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Questions about the Promethean movement

 

What is the Promethean movement?

We are an independent, unofficial group of people, an organized but non-hierarchical cohesion of individual members around a shared vision, the value of life. Our guiding philosophy is called Prometheanism, and above all we seek the advancement of life. Our core members are called Prometheans.

What is a Promethean? What is the difference between members of the Promethean movement, and Prometheans? Why do you make these distinctions?

The term "Promethean" indicates a core member taking a leadership role in the Promethean movement. Prometheans comprise a subset of members, so members include a small number of Prometheans. The obvious distinction is one of commitment level. A Promethean takes personal responsibility for the success of the movement, and for its guidance by voluntary methods according to individualist principles. Candidates from among other members can become recognized as new Prometheans according to unanimous agreement of all active Prometheans. That distinction of a "Promethean" is made both descriptively, concerning a person's Promethean character and life-interested motivations, and functionally, in order to organize the movement effectively. For other information on the qualities desired among Prometheans and their roles, see The Promethean Trilogy and other material hosted at Promethea.

How is the Promethean movement organized?

The Promethean movement is designed not by top-down hierarchy but by the cooperation of interconnected individuals, Prometheans and other members. We Prometheans conceive of the movement as something new, not as a centralized, collective group but as a group formed by a coalescence of connected individuals around the value and standard of life. Each person acts independently within an organic complexity formed of individual differences. The whole 'movement' means nothing in itself; the action of individuals makes the movement. Prometheans guide it by providing ideals and ideas, directions and projects others may follow as they wish. Thus the Promethean movement is one example of the natural organization we think the aspects of the world which work well already follow — whether friendships, business relations, families, cultural trends, etc. — and which we would like every interaction between people to observe.

How does Promethean leadership work? If Prometheans lead by ideas individualistically, what represents all of the Prometheans? Do different Prometheans have to think the same thing? What happens when they disagree?

Promethean leadership is an experiment in voluntary and individualistic persuasion as a means of social cooperation, instead of hierarchy and compulsion. This is one of the most special things about the movement. Prometheans lead by persuasion, directly by making a request of someone, and indirectly through communicating ideas which have an influence, making use of the effect referred to as "the rule of ideas."

The association of Prometheans could inelegantly be described as a virtual think tank, at present, for the most important work Prometheans do currently gets accomplished on a mostly distinct, solitary basis. In the future however, we expect this association to become much more as our numbers and resources grow. This will especially apply to the long run, as we get closer to the ability to found the first Promethean society.

The front-level content of this web site includes what Prometheans can agree upon, for example in the Information section. In these and other matters, however, Prometheans always speak for themselves independently, in keeping with the individualism underpinning Prometheanism. They agree as they wish, support each others' efforts as they wish, hashing out mutual agreements whenever necessary (as in the case of this web site), based on their requisite shared devotion to the advancement of life. They inevitably of course differ on some more minor issues, as they should in order to remain individualistic leaders who do not endorse an orthodoxy. Prometheans personally organize initiatives and projects according to their varying interests and beliefs, projects which members can decide to support or ignore as they wish, as can anyone else. Prometheans make an effort to differentiate individual work and individual opinions for the most part, distinguishing them by Promethean names. More independent, specifically personal, and possibly internally controversial opinions can be found in each Promethean's subsection in the Membership section on this site.

See also: the current list of Projects organized by Prometheans.

What does membership require? What does it mean to be a "member" of the Promethean movement as opposed to just an informal supporter or helper?

Informal supporters have been helping members of the movement in a variety of supplementary ways. But the basic distinction of a member with active standing is one of continual support: willingness to publicly acknowledge membership and consciously contribute to our mission of life-advancement at a personal level, and a mutual level.

Membership involves making contributions according to opportunity and ability. Specifically, as part of a reorganization in 2008, a member should plan on choosing an appropriate project or projects to pursue in the interests of the movement. In order to keep their membership current, they should be prepared to discuss the progress of their project(s) at least once per month, on a members-only section of the Promethean movement forum. Such a project might have primarily individual significance, or it might consist of individual collaboration. A wide variety of projects are possible. In some cases members adopting projects will end up describing what they were already doing (for example, pursuing education which develops abilities which may become useful to the movement). Doing so consciously, however, will help to clarify their current roles and their progress to themselves, and to others within the movement. In other cases, members will adopt new projects which excite or interest them. Letting other members know of their progress will help members to receive any insights or advice others may have to give.

In addition, members are encouraged to participate on the forum with at least one additional post per month (if not more). This can include initiating a thread or participating in exchanges, or simply posting an article. Members should stay informed of movement news, and opportunities to help with ongoing projects.

Some members may help a great deal more, and may even seek to become recognized as Prometheans if they desire to make a calling out of their involvement.

What sort of members do you accept?

Our membership can include the young and old, from any genetic or cultural background, living in any place. Anyone who is sincere in their desire to join and participate based on their common ground with the movement is welcome. Members must continue to participate in order to keep their membership current, however (see above).

As of now I am not able to join the movement publicly. Can I still participate and help the movement if I don't wish to be known and counted as a member?

Yes, you can help initiatives of the movement anonymously as an informal supporter without any particular commitments (although we certainly prefer supportive people to become members). Prometheans and other members may choose to accept help from others on projects as they see fit; there may be opportunities to help with ongoing projects, even if this simply consists of spreading the word.

What measures have been taken with the movement to ensure that it will not resemble the collective organizations objected to in several Promethean writings, such as The Promethean Manifesto: Part 9. Collectivism?

See answers above.

Why is the Promethean movement not an official non-profit organization/corporation?

We consciously maintain an unofficial and non-hierarchical organization. Members may find it necessary to establish non-profit organizations to support their efforts financially (e.g. The Agathon Project), but the Promethean movement will never become an official organization or become limited only to the role of a charity or restrained by the legal definition of a corporation. The Promethean movement will remain independent and unofficial, with unique characteristics.

Is the Promethean movement some sort of cult?

No. A few critics of our different ideas or our enthusiasm have fallen back on that smear in the past and others probably will again in the future, but the answer is assuredly no. For one thing, a cult in the modern sense is generally considered to be a controlled organization devoted to an orthodoxy of thought and behavior among its members. The Promethean movement, conversely, welcomes any support or constructive criticism and fully encourages a critical and discerning approach on the part of everyone involved. Members can think whatever they want, and choose their own contributions to mutual goals. For another thing, a cult typically exploits the work of those who join and believe for the sake of those leading the cult. However, in the Promethean movement the greatest demands of work are placed upon the Prometheans leading it, and in fact their higher level of commitment is one of the things defining a Promethean. The goals and methodology behind the Promethean movement vehemently oppose cultish organizations and behavior. In fact, many more conventional organizations probably have much more in common with cults than we do.

Is the Promethean movement a terrorist organization? Do you advocate violence to achieve goals?

Absolutely not. We do not advocate trying to violently overthrow governments, much less trying to draw attention to our cause by killing people. Judged according to the value of life held as the highest value in Prometheanism, premature death is clearly always a sort of loss, thus we would seek to avoid the death of any person whenever at all possible (with the only obvious necessitated exception being immediate self-defense). And regardless of being justified or not, this kind of violent resistance is usually self-defeating. If at all possible, it is far better to prove a point peacefully than stoop to the same violence monopolized by the government.

 

Questions about Prometheanism

 

What is Prometheanism?

Prometheanism is the philosophy that inspired the foundation of the Promethean movement. It is especially concerned with inspiring and guiding the actions of those within the movement, especially Prometheans, the leaders of the movement, who have the task of exploring, developing, and clarifying Prometheanism for themselves and others. Prometheanism as a philosophy certainly has something to contribute to the lives of everyone, however, not only those who are involved with the Promethean movement.

Prometheanism can be expanded to infinite specific detail, unending subtleties, and unbounded complexity, but it can also be identified in very practical or very simple terms. The shortest way to describe what Prometheanism is may be this definition: whatever advances life belongs to Prometheanism, whatever does not belongs to something else.

More About Prometheanism

What are the basics of Prometheanism?

see The Foundation of Prometheanism and Important Principles of Prometheanism

Where did Prometheanism come from?

see Origins of Prometheanism

How does Prometheanism differ from (statist, capital "L") Libertarianism, or "classical liberalism"?

Prometheanism is very different from Libertarianism, meaning the political philosophy endorsing strictly limited government for the State, promoted by Libertarian political organizations such as the Libertarian Party in the United States.

First, Prometheanism is not merely a political (or rather antipolitical) philosophy. Prometheanism is about much more than opposing government. It encompasses not only some antipolitical ideas, but post-political or apolitical ones too, by most definitions of politics.

Second, Prometheanism opposes all forms of government completely, including 'Libertarian' minimal or constitutional government, because of its basis in a monopoly of force (that is on an artificial structure inhibiting self-expression), and the tendency of government power to exceed all bounds designed to reign it in.

Third, Prometheanism rejects political means of achieving goals here and now (including democracy) because they are all based on implicit compulsion, and because participation in government encourages and validates its importance — which would seem unwise, even hypocritical for those who oppose government.

Finally, Libertarianism usually relies on moralism, labeling the compulsion of government as "immoral," often according to a proposed standard of "natural rights." Prometheanism however is a conscientiously amoral philosophy requiring no insistence on an objective moral structure to justify itself, just contextual assessment measured by the standard of life as we individually interpret it according to the assertions of the foundation ideas and principles of Prometheanism. Such assessments taken generally do indicate firm and consistent opposition of the institutions of government and the governing principle itself, but understanding for the current circumstance and people's parts in it, not zealotry.

See also Promethean Capitalism: Part 9. The Minimal State and Fascism for an economic angle, and other materials at Promethea for background, especially The Promethean Trilogy.

How does Prometheanism differ from (non-statist, lower-case "l") libertarianism?

In the inclusive sense libertarianism is simply theory against the use of force in a political sense (endorsing force only in self-defense, or even not at all for pacifist libertarians). While libertarianism is defined by reaction against force, reducing social relations to terms of force is merely one of the overall models of analysis employed by Prometheanism. While libertarianism has been defined by a doctrine (no matter how useful), Prometheanism is defined by a purpose and process, to which doctrines are subordinated. See also the answers on Libertarianism above and individualist anarchism below.

How does Prometheanism differ from individualist anarchism or "anarcho-capitalism"?

In terms of just Promethean antipolitics and emphasis on seeing society from the individual outward, Prometheanism resembles the somewhat disparate philosophical school of individualist anarchism first articulated in the 19th century by Benjamin Tucker, Lysander Spooner, et al., continuing in the 20th and 21st in the work of Murray Rothbard, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Wendy McElroy et al., and we can fortuitously draw upon these contributions. Sometimes used interchangeably with the phrase "individualist anarchism" but more often used economically, "anarcho-capitalism," also called "free market anarchism" or "market anarchism," is generally an extension of certain Libertarian political theories, in which for example the principle that aggression is immoral gets extended to the theoretical conclusion of the elimination of the state, or an extension of free market economic theories in which the idea of a free market of individuals gets extended to a stateless, or "anarchic," theoretical conclusion. (For background on anarchism in general, see this off-site Anarchist Theory FAQ.) However we do not favor any of these politicized terms involving the reactionary idea of anarchism, which relates to establishment concepts of archism (rule); especially "anarcho-capitalism" implies that capitalism could alternately coexist with government in an authentic form. See also the answer on Promethean capitalism below. And see the answer below on the rule of ideas in a Promethean society distinguished from simple anarchism.

Prometheanism is not merely about opposing political rule and therefore advocating a stateless society, whether on a economic or sociopolitical theoretical basis. Nor is Prometheanism defined by its politics (or rather, antipolitics). Unlike anarchism, Prometheanism is not mainly driven by what it opposes; it is not only antipolitical but post-political or apolitical in thought by most definitions of politics, already involving the creation of positive ideas for the future, which for their sake necessitate opposing politics. Nonetheless, a Promethean society would have a stateless, truly free market of individuals, and can thus be partially described as anarchistic in the individualist sense or "anarcho-capitalistic" in that respect, although again we do not favor these politicized terms.

How does Prometheanism relate to Objectivism?

Most of what appears to be shared by both Prometheanism and Ayn Rand's Objectivism actually originates from the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche in the 19th century, and Promethean acknowledgement of Nietzsche has been readily made, whereas Ayn Rand turned against him and diverged from Nietzschean thought. Besides that mutual source material and early inspiration for both, there are perhaps even more differences than similarities, and Prometheanism is becoming a much deeper and diverse body of thought than Ayn Rand's admixture of "American Capitalism," orthodoxical Aristotelianism, and moralized whim. See A Personal and Promethean Response to Objectivism (at Promethea), an article dealing with some distinctions between the two philosophies.

Does Prometheanism advocate eugenics, or is the Promethean movement associated with eugenics movements?

Prometheanism does not advocate eugenic practices with a racial, or other collectivist basis. Prometheanism does however support preserving the option of voluntary genetic modification on an individual basis, although this is not the same as advocating the practice. Prometheanism focuses primarily on the importance of philosophy (ideas) over the simplistic strategy of breeding as a means for improving human beings. Also, most eugenics ideologies today are based on attempting to increase IQ, which must be rejected as any significant measure of either the diversity of intelligence, or of some basic, generalized criterion of human advancement. The Promethean movement is not involved with eugenics projects or affiliated with eugenics movements.

Is Prometheanism the same as "Prometheism"? Is the Promethean movement associated with the "secular religion" of Prometheism?

No, Prometheanism and the Promethean movement are not associated with the so-called "secular religion of Prometheism." See also the answer regarding eugenics above.

If collectivism can be so dangerous according to Prometheanism, what about the movement - how is it different from collectivist entities?

see answer above

 

Questions about a Promethean society

 

What is a Promethean society?

The name for the heretofore unrealized, evolved kind of society of individuals the Promethean movement seeks to found as a critical objective within our larger goal of advancing life by removing obstacles to self-expression. The eventual goal is for all human social interactions to come to employ the presuppositions defining a Promethean society, making the whole world a Promethean society. This begins with the intermediate step of foundation of the first Promethean society in the first place where such a change would become wise — where conducive conditions exist, including enough people who desire to progress beyond the problems of "societies" as the world has understood the concept, so far. In simplistic terms, the chief differences between modern and Promethean society involve uncompromising liberation and individualism, both tending toward a more natural circumstance which can enable the realized progress of human life, not its distortion according to false ideals or images of humanity, nor its artificial limitation.

For deeper information on the idea of a Promethean society see especially The Promethean Trilogy, particularly Anticonstitution for a Promethean Society.

"The essence of a Promethean society can be represented by two linked words, if we open each as a great door, seeing before us an expanse of implication and an intricate diversity of meaning. These words are Free and Individual. They represent the way we should live and the future we must create. Free: the freedom of will and action, personal autonomy, allodial person and property, deliverance from restraints, the absence of dominating political power, association and interconnection among people without binds or boundaries... Individual: defining the world from our selves outward, an environment of natural cooperative individualism, an end to collective illusions, the importance of diversity, insistence on our own value and promise, the knowledge that life constitutes an individual experience and can be an individual creation whatever we gain from one another..." – Anticonstitution for a Promethean Society 2003 Edition, 2. The Nature of a Promethean Society

Is a Promethean society a utopia?

Literally, "utopia" is from a Greek phrase "ou topia" meaning "no place", and that is exactly where a utopia, in the sense of an ideal society, could exist. A Promethean society is not meant to be a perfect society, nor could it be ideal from everyone's perspective. (Rather, "A Promethean society is created [especially] for those whose purpose is the greatest personal self-expression, those who want to live to the fullest." – Anticonstitution for a Promethean Society 2003 Edition.) Real people will always experience difficulties, and those living in a Promethean society will not be exempt. However, those living in a Promethean society will encounter fewer and less severe problems, considering that most problems humans suffer through are of their own making or follow the inherited influence of other people, especially those who have left behind relic ideas which still affect people profoundly. In time, future people may build upon the upcoming achievements of the Promethean movement in our age to create a world we would consider a nearly unimaginable paradise.

Besides, critical applications of Prometheanism to the current situation imply we already live with dystopian ramifications of various unrealistic, idealist ideas — it's those mythic assumptions behind present-day societies which are really "utopian"!

How does the theory and practice of Promethean capitalism in a Promethean society compare to terms like "free market capitalism," "laissez-faire capitalism," modern so-called "Capitalism" aka "state capitalism," etc.?

The intention of Promethean capitalism is to start with freshened terminology to contrast from considerable compounded distortion and confusion, but specify a "true" capitalism in the sense of the circumstance that authentically realizes the advantageous fundamentals implicit in the "free market" or "capitalistic" traditions, although often unrealized as much as advertised. Importantly, "capital" in Promethean terms is subjectively asserted according to each individual's own perception of value, and need not exclusively refer to financial, or any abstractly measurable wealth. Freely seeking to satisfy one's own desires for capital in this sense deserves the name Promethean. See the series Promethean Capitalism (at Promethea) for more comparing the intentions behind the theoretical meanings of all the terms noted above, and the implications of their actual referents when applied in real-life. See also the answer above regarding "anarcho-capitalism."

What is "the rule of ideas" and how does it relate to a Promethean society?

In the general sense the rule of ideas refers to both the traceable and the unpredictably complex influences and ramifications of ideas (by all meanings including conceptions, significations, models, memes and meme complexes, implicit philosophical assumptions, etc.), which "rule" in a sense "governs" all adaptive social interaction to a considerable extent, and always has in all human culture. (It includes any changes which Prometheanism may inspire in you, for example, or even the ramifications of these very words for you as your read them.) Political rulers, bureaucrats, demagogues and others often attempt to manipulate this effect today by controlling the flow of information, deceiving with disinformation, and propagating propaganda.

More specifically the rule of ideas in a Promethean society refers to an alternative to these mostly unwitting, and sneaky manipulative approaches to ideological influence in modern societies: supplementing whatever ideas otherwise happen to arise in a Promethean society with a concerted, open and acknowledged attempt by future Prometheans to provide trusted leadership, advice, guidance, education and inspiration to all those who want it (which Prometheans already do on a modest scale for the Promethean movement). Importantly, this influence is only "rule" in a metaphoric sense, not political rule. It is voluntary and persuasive, not mandatory or monolithic. The rule of ideas is a natural part of organic social interaction already, we merely wish to adapt this evolution more consciously. Note that the principle of the rule of ideas indicates some differentiation between a Promethean society and an "anarchic" society "without rule."

How would ___ be accomplished in a Promethean society?

See Anticonstitution for a Promethean Society at Promethea for a general overview. A general answer is that services now under the auspices of the state would be de-monopolized and replaced by independent efforts under freedom. Without government interference in any particular industry, including security and the settlement of disputes, people would learn to develop preferable alternatives and become more responsible for themselves and each other.

 

Questions about this web site

 

How do I use this web site?

see Help

Where is ____?

Try Help for general guidance, or this site search:

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WWW Prometheanmovement.org

Who made this web site? Who maintains it?

Some pages on this site, particularly those with continually updated material, have credits at the bottom of the page such as "page edited by ..." which you can use to associate the page with individuals responsible for its contents or for updates to its contents. The overall credits for the site are available on this page.

 

Miscellaneous and general questions

 

Where can I find more information?

See the main page of the Information section on this site for a guide. Those seeking further information should also visit Promethea, a creative and intellectual center for Prometheanism on the internet.

Can you explain the significance of adopting terms such as "Promethean" and "Prometheanism" derived from "Prometheus"?

see The Inspiration of Prometheus (at Promethea)

What does the term "life-interest" mean?

The coinage "life-interest" has been employed in some Promethean discourse to describe the life-advancing, or 'Promethean' unity of pursuing self-interest and an interest in life. See The Promethean Manifesto: Part 3. Vital Self-Interest and Individualism

What is a Promethean name?

The chosen anonym of significance adopted by each Promethean on the occasion of their becoming recognized in the role of Promethean, signifying the self-directed individuality of each Promethean as well as the Promethean aspect of that individual. A Promethean name is not employed for anonymity (each Promethean stands publicly as a member of the movement) but rather for symbolism — not only that of each different name but of remaking oneself in general.

The goals of Prometheanism and the Promethean movement seem unrealistic. Why do you think it is possible to change the world by convincing people to change their minds, found a new kind of society, end many modern problems as we know them, etc.?

All difficult goals, yes. But aside from effort and hardship, progress or discouragement — name something else you think would be a better way for you to focus and expend your energies during your comparatively ephemeral time alive on this planet. If you can, perhaps you should do it instead? If you cannot, you should really consider helping us.

 

 

Do you have other questions you would like answered here? Ask them by mailing pmfaqsATprometheanmovement.org and we may add them.

 

FAQs answered by Phoenix and Darios
page updated February 20, 2008 2:59

 

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