Prometheus Analysis Part VII A – The Mural

The scene inside the “tomb” is probably one of the most important scenes in the whole film, because it is the first time we get to see signs of the creature link between Prometheus and Alien. Although it is not that direct, it reveals itself in the fascinating mural inside the tomb. I am sure you folks would agree that the whole scene is reminiscent of being inside an ancient Egyptian tomb –  the hieroglyphics, murals etc. But, given the plot of the film, it wouldn’t be illogical to assume that the ancient Egyptians had been influenced by the Engineers and hence, the architectural ideas of the Engineers is the original. In fact, the lead in to the discovery of the tomb in itself is a treasure chest of information – starting from the discovery of the hologram to the scene when they escape the tomb we are bombarded with important symbolism and imagery that provide a key to connect the storyline of Prometheus with Alien. Let us explore them one by one.

Let us revisit the hologram activation scene. David discovers hieroglyphic inscriptions on the wall of the corridor, which look like in the image below. In total, he performs five actions to activate the hologram. Two downward swipes, left to right, press one, fourth action is unclear and finally, another press. Now, the above information is not that important, but, the glyphs reminded me of something else. In Alien, in the very beginning, as the credits were rolling, the title played out on top of the screen with a series of vertical and slanted bars organizing into the word, Alien. Of course, I am not claiming that it means something. It’s just that I thought it was interesting to look at both the scenes from that context.

Hologram Hieroglyphs – Prometheus (Copyright 20th Century Fox)

Titles – Alien 1979 (Copyright 20th Century Fox)

The next interesting imagery is when they follow the hologram eventually finding the door to the tomb. Again, a fairly detailed hieroglyphic inscription greets them. You can observe them in the next couple of images. If you recall, Holloway asked David with an almost exasperated expression whether he could read them, to which David responded perhaps.

Hieroglyphs outside the tomb I – Prometheus (Copyright 20th Century Fox)

Hieroglyphs outside the tomb II – Prometheus (Copyright 20th Century Fox)

If you compare these glyphs with the one that activated the hologram, you could see that there are similarities. I have marked them in the following picture. Note that the ||| glyph is oft repeated in two styles – a bar on top and a bar on bottom. Although, the one encountered earlier had no bars either on top or bottom. Given the intersection between the two glyphs, I am positive David could have at least gotten an idea about what it says.

Similar characters shared with hologram activator – Prometheus (Copyright 20th Century Fox)

OK, now let us discuss the imagery inside the tomb. The pictures below show four different shots of one such image. There is no big mystery in the fact that it depicts an engineer enveloped in some kind of misty layer. But, what is not so clear is that his right hand leads to something unknown. I could not make out any details from the structure. It could be a headless body in a similar position like the engineer and happens to depict a right limb or it could be something more complex. Whatever it could be, would it be possible that this image projects the idea that this thing is envisioned to be something that”evolved” from the engineer? I am not really sure. May be I am just imagining or seeing things. But, the image is nevertheless interesting. I think I will watch this scene in super slow motion tonight again and try to see if there’s more to it.

Engineer Mural inside the tomb I – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer Mural inside the tomb II – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer Mural inside the tomb III – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer Mural inside the tomb IV – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Defining Moment – The Mural

It is time now to pay attention to the all important mural inside the tomb. I think it is fairly evident that the mural depicts the classic Alien creature that we all love to death. Of course, it is not completely detailed, but the important features are all there –  the head, the exoskeleton like structure, stretched out hands, bipedalism.

Alien Mural inside the tomb – Copyright 20th Century Fox

In addition, the wavy, viscous nature of the mural texture looks very similar to the way the black goo reacted and moved before it started overflowing. You could see the details of the mural texture and the black goo motion in the following pictures. Such a parallel between the two opens up the possibility that the black goo is sentient (If this assumption is right, then it is another win for The X Files as it relates to Prometheus).

“Alien” Mural – Detailed (Copyright 20th Century Fox)

Wavy motion of the viscous black goo – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Ancient Egypt inspiration?

I had mentioned earlier that the symbolism and images have ancient Egyptian style written all over it, but, that the engineers could have influenced the Egyptians during their frequent visitations during that time. I would like to advance this idea of reverse logic further and am gonna talk about another interesting aspect of the mural. Please remember, this is another one of those not in the ballpark ideas my sick mind conjured up. It could be entirely wrong, but nevertheless, I hope it provides an interesting twist.

The following personal story segment has no bearing with the analysis, so, feel free to ignore it.

*START – Personal Story*

When I was roughly around 15-16 years old I saw a documentary on TV about the discovery of Tutankhamun’s Tomb. It made quite an impact on me that I started visiting the British Library in Madras almost every evening after school just to learn more about ancient Egypt. To have had a civilization like that in our evolution history is certainly a very proud thing for us as a race. But, as you know a lifetime is not sufficient to learn everything about ancient Egypt. Hence, I focused my interest mostly on aspects of the Old Kingdom and the New Kingdom until the Greek invasion. Those evenings spent at the Library did not go in vain though. Six years later, a friend of mine cleared his Common Admission Test (CAT), organized by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) in India. IIM is a premier management institute in India and is famous all over the world for their programs. It is also probably one of the most difficult schools to get into. If you clear the test, you have to take part in a Group Discussion, followed by an in-depth interview, where anything goes. Anyway, my friend got an interview invite from IIM-Ahmedabad, the best IIM in the country and he asked me advice about strengthening his hobby areas, just in case it comes up in the interview. He thought Egyptology could help him, since, it is something very different and that might interest the interview panel. We had a month before the interview and we spent almost 4-5 hours everyday and we would discuss about ancient Egypt. Since time was short, I advised him that we could just look into the New Kingdom, especially the burial rituals, Gods and two pharaohs, Ramses and Akhenaten. I am a huge fan of Akhenaten and he was the first and probably the only one to go against stereotype of that time and was way ahead of the curve both in his thinking and ideology. I hoped our efforts would turn out useful for my friend. As luck would have it, he was asked about his hobbies in the interview and upon hearing Egyptology, the panel was surprised. One professor in the panel had dabbled in Egyptology himself and he was very excited to meet a prospective student with a similar interest. It made the environment a bit friendlier, my friend said. They ended up talking about Akhenaten in particular. My friend got admitted into IIM-Ahmedabad. I am not saying that he got the seat solely because of his discussion about Egyptology, but it did come in handy. Self high five.

*END – Personal Story*

Atum – Heliopolistic Creation Mythology

The idea is connected with creation myths of ancient Egypt. Although there are many theologies based on the prominence of a certain God in one of the major cities in Egypt, they all contribute in one form or the other to the creation mythology. I am not going to focus on all of them, since there is a wealth of information available on the net, starting from Wikipedia. But, what I would like to do is talk about one of the important deities during that period – Atum or Atem or simply, Tem. It is suggested that his name is derived from the word, tem, which means to complete or finish. He is regarded as a complete one and he is credited with both creation and ultimately destruction of life. Atum was the central God in the ancient city of Heliopolis. Hence, the creation myth involving Atum originated in Heliopolis. According to this creation theory, Atum created Himself by sitting on a mound that arose from the primordial waters of the abyss, called Nu. Sometimes, He Himself is considered as the mound. Why do I have to talk about Atum, you ask? Here’s why – He is also credited with the creation of god Shu and goddess Tefnut. He created them by spitting them out of his mouth. It is believed that he was masturbating and upon orgasm he took the semen in his mouth and spit it out thereby creating the gods. The texts from that time suggest various mechanisms for the creation, but they all involve masturbation, semen and spitting. So, the underlying thing here is that he created the twin gods by spitting them out. Shu and Tefnut eventually married each other!

The reason why I find Atum’s story in the context of the mural fascinating is because the Prometheus mural not only reveals the classic alien, but also a head type of thing right above it. It is animal-like (bull?) and I could see distinctive features like, eyes, mouth and nostrils (Atum, for instance, is thought of taking the form of a snake, mongoose or a bull sometimes). Considering the Atum-centric mythology and the relative proximity of the Alien to the mouth of the head above it in the mural together, I cannot ignore thinking about a connection between the two. At the risk of sounding like a broken ancient record, I would again like to emphasize that it is just a hypothesis and I might be dead wrong and the film makers never really cared about any Egyptian influence.

Coming back to Atum, He is a self-engendered god and He chooses when to create and when to destroy. He exercises authority over all life and has complete control over everything. So, the engineers are like Atum and they consider themselves as omnipotent beings and they have the authority and power to engineer and destroy life. That is reflective of a massive God complex! In that context, the unknown head like thing on top of the mural could be a reference to the engineers themselves and that the Alien is their “spat out” creation.

Sexual Connotations

The original Alien was pretty unsettling for a lot of people at that time because it turned the concept of sex on its head.  Dan O’Bannon (Bless him), the writer of Alien even mentioned in one of his interviews that his idea was to unsettle the average male viewer with the whole facehugger sequence. If you look at it, it is basically oral rape, the wrapping of its legs tightly around the host, insertion of its proboscis down the throat simultaneously implanting the embryo, all of it presents a violent image of sex. Not to mention the culmination of the entire process with birth of the chestburster, which is one of those biggest “Holy Shit!” moments in movie history. So, the mouth of the host is integral to the whole cycle.

Facehugger Rape – Alien 1979 (Copyright 20th Century Fox)

Masturbating Atum on the left

Now, let us look at the Atum-centric creation myth again. Of course, many would say that the image of a god masturbating and taking his own semen inside his mouth (see pictures to the right and the one below) before spitting it out creating other gods is sick. Some would even say that it is somewhat amoral and all that crap. Also, the spat out gods, who are siblings, married and gave birth to other gods. So, you see there are a lot of things here that would make people uncomfortable. But, ancient Egyptians believed it and were fine with the idea (If you thought Atum masturbation myth was odd, you should read about the infamous lettuce incident between Horus and his evil uncle Set. Horus’s father Osiris was killed by Set and Horus wanted to exact revenge. My point is, sexual aspects are fairly common not just in ancient Egypt, but in many other ancient religions, like Hinduism as well). It just shows how morality was perceived earlier and how it changed over the years, thanks to a certain religion. I will come back to the issue of morality later on in my thesis, because I think it is going to be the key in answering some of our pressing questions about the engineers’ intent.

Same picture as before – Semen consumption

Due to all this I think it is not that far fetched to compare the Atum-centric creation myth with the mural and the deeper meaning that such a comparison unravels.

Now, getting back to Prometheus, we saw that the murals started changing after a while inside the tomb. The group then rushes out of the place. One of the shots of another mural that showed this change or “evolution” is given below. If you paid attention to the scene, you would see something like the classic alien head and its famous bony appendage with which it would attack. I have marked it for easy viewing. I might be seeing things, but I just thought of mentioning.

Mural Evolution inside the tomb – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Finally we come to the last scene related to the mural. When you see the following picture, it should become clear. I am sure everyone would agree that on the bottom right corner, what we see is a classic facehugger! Holloway’s light even emphasizes this part of the mural, which is a clever way on part of the filmmakers to give us further clues. The fact that the alien and the facehugger is heavily represented in the mural shows that the engineers knew what they exactly wanted to create. I would elaborate on these aspects in my next post, which will be the final part of the mural analysis.

Facehugger – Prometheus (Copyright 20th Century Fox)

Review

So, there is a heavy reliance on Egyptian style hieroglyphs and symbolism to not just further the movie, but, also give us hardcore fans some subtle hints helping us connect the dots. There is a stylistic resemblance between some of the glyphs and the way the title, “Alien” played out in the original film. The scene inside the tomb depicts a variety of murals that show engineers, the original alien creature and the facehugger. Looking at some of the aspects of the whole scene through an ancient Egyptian eye lens provides us with a few other fascinating ideas that cover issues like creation and sexuality.

Whoa! That took some time. Anyway, I still need to talk a bit about how the mural might tell us about the engineers’ intent in engineering this creature. I will do it in my next post.

Prometheus Analysis Part VI B – Black Goo: What could it be?

Black Goo – Phase I: Engineering Life

Pivotal Scene

OK, now that I have gotten my thoughts about Prometheus X Files connection posted, let us look into the black goo itself. As I had theorized in the Origins Section, I would assume that the first variant of the black goo used in engineering life on prehistoric Earth was a rapid reverse-evolution catalyst of some kind. This would aid the disintegration of the engineer into biological precursors that could re-evolve under the right conditions anywhere in any planetary system. But the crowning achievement of this reverse evolution is that the genetic makeup of the initiator in question is somehow preserved. This way, even under the threat of a natural extinction, their genetic template is intact and it could be used to re-engineer the entire race.

Now, taking into account the engineer’s intervention time period and adding an exaggerated estimate of say, another 100-200 million years for them to have reached a capability of engineering life in an alien world, it puts the age of the engineer race somewhere close to 4 billion years! Earth, at 4.6 billion years old is just a little more than half billion years older than that. It is very likely that the engineers are right on top of their natural evolutionary chain. Whether it maxed out when the engineers appeared or not is a question that is open. But, I am sure everyone would agree that for a race of beings to have survived that long it would have required an external intervention of sorts. There must have been a lot of bottlenecks on the way in their survival – Natural factors dictated by evolution, home planet conditions (depletion of natural resources, possibility of their Sun going Nova or becoming a red giant like our Sun would in about 5 billion years), threats of war (We do see in the film that the engineers are not that peaceful after all. Besides, they have a pretty sophisticated militaristic wing in their society. Based on all this one is led to think about the possibility of past wars that would have had the potential to wipe out the entire race), to name a few. But, obviously they did not perish. Instead, they had mastered space travel, established colonies in farthest of places and most fascinatingly, have figured out the secrets of life.

What would we do?

At the risk of sounding a bit like John Quinones, I would now like to contemplate on our own future. Could we attain the success of the engineers, not just from the survival front, but also from the technological standpoint. As I had mentioned earlier, my idea with this whole exercise is to discuss the happenings in the movie under the framework of our current scientific knowledge and speculate on what the future would be like for us. The modern human is just around 200 thousand years old. Many thinkers, philosophers, biologists and futurists have pondered over a long time about our fate in the evolutionary scheme of things. Most of them agree upon the fact that we are on the verge of reaching the apex of the evolutionary tree.

Human Brain

How we further evolve is directly connected to the future of intelligence – hence, the brain and the nervous system come into play. Our brain evolved from a chimpanzee like brain, which was three times smaller than ours. So, a natural question arises about the evolution of a larger brain. Michel Hofman had addressed this question and based on his extrapolation studies he concluded that our brain is pretty close to its potential to generate maximum intelligence. He reasoned that although a larger size marginally would improve the intelligence potential and cognitive functions, there would be problems with communication between various structures in the brain. A decrease in communication time would consequently result in the reduction of processing power. Unless, nature comes out with another way to increase/improve organic intelligence by some other means, it would be safe to assume that our brain has almost reached its maximum potential. For more, you should watch the fascinating program, “What We Still Don’t Know: Are We Real?”. It is a fantastic documentary, hosted by Sir Martin Rees and features, Max Tegmark (Mathematical Universe Hypothesis), Leonard Susskind (Co-founder of String Theory and The Holographic Principle), John Conway (Mathematician, Game of Life), Michel Hofman (Neurobiologist) and others. The discussion about the brain and intelligence starts at around 30 minutes, 50 seconds mark.

So, keeping in mind the evolution driven constraints and other biological bottlenecks, it is only by intervention that we could ensure that we survive billions of years as a race. It could be at the organic level and such an intervention would undoubtedly lead us into unlocking the secrets of emergence of life itself from the harmonious association between the organic molecules. This understanding would further pave the way to recreate life from its components. This could eventually even lead to immortality.

Another interesting avenue of intervention could happen at the cusp between human and machine evolution. Given how far we have come until now in the development of machine intelligence, I believe that such a scenario could be a real possibility.  Development of autonomous AI, micro-machines, in the spirit of Ghost in the Shell would be not that far fetched. Essentially, it could lead to the creation of a carbon-silicon hybrid of sorts that could improve life and perhaps spawn the birth of a kind of superhuman both in terms of physical strength and intellect.

Black Goo – Phase II: Bioweapon

Black Goo inside the Ship

Now, let us talk about the second, more sinister incarnation of the black substance. I have no doubt in my mind that it is some kind of bioweapon. But, questions remain over the engineers’ intention developing the weapon. It is clear that this black goo is an engineered variant of the substance from the first scene, since it is intended to create a life form as well. I further believe that the engineers knew exactly what kind of life form they wanted to engineer. The reasoning behind this belief is the mural we saw in the tomb inside the ship. The mural is my main focus in my next post. From what we saw in the first exploration scene, it is clear something terrible happened that resulted in the deaths of many engineers. It could be that the engineers underestimated the potency of the substance or it is likely they experimented on some of their own (They certainly don’t shy away from sacrificing themselves for the cause of engineering life). But, more on this later. In the meantime there are a few questions that bother me.

1. From their survival standards alone, it is evident that the engineer race must have an organized society with a hierarchical structure – one that would involve a group of leaders who would be the main decision makers. The militaristic subculture also shows that they should have a proactive defence network that would include a few other key decision makers as well. But, they do answer to the aforementioned leaders. May be we will know more about this in the second film and it might even turn out to be an integral part in solving the many puzzles.

2. I talked about this earlier as well. Based on the star maps the engineers showed the early humans, it is obvious that the engineers invited us to a place that is not their home and on top of that what we now know is some kind of weapons facility. Why would they invite us to this place? Not to mention that one such invitation dates back to nearly 35,000 years ago. Such a special status for LV 223 is hence, most fascinating. Were they planning to let us know how it is done? I mean, the whole engineering life thing. Could it be that their intentions changed suddenly around 2000 years ago due to human development completely having gone against their expectations?

Questions, questions! Anyway, once we explore the mural angle in the next post, I am sure we can further our hypothesis that would provide a solution to some of our problems.

Prometheus Analysis Part VI A – Black Goo: The X Files Excitation

In this post, I would like to talk about the black goo thingy that is an integral part of the film. But, first I would like to say something. When the black substance made its first appearance in the movie (The scene where the engineer consumes a version of it that results in his dramatic disintegration), my excitement was so high that it gave me heart palpitations. The reason was it evoked a very strong memory of one of the greatest Television series ever made by the human race, The X Files. I am one of its biggest fans and the show has influenced me in so many ways. Even today I can randomly pick out an episode (Season 1 – Season 7 and episodes featuring Mulder in Seasons 8 and 9) and watch the whole damn thing in mute and speak the dialogues of every character. Apart from that, I can do the famous echo of the theme, and confidently even hum the background music from all episodes that cover the Mythology series. Anyway, I found it fascinating to look at the black goo based on the importance of black oil (Purity) phenomenon in The X Files. I do see some parallels between the two. But before I talk about it, let us get back to the role played by the black goo in Prometheus.

The black goo is the critical element in engineering life on earth. On LV 223, Prometheus finds yet another engineered variant of the black goo, which seemingly has a mutating effect on the person who directly comes into contact with it. In addition, we found out that a man infected with the substance can indirectly infect his female sexual partner. But the effect it has on the female is beyond mutation of any sort. She is able to spawn an abomination of a life form that follows through another life cycle.

PURITY AKA BLACK OIL

Purity Virus

Now, let us revisit the Black Oil aka Purity phenomenon from The X Files. Just as the black goo has a profound significance in Prometheus, the black oil is a key element in the mythology series of The X Files. Purity first appeared on the episode, Piper Maru, in Season 3 of The X Files. Coincidentally, it also happens to be one of my favorite episodes of The X Files. I am sure every true Xphile would agree with me on that. Without going into details about this episode and the subsequent ones where Purity played a predominant role, we learned that it is nothing more than an alien virus that resides in petroleum deposits. Upon contact, the virus is capable of entering humans, taking over their bodies. It possesses very high intelligence and is capable of communication.

Alex Krycek infected with Purity

In the events leading up to the first film and eventually in the film, Fight the Future, we found out that purity is essentially something the alien colonists can’t live without, namely, it is their life force. This life force can be used in two ways. 1. It can be used to completely re-engineer their race. 2. It can be used to infect another alien race and control them as a slave race of sorts – Potency as a bio-weapon. Do you see a parallel with Prometheus? Not 100%, but nevertheless, there are some common themes.

In fact, in the film we saw that a gestational form of the black oil is capable of mutating into a fully grown extraterrestrial biological entity (E.B.E) within 96 hours in a normal temperature environment. The gestating E.B.E uses the life force of the host for development and upon maturation bursts out of the infected host, thereby killing him or her.  At least one member of the Syndicate, The Well-Manicured Man is shell shocked on hearing about the mutating ability of the virus that he sacrificed himself after giving Mulder the weak vaccine developed by a Russian Syndicate to rescue Scully. Although it would be interesting to talk about who the colonists are or what role the syndicate plays and various other conspiracy theory angles, I am not gonna do that, since, it would turn out to be a detailed discussion of The X Files, which I don’t want it to be. But, I would just mention the fact that remarkable characters on the show like The Cigarette Smoking Man, Deep Throat, X, Well Manicured Man and many more can never be forgotten.

Well Manicured Man: Trust No One, Mr. Mulder- Fight the Future

Purity had a life of its own in The X Files mythology until the very end of the series. It is by far one of the greatest symbols of The X Files. The idea was brilliant and it was perfectly executed in my opinion. The menacing effect it had when it appeared for the first time in Piper Maru still gives me the chills. It was taken to a whole another level in Fight the Future.

Now, let us review:

Purity from The X Files comes in two variants – 1. A form that can infect humans and control them. 2. A gestational form (mutated), which results in the birth of an E.B.E (Alien Colonist). Point to be noted is that it is a virus. Could be any type of virus. If its a DNA type virus, it is likely that the biological information of the colonist is stored in an exotic form that is well aware and hence, provides the life force of the colonist.

In Prometheus, we see two incarnations of the black goo – 1. A form used in the engineering of life on Earth. 2. A weaponized (mutated) form that creates a whole lot of mess.

Purity can be used to repopulate its species by delivering the gestational form to the unsuspecting host (Syndicate’s transgenic corn act as the virus carriers, which attract bees that can eventually transmit them to a human host upon bite). The weaponized incarnation of the black goo that we saw on LV 223 however, could not be a virus, because it’s intention was probably not to repopulate the Engineers. But we do see a kind of parasite-host interaction that is vital in Prometheus. I will discuss this aspect in detail in my next post.

I wanted to talk about this analogy here, simply because, it is my opinion that The X Files did this whole idea of black oil pretty efficiently. As I had explained earlier, there are certainly some parallels between the show and Prometheus. It just makes me wonder as to how much of an influence the show was on the writers of Prometheus.

There is this other interesting fact. The word purity is mentioned in the original Alien by Ash when he expresses his admiration for the Alien creature. Actually, I would like to talk about his complete quote in detail a tad bit later.

“I admire its Purity.” – Ash, Alien 1979

Black Oil/PurityThe X Files

The black oil is called Purity in The X Files. If the whole colonist angle had influenced Prometheus writers, then we are looking at a sort of Purity inspired idea for the inception of the black goo, which in turn serves as the source for the creation of Alien. Kind of comes full circle, doesn’t it? I know, I am stretching it quite a bit. Nevertheless, I find it fascinating!

Black Goo – Prometheus

Prometheus Blu-ray Release

Prometheus Blu-ray

As you guys know, Prometheus Blu-ray came out a couple of days ago. The web is abuzz with discussions about exhaustive new footage and various documentaries and commentaries on the DVD. So, you might think that my write up on Prometheus would be useless. Nevertheless, I would like to continue. This is solely my own interpretation of the movie, nothing more, nothing less. I just wanted to let you guys know that.

I haven’t read much about the Blu-ray release, since, I don’t want my write up to be influenced by the amount of new information on the disc. Anyway, I am not at all surprised at the exhaustive content on the disc. Ridley is famous for his attention to detail in producing DVDs. That’s the reason why many of his Director’s Cut DVD’s (Alien, Blade Runner etc.,) receive a widespread critical acclaim.

Prometheus Analysis Part V – Exploration on LV 223

Let me now focus on the first exploration scene on LV 223 and its fallout. First, a gist of what happened.

Exploring the room – Prometheus Website

As the crew heads to the structure, Fifield tells Holloway that the structure is hollow. They head underneath and traverse along curved corridors that are revealed thanks to Fifield’s flying mapping devices (his pops!).  They eventually head to an area where an artificial generation of earth type atmospheric effect is in place, which Chance, a crew member on the ship relates to terraforming. Here, we have the first wow moment in the film when David finds a sticky greenish substance deposit on a wall and he activates a panel on the wall which generates a hologram.

Engineers Hologram in the corridor – Prometheus Website

The hologram shows a group of engineers running away from something and the crew follow the holographic engineers which leads them to a door. They find a decapitated body of an engineer. They find alien glyphs on the wall. While Holloway and Shaw date the body of the decapitated engineer, David tries to open the door. He eventually succeeds against the wishes of Shaw but it is too late. Inside, they find the decapitated head of the engineer and numerous stone cylinders all arranged in neat order. They also find a huge bust of a remarkably human like head. Most interestingly, they find few murals on the ceiling (which have a strange resemblance to a certain creature!). But, they soon realize that the murals are changing brought on by the change in atmosphere due to unlocking the door. Unbeknownst to Shaw and Holloway, David inspects one of the stone cylinders and finds out that it is leaking a black goo like organic substance. While Shaw and Ford procure the engineer’s head for analysis, David takes one of the cylinders with him and they finally make it to the ship after some dramatic moments thanks to a sand storm. In the meantime, both Fifield and Millburn bolted off on seeing the hologram and they are stuck in the structure.

Shaw examines the decapitated head – Prometheus Website

Alright, that completes the general description of events that happened during Prometheus’s first exploration of the structure. Now, let us put on our thinking caps and start analyzing the scenes in detail.

First, let us look into the hologram and the information that can be gleaned from it. David comes into contact with a greenish, mucous like substance and he immediately knows that he is onto something (He smells the substance, which seems to react with the environment and says, “Impressive”. It is also likely that the code for activating the hologram is stored in the substance).  He then “activates” the hologram.

Now, let us review this scene from a scientific standpoint. The first thing I wanna talk about is the information stored in the hologram. Holographic data (information) storage has been suggested as a high potential technology to store high-capacity data. Today, the area is dominated by magnetic and optical data storage. But the advantage with holographic storage is that it can be used to record and read millions of bits in parallel and the information can be recorded throughout the volume of the medium. Another plus point is the longevity of information. Currently it is estimated that it can result in maintaining the integrity of data stored somewhere between 50-100 years (although there are counterpoints). The fact that the engineers are a highly advanced race of beings, it is likely they have perfected the art of storage that can hold information for more than two thousand years.  OK, now what of the slimy substance that David touched. Theoretically, it could be some kind of organic photorefractive polymer composite. Basically, it could be some kind of organic holographic material that can generate 3-D hologram display. Although there are no commercially available organic refractive materials today, who knows what future holds. Again, the engineers are highly advanced than us, so it is likely they have perfected it as well. Since we realize later that the structure they are underneath is actually a spaceship, the walls of the corridor could be laced with this refractive material that would record and store information in case there’s an emergency. Once David throws the switch so to speak, the information stored is revealed in the form of a fairly detailed hologram.

The hologram shows a group of engineers running away from something. While we don’t know the fate of the rest of the engineers who we saw in the hologram, one of them is not so lucky. As he is about to enter a room, the door shuts down effectively decapitating his head. One thing is clear – the controlled atmosphere in the room is responsible for the black goo in the cylinders being dormant. Once David opened the door, the controls are gone and the room atmosphere changed. There’s also the case of human presence. As we saw, even the murals started changing due to the disturbance. At this juncture, I would like to revisit Alien. When Dallas, Lambert and Kane explore the spaceship, Kane finds a cave like structure and heads underneath. While down, he comments that the pit is completely enclosed and it’s full of leathery objects, like eggs or something. He then adds that there is a layer of mist covering them and it starts reacting….. and he falls down. Kane’s presence disturbs the environment and when he inspects one of the eggs we all know what happened (The fact that he could see movement inside the egg on close inspection could also mean that the facehugger employs a visual mechanism to detect a nearby presence of a host for attack). However detailed may the mechanism be, there is no denial of the fact that Kane disturbed the delicate balance.

Kane inspecting the pit hosting the eggs inside Derelict – Alien 1979.

Now, I would love to know what happened to the other engineers. May be they succumbed elsewhere as well.

In my next two-part post I would like to do a fairly detailed analysis of a couple of things that we encountered in the exploration sequences – the black substance oozing out of the cylinders and the strangely familiar mural.

Prometheus Analysis Part IV – LV 223 & LV 426

I would now like to turn my attention to one of the most important aspects of the movie, the significance of the moon, LV 223 and its relationship with LV 426 from Alien. Shaw and Holloway interpret the star map on their archaeological finds as an invitation from the engineers. Based on galactic screening, they seem to have identified a system that corresponds exactly to the configuration in the ancient pictographs. Holloway explains that the system has a sun and a planet orbiting it. The object that the engineer seems to be pointing towards in the map happens to be one of the moons of the planet, called LV 223.

Let us first observe one of the cave paintings. This one is from the Isle of Scotland, dating back to almost 35,000 years ago.

Cave Painting from Scotland – From geeksofdoom.com

As we can see, six objects form a system and the engineer is specifically pointing towards one of them. Now, based on the galactic map that we see in the briefing on Prometheus, the things that are clear are the presence of a sun, a ringed-giant planet, and a couple of moons. So, that explains four objects. What of the other two? I think one of them could be another natural satellite of the planet and perhaps, the other is a planetoid!

Alien Connection: LV 426

LV 223 provides us with the first clue in unlocking the connection between Prometheus and Alien. For instance, the main planet, of which LV 223 is one of the moons, is suspiciously similar to the planet encountered in Alien – a solitary ringed, Jovian type planet with a multiple minor objects orbiting it. Please remember once again, my attempt here is to link Alien with Prometheus. I am deliberately avoiding any references to Aliens and other films. Most importantly, there will be no connections to any of the novelizations and comic book adaptations. So, don’t expect names like, Acheron or Calpamos.

Planetoid or Moon?

When Holloway describes the star map on board, he mentions that there is just one planet. Similarly, there is absolutely no mention about planets in Alien as well. In fact, in Alien, Lambert identifies the source of the signal being LV 426, a planetoid that is 1200 km in diameter. Over the years, people have referred to LV 426 as a natural satellite of the ringed planet it orbits. I am not so sure (I will come back to this theme a bit later). Planetoids are objects that orbit around their sun directly (Hence, they are not moons!). The term Minor planets has been used sometimes as well. The term planetoid is generally used for larger objects. But the most important thing to note here is that they are not planets. Asteroids are prominent members of the planetoid family.

Lets dig into the planetoid factor a bit. From a size standpoint (1200km), LV 426 is in the same league as Charon, Pluto’s natural satellite and roughly 35% the size of our moon. It is also a well known fact that such a larger object would be spherical, given sufficient gravitational force. This checks out as we also learned in Alien that the gravity on LV 426 was 0.86 times that of gravity on earth. In addition, Dallas asks Lambert to determine if LV 426 has any rotation. She says it is 2 hours. It is somewhat relative to the rotational period of some asteroids in the Asteroid belt of our Solar System. Things get juicier when we look at LV 426 from the asteroid belt perspective. We all know that the asteroid belt is located between Mars and Jupiter in our solar system. The belt formed from basic elements of planets called, planetesimals that later clumped into protoplanets (which, given ideal conditions, would have formed planets). But, the gravitational pull of Jupiter was so immense that it superseded the ability of these protoplanets to assemble together to form a planet. Technically, the pull imparted these protoplanets with a lot of orbital energy.

So, my theory is that the spherical planetoid LV 426 formed from protoplanets ripped apart by the strong gravitational pull of the ringed gas giant and shares a few characteristics with some illustrious members of our asteroid family.

Coming back to my LV 426 is not a moon argument, well, we saw that its rotation period is 2 hours. Since, in majority of the cases, synchronicity is expected for planetary moons (rotational period is equivalent to orbital period due to tidal locking with the planet – moon showing the same face to an observer on the planet), 2 hours seems like a tremendous stretch.

The star system observed in Prometheus and Alien reflect reality to a certain extent due to the fact that we have identified a large number of extra solar Jovian type solitary planetary systems orbiting sun like stars over the years. It is theorized that many such planets identified could have rocky moons, which could have less inhospitable environments and LV 223 is such an example. Just yesterday, NASA’s Kepler Space Lab announced that it has discovered a pair of planets orbiting a pair of suns –  sort of like a real life Tatooine!

Anyway, coming back to the star map, I was wondering if it would be possible to pinpoint LV 426 on it? I have indicated my choice on the following picture. Apart from taking a theoretical liberty of assigning the orbits for the moons of the planet, there was this intriguing scene from Prometheus that motivated my choice. When Holloway zoomed in on the 3D interactive map, we could see only five objects and the object that I had noted as LV 426 was marked differently. It looked to me like a rocky object (brown colored) and seemed like it could be related to LV 426 that we saw in Alien. Well, I might be dead wrong!

Location of LV 426? Picture from geeksofdoom.com, edited.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, LV 426 is part of the same star map that the engineers had shown humans and it is a planetoid. But, there are several broad questions that still remain.

1. What’s the deal with asking us to visit an alien moon and not their home planet?

This is probably the most important question that can probably be resolved within the framework of Prometheus’s entire plot.

2. What turn of events led the space jockey leave for LV 426, with the eggs no less? From where did he fly to LV 426?

3. Who activated the so called, “distress signal”?

4. Whatever happened to the creature that burst out of the engineer’s chest?

Questions 2, 3, and 4 can be best explained in the context of Prometheus 2 plot and the notorious black goo, which I will discuss a bit later. But, for the moment, I would like to say something about the Derelict on LV 426. Some people have speculated that it had crashed on LV 426. I was personally not in favor of this idea. Ridley Scott himself has said that it did not crash and it was probably a forced landing. For proof, have a look at this clip, where he talks to Geoff Boucher from LA Times for the Nerdist Channel. He talks about it at 04:53 minute mark.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnAiIqWsyAo]

In my next post, I will analyze the happenings when the crew ventured into the hollow structure and found the engineer and the black goo cargo.

David – From Weyland Industries

It will also include analysis of the attributes of one of the most ambiguous characters in the entire film – David!

Prometheus Origins Incongruity – Resolution

As promised earlier, I would like to talk briefly about the discrepancies in the Origin idea of Prometheus. My hypothesis was that the engineers had seeded life here on earth and did not intervene with already evolving life on the planet. I had opined that the engineer sacrifice happened sometime in the Archean eon (3.9-3.8 billion years ago). But, I had also noted a problem – The engineer being able to breathe without any external aid on primordial earth, when there was no free oxygen in the atmosphere. The reason being that photosynthesis evolved only around 2.5 billion years ago that resulted in an oxygenated atmosphere, but life had long existed.

From a photography standpoint, it is a well known fact that the origin scene was shot at the Dettifoss Waterfall in Iceland. It surely was an absolutely fantastic location for the shot. If you watch the events leading to the waterfall scene, you could observe something. As the camera spans over the landscape of the terrain (from the vantage point of the Engineer’s spacecraft) leading up to the waterfall, you could see a large number of green patches (algae, grass, etc.). Technically, the presence of  greenery would support the engineer experiencing no breathing issue. But it doesn’t go along with the cell division scenario a tad bit later that suggests that life started due to the engineer’s intervention.

Dettifoss Waterfall – Tim Bekaert – From Wikipedia

Due to all this, I would assume that it was simply something that they had overlooked in the shoot. If they hadn’t shown the green, and put some kinda mask on the engineer, it would have been perfect (Can Damien or Ridley shed more light on this?).

The mask thing is not that much of a big deal though. Going by the biology of the engineers (Actually, this is another theme that is fascinating to speculate – more later, of course), I would say that the engineers have some extreme form of Cyanosis. It is a condition that causes bluish coloration of the skin membrane due to low oxygen levels in blood. The fact that the engineers are pale bluish, may I suggest that they come from a planet, perhaps with low levels of oxygen in their atmosphere and that their respiratory system has evolved to take care of this issue? Perhaps, they are adapted to thrive in such conditions and can survive for shorter times in an oxygen free atmosphere? That’s why the engineer shows no discomfort breathing for the limited time that he is on prehistoric earth.

Prometheus Analysis Part III – Origin of Life

Now, I would like to turn my attention to the engineer’s role in the origin of life on planet earth. Before I go any further, I would like to say a few things. My main intention of this exercise is not only to try to find a connection between the events in Prometheus and the plot of Alien, but, also analyze my hypothesis under the context of what we know scientifically today. For instance, genetics is a well developed science and the question of origin of life has been tackled for a very very long time by a large number of scientists. Although, there is no solitary, definitive theory at the time of this writing, there are a few that appear to be highly plausible. I hope you folks get my drift. Analyzing the movie with the help of scientific facts, whenever possible would be a recurring theme of my hypothesis. More exhaustive details of the scientific aspects below can be obtained from Wikipedia, if anyone is interested.

Sacrificial Engineer – From Prometheus Movie Website

OK, let’s move on to the scene where the engineer consumed the black goo and ended up being a catalyst for the origin of life (I have to admit, I loved it that they decided to call these beings, Engineers. I don’t think its necessary to talk about the difference between engineering and creation). This black substance is probably the most mysterious thing in the whole film. It is the thing that holds the whole movie together, plotwise. Hence, it’s notoriety needs to be analyzed exclusively in a separate post later. So, for the time being, let us look into the aftermath of its consumption. It resulted in rapid disintegration, even down at the molecular level. The biological material mixed with water and then we saw emergence of cellular structures.

When you consider the scientific theories regarding origin of life and the above scene together, things get pretty interesting. Assuming that there was no other intervention by the engineers after the onset of that event, then, one can safely concur that environmental parameters made sure that evolution of life progressed in its natural pace, thereby resulting in human development.

Time Frame –  Engineer’s Intervention

As I mentioned earlier, there have been multiple theories put forward to explain the origin of life on earth. What most of these theories agree upon is the fact that there are strict regulations as far as the emergence of  perfect conditions for life is concerned. So, you see, this problem relates all the way back to formation of Earth. With this in mind, let us first try to establish a rough time frame when the engineer sacrificed himself. One thing we can all agree upon is the fact that our planet is nearly 4.6 billion years old. In terms of geological eons, the period roughly between 4.5 billion years and 3.8 billion years is called the Hadean. It was a period, when Earth was extremely violent. A primordial atmosphere would have existed due to volcanic outgassing, but completely devoid of  Oxygen. It was molten due to intense volcanic activity and collision with other bodies. It is also suggested that plate tectonics had existed at around 4 billion years that would support the existence of oceans at that time already. Now, what of life? Given the harsh conditions on the planet, it is theorized that life could not have formed during this eon. Could building blocks for life had existed by then? May be, may be not.

Simplistic Picture – From cotf

The next, most important eon that has relevance to Prometheus is the Archean. It dates roughly between 3.8 billion years and 2.5 billion years. Simply put, by this time, Earth had cooled significantly and the conditions were suitable for the formation of primordial life. Cyanobacteria, commonly called as blue-green algae are supposed to have existed nearly as back as 3.5 billion years ago. The exact time period when photosynthesis capability evolved is something that is still under debate. The problem being, geologic record indicates that this event took place around 2.5 billion years ago. But fossil records of Cyanobacteria indicate that they had existed as back as 3.5 billion years ago. You must be thinking, well what has this discrepancy got to do with Prometheus? Trust me, I am getting there.

Cyanobacteria Binnuma River, Omiya city, Saitama Pref., October 2000, by Y. Tsukii

Revisiting my earlier assumption that the engineers intervened only once, my hypothesis is that they visited our planet roughly during the early Archean time period, say around 3.9 or 3.8 billion years ago. Now getting back to photosynthesis, it creates a problem. In the beginning of the Archean eon, the atmosphere had no free Oxygen. The ability of cyanobacteria to perform oxygenic photosynthesis was the precursor for the replacement of reduced atmosphere to an oxygenated one (It’s much more complex and it involves a delicate relationship with Iron and unoxidized Sulfur, amongst many other things) that resulted in the emergence of complex multicellular life. What bothers me though, is the following. If my assumption about the timing of the engineer’s visit is sort of correct, then how come the engineer has no problems breathing on earth when the atmosphere has absolutely no Oxygen?

If he had visited, say 2.5 billion years ago, it would make little sense. He would then be directly intervening with already evolving life on the planet. But, that’s not what the first scene is suggesting. To me, it looks like the formation of primordial life and the subsequent evolution of multicellular organisms.

But, there are a few shots in the film that seem to suggest the post oxygenated atmosphere timeline, but it is a bit difficult for me to reason with. True, it’s fiction and all, but hey, I can speculate, can’t I? I will add a special post about these discrepancies.

Engineer Driven Evolution of Life

Now, lets tackle the question of formation of life due to the engineer’s sacrifice. From a scientific standpoint, this question has fascinated many brilliant minds, since time immemorial. This broad question can be normally classified under two categories: 1. How did organic molecules come about? 2. How is a protocell formed from these organic molecules?

1. Organic molecule Origin

There are basically two possible sources on early earth, namely, terrestrial origin –  that organic synthesis is driven by an external energy source, like, lightning, UV light etc., and extraterrestrial origin –  meteorites, accumulation of organic molecules due to gravity or by Panspermia (the idea that life came from an extraterrestrial source in the form of bacteria trapped in debris that crashed in earth, for instance, that simply became active when the conditions were ideal for life and resulted in evolution). Within these two frameworks there are many theories that explain the origin of organic molecules. But, I am not gonna go through them. There are theories like Soup theory, Eigen’s hypothesis, Hoffmann’s thesis, Wächterhäuser’s hypothesis, Zn-World theory and many more.

2. Origin of Protocell

Again, there are multiple theories that have tried to explain this transformation. Deep sea vent theory, RNA World Hypothesis (gene first), Metabolism first theories are the main ones. There are others like, Autocatalysis, Clay hypothesis, Deep-hot Biosphere model, Primitive extraterrestrial life model, Lipid world models etc.

Early Protocell Visualization – From Science Mag

Based on the developments in Prometheus, I was faced with a couple of questions – 1. What models are best suited to further my hypothesis? 2. At which level did the intervention happen? Did the defining event happen before the synthesis of organic molecule or did it occur before the protocell synthesis? If I was interested in preserving my blueprint, I would like to have complete control over the process, hence, I would start at the very beginning. Therefore, my hypothesis is that the engineer intervention actually gave rise to organic molecules on Earth. Exogenesis, another theory that accounts for the extraterrestrial origin of organic molecules, but does not explicitly state how (Main difference with Panspermia), is the best theory then to explain the events of Prometheus. Now, what we have under this condition is not just organic molecules, but also the genetic history of the engineers in one form or another. Now, what of the second step – the formation of protocell? Let us analyze.

RNA Molecule – Wired Mag

This step is extremely important in my opinion. This is exactly where the intervention of the engineer gets amplified and the genetic code is conserved all the way through human development (Shaw finding a match between human and engineer DNA). As outlined earlier, there are many theories that have been proposed to explain this step, but as far as the movie is concerned, I am looking at the RNA world hypothesis. Scientifically, it is currently popular in explaining the formation of protocell. Simply put, the theory states that in prehistoric earth, self-replicating, catalytic RNA formed and served as the precursors for emergence of life. It should be noted that there were no DNA and proteins at that time. Several hypotheses have been proposed for the spontaneous formation of RNA molecules. We all know that RNA can also store information, although not as efficient as DNA does. It also plays a crucial role in enabling DNA’s ability to maintain this genetic information. It was the great Francis Crick, Leslie Orgel and Carl Woese, who first hypothesized that RNA could act as a catalyst. Then, in 1980, Thomas Cech discovered ribozymes, a RNA molecule that can catalyze a chemical reaction. In addition, ribozymes have been produced in labs that can catalyze their own synthesis.

Speaking of Francis Crick, he and Orgel in the 70’s speculated living systems could have been spread here by intelligent life forms using space travel. They called this “Directed Panspermia”. The reasoning then was only proteins were the only known enzymes and ribozymes hadn’t been discovered. The existence of complex replication processes in organisms currently on earth puzzled scientists who couldn’t explain how such complex self-replicating units could have originated in prehistoric life. Crick and Orgel published a retrospective article on January 1993, reflecting on their theories from the early 70’s and how it has been affected by the discovery of the ribozyme. If you are interested, just click on the following link for direct download of the pdf document.

Anticipating an RNA world. Some past speculations on the origin of life: where are they today? – FASEB Journal – Note: PDF Document

William Scott’s Hammerhead Ribozyme

Life today, is DNA-centric as far as information is concerned. It’s simply because the large size of RNA makes it limited for information storage as it is energy intensive to repair any damage and mutation. But, it might have been a different case in prehistoric life. It has also been observed that many critical components of the cell, especially the ones that evolve the slowest, are entirely made up of RNA. Could that mean that the modern RNA is an evolutionary remnant from a prehistoric time? There’s a large body of evidence, with the most recent from August 2011 that really points towards a RNA world hypothesis. Hopefully, more information should emerge in the coming years.

Based on all this, my hypothesis is that the engineer’s organic remnants created an accumulation and creation of more organic molecules (amino acids, for example), followed by formation of self replicating RNA molecules (where the genetic blueprint of the engineers are somehow conserved), which then resulted in emergence of life.

I would like to apologize for rambling about RNA, geological eons and so on. I could have simply written that the engineers paved the way for the evolution of life on planet earth. But, I just thought it was fun doing it the way I did. If, at least one visitor found the information interesting and took a shining to learn more about things like RNA world hypothesis, then I have done my job.

Anyway, for the bored readers, let me put forward my hypothesis in a few sentences. Engineers arrived on Planet Earth around 3.9-3.8 billion years ago. The disintegrated engineer was the source for organic molecules on the planet (exogenesis). Protocell formed from self-replicating RNA molecules bearing the genetic footprint of the engineer. Evolution proceeded in its natural pace leading to human development.

Finally, going by the above theories, would it make sense to say that the black goo is some type of a rapid reverse-evolution catalyst? It is capable of causing absolute breakdown to biological precursors that would be capable of re-evolving under favorable conditions anywhere in any planetary system, but at the same time somehow preserving the genetic history. This genetic template can be manipulated at any instant of time by the original inventors of the black goo to re-engineer a complete race, say for example, when threatened by extinction or fertility issues? Just some rambling thoughts. I will have a detailed post on the black goo discussing in detail all of these elements.

Prometheus Analysis – The Beginning

Engineer pointing towards a Star System

Let me continue where I left off. In the first scene of the film, a spaceship departs a planet, leaving behind a sole engineer next to some kind of a waterfall. The engineer consumes a black substance that acts quite powerfully and results in his rapid disintegration. He then falls into the waterfall and eventually, the broken down molecules that make up the biology of the engineer (Emphasis on DNA is obvious in the film) trigger a biogenetic reaction. Fast forward to a few billion years later, Shaw and Holloway find archaeological evidence cutting across different civilizations and vastly different time periods suggesting that giant beings visited humans and that they seem to be pointing to a star map. They interpret it as an invitation for us to find them.

There are a couple of things I would like to address about these scenes. First, the idea that life originated on Earth due to a direct extraterrestrial intervention (Based on later developments in the film, it would be safe to assume that the first scene is from a prehistoric earth). The second thing is that the planet has been visited by these extraterrestrial Gods during human development.

The first idea is fairly complex, so I will tackle it in my next post. Let’s look into the second point, extraterrestrial visitation. There are several descriptions of visitations by strange crafts and beings in various cultures. Of course, a lot of people would say that the work of  authors like Erich von Däniken and Zecharia Sitchin had influenced the writers of Prometheus (When Prometheus reaches LV 223 airspace, the crew just find a rocky, uninhabited land, but, suddenly, Holloway spots something in a valley and tells Janek to land there. He comments, “God does not build in straight lines”. The structure that the crew explore later is not the only one in that valley. If my visual memory is right, prior to the landing of Prometheus I could see at least four such structures, may be equidistant from one another and all laid out in a straight line. I am sure that this is what he meant. Another visual that interested me is that there are straight line markings on the surface of the valley. Later, we saw a powerful storm that partly jeopardized the mission. If such a storm is common on the moon, and assuming that the straight line marks on the surface are temporary, then, they should have been destroyed by such a storm. The fact that they are there when Prometheus arrives could possibly mean that they are etched out to attract attention and hence, probably permanent. Däniken theorized that the famous Nazca lines of Peru, especially the straight lines represented some kind of an air strip for extraterrestrial visitors. The longest such straight line in Peru covers nine miles across the plain. Perhaps, this idea inspired the writers. Although there are several theories regarding the purpose of Nazca lines, a recent theory suggests that they represent a giant map of underground water resources traced on land. For more, just head to the wiki page). These two people enjoyed their spotlight in the media as the proponents of ancient astronauts theory and reached legendary status in late night paranormal radio shows. Däniken was particularly popular, with his Chariots of the Gods? selling millions of copies worldwide. Good for both of them.

But the ancient astronaut theory is much older. My first exposure to this concept happened when I was 11 years old. My dad’s former American colleague gave me a book called, The Call of Ctulhu written by H. P. Lovecraft. I finished the book in one sitting and it blew me away. This was probably also the starting point when my visualization capabilities started to improve, for the better or worse. One thing lead to another and now, I can proudly claim that I have read most of H. P. L and he will always be one of my greatest idols. Although I have read many books from Sitchin and Däniken, I am not a fan but I did admire their imagination. And as far as Däniken’s claim that he is the father of Ancient Astronaut theory is concerned – Please! His books should be considered as belonging to the speculative fiction category, nothing more, nothing less.

At this juncture, I would like to take a small sidestep, since it is connected to the general theme of this blog as I had intended when I started it. It should be evident to the long time visitors of this blog that I have an interest in the paranormal, especially, the UFO phenomenon. But, I don’t subscribe to the popular explanation regarding their origins, namely, the Extraterrestrial hypothesis. I am a religious follower of Jacques Vallee’s work and naturally subscribe to his Control System, Unexplored aspect of consciousness approach. Extra dimensional origin theory seems to be another viable option. The reason why I am mentioning this is because Vallee has spent a considerable amount of time researching folklore and history and reports of human contact with otherworldly  beings (fairies, demons, angels etc.) over the ages. Most of these extraordinary reports always involve some kind of technology that is beyond human comprehension and can be compared to the modern day UFO phenomenon. Remember Arthur C. Clarke’s  third law – Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Anyway, Vallee concludes that the phenomenon has been with us since ancient times and seems to influence our belief system. He has written exhaustively about the trickster nature of this anomaly. For more fascinating details, I suggest you folks read the book, Passport to Magonia by Vallee. Trust me, you will not be disappointed. Vallee and Chris Aubeck came out with another book in 2010 called, Wonders in the Sky – Unexplained Aerial Objects from Antiquity to Modern Times and Their Impact on Human Culture, History and Beliefs. This book includes chronology of reports dating back to around 1460 BC. If you wanna expand your horizons further, you should read all of Valle’s books.

The idea that ancient civilizations have been visited by intelligent God-like beings has been well implemented in the film. But it’s the message that they convey to the humans that is mysterious.

Now that we have talked about ET visitation aspect of the film, let us analyze the concept that life originated on earth based on the engineers’ intervention in the next post.

Prometheus Analysis – Part I: The Title

You see, neurons are atrocious little beasts that can amplify even the smallest of effects and in the process, stimulate your thought progression. Such a stimulation happened when I watched Prometheus. The first time I watched the film, I paid attention to the main plot, the obvious links with Alien (proto-alien, facehuggers, space jockey etc.) and simply soak in all the stunning visuals. I watched it again, but this time, my focus was on symbolism’s,  hidden meanings and subliminal messages/images in the film. After pouring over my notes the next few days, I decided I should post my thoughts.

As I had mentioned earlier, the following is just my interpretation. Of course, it could turn out to be completely against the analysis of other hardcore fans or the views of the film makers. But, I love doing it. The last time I did something like this was when The Matrix Reloaded came out. I wrote a lengthy article on that film talking about various symbolism’s in the film and what they meant. In addition, I theorized as to how Revolutions would end. I actually went for the Zion is a second level simulation scenario. But it was easy to theorize that Neo had to sacrifice himself to destroy Agent Smith. Even tried an amateurish crack at connecting Quantum Mechanics with Agent Smith’s duplication and so on. Anyway, we all know how the film turned out. I was dead wrong in my analysis, except for the death of Neo part. I tried my level best reaching out to various weekly journals to get it published and all I got was, thanks, but no thanks. Regardless, it was fun. So, my point is, I do this time to time and I sincerely hope that my interpretation does not offend anyone.

Prometheus – From Wikipedia

OK, lets move on. First, whats up with Prometheus as the title? It makes perfect sense. Prometheus, in Greek mythology is a Titan and is credited with the creation of man from clay. He is also responsible for stealing fire from the Gods and giving it to humans. We all know what role fire played in the creation of civilizations and advancement of mankind. For this theft, he incurred the wrath of the Gods who punished him by tying him to a rock and making an eagle feed on his liver every day. Liver, as you know has a regenerative capability. On a side note, I worked previously in trying to reconstruct the complex gene-regulatory machinery that was responsible for controlling the detoxification of drugs in the human liver. One of my best friends and colleagues, who worked in the same project called his work-station, Prometheus. Sorry, I had to give a shout out to my bud (Hi Joe!).

Creation of Man from Clay – Wikipedia

As Wikipedia states, Prometheus was interpreted in the western classical tradition as someone who was symbolic for the quest of scientific truths, but sometimes at the cost of reaching tragic results ( Over the years, we have seen such tragedies happen in our quest to unlock the secrets of the universe, be it, space travel or trying to harness the power of the atom, to quote a few examples). He is known for his intelligence and most certainly is a champion of mankind.

But what interests me the most is that in addition to the description above, he is considered to be one of those so called trickster figures. This is something that I spent sometime looking into. I will talk about it in detail a little later in the analysis.

Prometheus Spaceship

Based on all this, Prometheus is a perfect name for the film and the spaceship. The anthropologists’ quest to know the truth about human existence captures the very essence of Prometheus. But, as we saw in the film, their efforts in uncovering the truth resulted in death, destruction and the creation of a horrific new life-form that contributes either directly or indirectly to the xenomorphs that wreak havoc in the future (Alien, Aliens, etc., although they gave us Ripley!).