Reading the Temple thread, someone mentioned that there hasn't been much continuing speculation about the giant head given all the new revelations in the trailers and TV spots. That remark, and the fact that the Unfiction folks are dissecting how the latest ARG/viral clues at the Weyland Industries site relate to alchemy, reminded me of homunculus theory of mind.
"Homunculus (masculine, Latin for "little human", plural: "homunculi"; from the diminutive of homo) is a term used, generally, in various fields of study to refer to any representation of a human being. Throughout history, it has been referred specifically to the concept of a miniature though fully formed human body, for example, in the studies of alchemy and preformationism. In current context, in scientific fields, a homunculus may refer to any scale model of the human body that, in some way, illustrates physiological, psychological, or other abstract human characteristics or functions."
So, what's that got to do with Prometheus, you ask?
Well, we all agree that atop the temple mound sculpture is some sort of stylized, humanoid head, a la Giger's designs for the Harkonnen temple from Dune. Further, we all agree that there is an additional, smaller (but still large relative to ordinary humans) representation of a human(oid?) head inside the temple complex. This concept of a man inside a man is, you guessed it, the homonculus.
Some thought-provoking quotes from the article on Wikipedia:
"In Carl Jung's studies of alchemy, he believed the first record of a homunculus in alchemical literature appeared in the Visions of Zosimos, written in the third century AD, although the actual word "homunculus" was never used. In the visions, Zosimos mentions encountering a man who impales himself with a sword, and then undergoes "unendurable torment", his eyes become blood, he spews forth his flesh, and changes into "the opposite of himself, into a mutilated anthroparion (a Greek alchemical concept of a being somewhat similar to a golem but possessing a sense of will and intelligence), and he tore his flesh with his own teeth, and sank into himself", which is a rather grotesque personification of the ouroboros, the dragon that bites its own tail, which represents thedyophysite nature in alchemy: the balance of two principles."
"Preformationism, a philosophical theory of heredity, claimed that either the egg or the sperm (exactly which was a contentious issue) contained a complete preformed individual called a homunculus. Development was therefore a matter of enlarging this into a fully formed being.
The term homunculus was later used in the discussion of conception and birth, Nicolas Hartsoeker discovered "animalcules" in the semen of humans and other animals. This was the beginning of spermists' theory, who held the belief that the sperm was in fact a "little man" (homunculus) that was placed inside a woman for growth into a child."
Finally, note this interesting graphic (remind you of anything?):
So. What's this all mean? I have no idea, except that I think some of these concepts clearly underlie the mythological/symbolic aspects of the Prometheus plot.
David's role is curious. Is he leading the journey? I get the feeling from the trailers that he has the first contact with both the ampules and the SJ. Maybe the crew use him as sort of a canary?
Could David find some amusement that humans are just creations of higher Gods? And if so, should he be loyal to humans or the Gods? Such an interesting character!
xinau said:Just thought I'd bump this with a shorter summary -- the OP is solidly in tl;dr territory.People have noticed that the SJ temple mound has a human head on the top of it (a la Giger's designs for Dune), and of course, there's the head that the Prometheus crew finds inside the structure.The question is, why this particular image and not something else? I mean, it's cool and everything, but what is its purpose in the story? Aside from the fairly obvious linkage of that culture to human beings, I think there's a deeper point that the writers are making.This idea of a head within a head (or a man within a man) is very old. The "man inside" is called a homonculus. In literature, it is closely linked with the study of alchemy (transformation) and preformation -- ancient philosophical ideas about conception and birth, and the origins of human life. The Wiki article on the homonculus references the Faust and Frankenstein myths, and something very similar to the Prometheus myth.I think it's the filmmakers' way of reinforcing the ideas of the movie in a symbolic way. Want to know what Prometheus is about? IMO, start reading Faust -- "The second part beings with Faust waking up in a field of fairies from a long sleep. His awake
Just thought I'd bump this with a shorter summary -- the OP is solidly in tl;dr territory.