“The gravest and most painful testimony of the modern world, the one that possibly involves all other testimonies to which this epoch must answer (by virtue of some unknown decree or necessity, for we bear witness also to the exhaustion of thinking through History), is the testimony of the dissolution, the dislocation, or the conflagration of community.
Bernard Stiegler was a French philosopher known for his reflections on technology.
Outside the field of philosophy, he is of interest for his delightful retelling of the Epimetheus creation myth from Protagoras told in the film The Ister (2004).
The transcript of that story (above):
‘One day Zeus said to Prometheus, “the time has come for you, for us gods, to bring into the day the non-immortals.” The non-immortals being animals and men. Prometheus, who is put in charge of this task, has a twin brother named Epimetheus. Epimetheus resembles Prometheus; he is his double. But in fact Epimetheus is his brother’s opposite. Epimetheus is the god of the fault of forgetting. Prometheus is a figure of knowledge, of absolute mastery, total memory. Prometheus forgets nothing, Epimetheus forgets everything. Epimetheus says to his brother: “Zeus has given you this task – I want to do it! Me me me! I’ll take care of it.” Epimetheus is a rather simple-minded brother, and Prometheus is fond of him. He dares not refuse and says, “OK, you take care of it.” So Epimetheus distributes the qualities. He will give the gazelle its speed, for example. […] He distributes the qualities in equilibrium. Epimetheus’ distribution of the qualities describes the ecological balance of nature. […] Now, as Epimetheus is distributing the qualities, he suddenly notices something… […] “There are no qualities left! I forgot to save a quality for man!” […] “I still have to bring mankind, mortals, into the day.” […] but there are no qualities left to give him a form. So Prometheus goes to the workshop of the god Hephaestus, to steal fire. Fire, which is obviously the symbol of technics, but which is also the symbol of the power of god. Zeus.’–Bernard Stiegler retelling the creation myth of Protagoras in The Ister (2004)