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Zeus, Prometheus, Pandora, Epimetheus and 21st Century Lessons

June 21, 2011

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” ~ George Santayana

In the Olympian order, Zeus reigns in absolute power over the dethroned gods of ancient Greece. Zeus is the god of the invading Achaeans who destroyed the matriarchal world of the Earth Mother, of Demeter and of Hera. Prometheus is the son of Earth and of Ocean and is a threat to the static order established by Zeus.

Zeus is the master of life rather than its giver. He tolerates man and man’s world, but only barely.

In short, Prometheus steals fire from Zeus for use by common man. Zeus revenges himself on Prometheus by driving a stake through his heart. But Zeus also exacts revenge upon mankind: how? By sending Pandora, for in her “everything is good but her heart.”

Epimetheus, the brother of Prometheus, receives woman as a gift from Zeus and does not wake up to the true nature of the gift until it’s too late. Then he remembers what Prometheus had told him: never accept any gifts from the gods.

The 21st century lesson is about the complex interplay of government, business and citizen sectors. In the information age, the potential potency of these interlocking pillars determines worldwide and regional degrees of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) readiness. The global Internet economy is everyone’s concern.

Moreover, this ancient myth is about power, economics, policy, genuine common sense and business skills.

Lord Acton wrote “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” I agree. Fire has alternative uses: from preserving life to causing death. Turning inputs into outputs is the heart of economic policies and systems. Consequences matter more than intentions. And it’s a safe bet to never accept gifts.


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