Book-review-the-psychoanalysis-of-fire
French philosopher Gaston Bachelard wrote “The Psychoanalysis of Fire” in 1938 to come up with the concept of the Prometheus complex.

Gaston Bachelard studies four major fire complexes

The virus pandemic prompts people to leave for camping instead of taking a flight to overseas tourist attractions. After pitching a tent and eating, they tend to space out while starting at the campfire.

It is not sure why folks love to do so. Of note is that one of the oldest religions had something to do with fire _ Zoroastrianism, arguably the first monotheistic faith, worshiped fire.

In addition, there is a philosophical book on it, dubbed “The Psychoanalysis of Fire,” written by French philosopher Gaston Bachelard.

The 1938 book studies four major fire complexes, and the most famous one is the Prometheus complex, which the author says is the Oedipus complex of the life of the intellect.

According to the Greek myth, Prometheus brought fire to human beings and was punished for that. The name means “the fore-thinker,” or a man with foresight in Greek.

“All those tendencies, which impel us to know as much as our fathers, more than our fathers, as much as our teachers, more than our teachers,” Bachelard defines the complex.

Indeed, mankind has pulled out all the stops to extend collective wisdom by pushing the limits of forbidden knowledge.

The latest attempt would be the fast development of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

If AI becomes far smarter than humans, as the concept of singularity indicates, we may have to pass over the mission of extending knowledge to AI.

This means that the Prometheus complex would be delivered to machines, not flesh-and-blood beings, in the future.

What would Bachelard think if he is still alive? He died in Paris in 1962 at the age of 78. Back then, the founding fathers of AI, including John McCarthy and Marvin Minsky, were working on AI.

But the chances are that Bachelard did not know much about them.

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