This is taken from an email I sent to Robbie:
I want to respond to the rather lengthy discussion you and PB had regarding Prometheus. You discussed Hillman's statement on page 27, "the work must always be on guard against the 'promethean sin,' stealing the fire for human use." Your discussion of this point reinforced the argument that you made throughout LA 2, and that Hillman also makes repeatedly in his writings, that we are at work on or with the images for the sake of the images, not for the sake of the dreamer and his/her habitual ego. It is a crucial point, as far as it goes.
The problem I want to raise with you - and by implication with Hillman's statement - is that this may read Prometheus too narrowly. As these things go, at the time of the webinar I had just been reading a section on Prometheus in Bachelard's Fragments of a Poetics of Fire. [This is an edited compilation by Bachelard's daughter of a set of notes and fragmentary writings left at the end of his life. He had been at work for some time on a new book on the imagination of fire, and all of this material was for that book or perhaps books.] In that section, Bachelard worries that while Prometheus is "a commonplace (GB's italics) of human sensibility," he remains "essentially unknown." Bachelard goes on then to differentiate "three languages" of Prometheus. The first of these GB calls the ordinary language of utility, and it is here that Hillman's commentary seems to apply. This is fire stolen for human use.
But then GB urges us to move beyond utility to a second language to what he terms "a sort of infra-language. Our internal organs are so many hearths. A whole range of idioms whch make use of fever as a metaphor are used in describing human instincts. An existentialism of the senses - could any other kind exist? - has need of such an infra-language. Fire must be felt to be a valuable possession safely smoldering beneath the ashes. The attraction in buried fire speaks through a thousand torrid dreams . . . Our Promethean dreams are fueled by half conviction that the fire is in us . . . in many of the myths Frazer records, fire is first drawn from the human body."
Then third, GB goes on to discuss a third language, which he terms a supra-language. In this regard, he writes, "Fire would be too material a gift if not accompanied by light. Light would be but a poor gift itself if judged solely in terms of its utility, divorced from the realm of lucid consciousness. This lucicity is the arena in which a Super-Prometheanism is to develop."
I won't go on with this. If a copy of the book is readily available, I would recommend this section in its entirity.