Tale of Pandora

Programming / Tales

Of Pandora, we remember, sometimes, her box. Not opening Pandora’s box has become a great excuse to keep all the secrets of the world.

How sad to limit Pandora to her box!
The one who tells it best is Hesiod.

We are in the ancient times when the Gods of Olympus were watching over the Greek world.
Zeus had eliminated his father – the titans were quite defeated and men lived without too much work, without too much pain, without growing old, without suffering, without jealousy.
They lived in short.

But they did not know civilization – no community, no sharing of work – of course they did not work – no village, no house more beautiful than the others – no, they were there, enjoying life, totally carefree.
Some, in other places, have called this the Garden of Eden.
But among the Greeks, there were many of these humans.

Prometheus was a Titan.
He irritated Zeus and annoyed him constantly.
He said he loved men more than the gods.

Seeing the ignorance in which Zeus maintained them, he then stole the fire to offer it to men. -By the way, it is because of him that Zeus had taken back the fire from men – but that’s another story –
This story, I think you know it.
You know that Zeus’ revenge on Prometheus was atrocious.

But Zeus did not limit himself to taking revenge on Prometheus.
Men claimed to become equal to the Gods?
With fire, they were learning to build a complex, technical world, more and more complex, more and more technical?
They learned quickly, the men.
Much too fast.

So Zeus went to see his brother, Hephaestus.
He asked him to create for him, in clay, a woman of unforgettable beauty – a perfect woman, as perfect as his wife Aphrodite.
This woman will be called Pandora.

Absolute physical beauty was not enough.
Zeus summoned all the gods, all the nymphs, all the beings from above: each one offered to Pandora his greatest ability.

She became the most beautiful, the most intelligent, the most cunning, the most flexible, the most dangerous, the most inquisitive, the most angry… I won’t go through the list – it’s too huge.

When this was done, Zeus gave words and life to Pandora.
He entrusted her with a box – the text says a jar – sealed: this box must never be opened, is the order of Zeus.
Then he offers her as a wife to Epimetheus, the brother of Prometheus – at random, of course.
Prometheus had advised his brother never to accept a gift from Zeus.

But Pandora was so dazzling – Epimetheus forgot.
He married her.
He showered her with all the gifts and honors you could want.

It wasn’t enough – Pandora was bored.
– and the box was waiting. … waiting, waiting…

One day, inevitably, she cracked – it was all a trap, Zeus had designed her to give way.

She opened the box.
From this box, all the miseries of men escaped and spread throughout the Earth: jealousy, hatred, perfidy, misery, vice, old age, disease, fear – everything – no, not everything.

Pandora, seeing the monsters escaping, got scared and wanted to close the box. She succeeded.
One monster remained inside. Only one, says the tale.
This monster is called Hope.

Some said that Pandora had prevented men from obtaining the strength that would allow them to endure these immense curses.

Some said that Zeus considered Hope as powerful a monster as Hate or Fear or Envy.
Perhaps because Hope is this curse that prevents us from living our present and always dreaming of the next time, when it will be realized?

As for the end of Pandora, to my knowledge – which is limited – it is only evoked in texts that are not very reliable, probably very late. She would have carried the weight of her guilt, a bit like Orpheus… – I don’t know. So it seems that she went from being a superb ultra-egotistical trophy wife to a real human woman, capable of remorse, empathy and sorrow.

Anyway &, I hope (pardon) fortunately for all of us, we’ve only heard about Hope – it hasn’t managed to get out of that damned box.
Despair, yes, it did get out and it breaks hearts and wills as if they were pieces of straw.

What I like about Greek stories is that they are complicated to understand – that they don’t give any solution at all and that they leave us wondering for a while what is hope? A poison that kills us or a force that guides us?

As our British friend would say, you know ? the famous one who loves Little Britain so much that he never stops searching the oldest traces of it to bring back its treasures – : with plants, the active effects are all a question of dosage – a plant can be deadly or beneficial – so it must be for Hope.

So Pandora is not at all a tale for children-only – I think it’s even a bit hard for children –

They’ll have time to wonder about hope when they’ve lived a long time with it in their minds.

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Featured Image : from Pandora – by John William Waterhouse – 1896

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