensively covered comic artist Jack Kirby. If you want to go into a rabbit hole on astro-gnostic themes, then recommend you go to his secretsun blog site and query up his blog postings on Jack Kirby as a launching point.

  2. Iapetus permalink

    Absolutely fantastic analysis, I wish there were more astute observers such as yourself! There was a a strong allusion to the Grail in this film and the Tree of Life, namely the saucer that the sacrificial engineer drinks the ‘elixir’ from has a tree etched on it in Sumerian cuneiform; he’s literally drinking from the cup of life and sacrifices in himself in a kind of baptism. He reminded me of Geshtu-e or even Osiris, there was even a Norse symbolism there to. Strong archetypal symbols and non-verbal metaphors are laced throughout the film. Another tie in to the Grail is in the form of the emerald stone sitting on top of the altar in the ampule chamber, this reminds me of the emerald grail or rather stone associated with Lucifer, indicating perhaps that the engineers on LV-223 are fallen angels, or, ‘dark angels’, to quote Ridley.

    • Thanks for your remarks and taking the time to give some feedback – much appreciated. (Your handle, Iapetus, is very cool BTW given how strange that moon of Saturn is – and to me a possible indication of AAT in our solar system.)

      As to grail symbology, there is another variation in Sumerian mythology on a dying god motif. In the creation of man mythology one of the gods is chosen to be slain so as to provide the substance of their race that is then used in the fashioning of mankind as a new hybrid species (created to be servants to the gods). I’m in the camp that thinks this story is over embellished and/or mis-interpreted. In taking the myth as relating historical information, all that likely happened is that one of the “gods” had some blood drawn so that DNA could be extracted from the white blood cells. The god being slain is probably just exaggeration as the myth was passed down through the ages.

      And I am quite certain that I failed to become enlightened enough to catch all the symbolism in the film. I did have a purpose afoot though of trying to relate how Alien, Blade Runner, and Prometheus all have a connective thread that weaves through them; the latter two films really being the most connected.

      I would urge that you read my Blade Runner article if you haven’t already, and also for still more insight listen to my audio interview with Miguel of Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio. Some of my other articles that I link from these two also have interesting points to make in their own right.

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