This chapter offers a philosophical response to the devastating and deadly wildfires that have been ravaging in California in the past few years; it turns to the myth of Prometheus (as interpreted through Bernard Stiegler’s Technics and Time) for theoretical guidance. The chapter’s central argument is that the Promethean duplicitous gift—of fire and technical skills (technē)—to humanity has both led to the current tragedy of the anthropocene and may offer impetus to imagine a future beyond the anthropocene, but only if fire and technical skills come to be seen in a different light, and solicit different affects. To reimagine our post-human existence as part of the presumed new epoch of the pyrocene, the chapter follows the meaning of fire and technics both on a local, Californian scale and on a global scale. For the local, Californian scale, the fire-adaptable existence of California’s Giant Sequoias and the pyrodiverse practices of the California indigenous Miwok stand central. Addressing the global scale, the chapter emphasizes the need for a mosaical form of affect and habit to take hold, inclusive of respect and justice, in order to change our political-economic regimes and foster a broader community in solidarity with each other.
Oele, Marjolein, "Prometheus' Gift of Fire and Technics: Contemplating the Meaning of Fire, Affect, and Californian Pyrophytes in the Pyrocene" (2020). Philosophy. 67.