The myths tell us: you have to trick the gods to get the really good stuff: eat the forbidden fruit to know good from evil, steal the means to illuminate. The truth might set you free, but getting to the truth ain't so easy.
Stealing fire. Many versions of the Tlingit raven as a trickster who steals from another bird, a gull. Prometheus steals fire from Zeus for mortals. So Zeus chains him to a rock where a eagle tears out his liver every day. Every day it regenerates so he will suffer the pain again. This punishment seems outrageous for the crime. So what's the slight -- the trespass, the item, its destination? God's bruised ego?
Is stealing fire a human plagiarism of the divine, a form of intellectual theft?
I've been thinking about the moral courage and crazy vision of activists and militant peacemakers who make us all uneasy with their "unwillingness to compromise." Mystic, shaman, prophet, magical Marxists who dream big. Is revolutionary spirituality equivalent to radical impatience?
But you steal fire, you singe feathers. A quick act to steal, a long time to learn how to use it.