Interview with Pandora
The following was found on one of those websites where you ask a question, and random people provide answers. (You know what we're talking about.) You have to be careful with these, because you never know who's answering, but we found the following interchange to be pretty informative.
Just_wondering: Who was Pandora in Greek Mythology?
beatthesphinx65: That idiot first woman who opened up that jar, releasing all evil and suffering into the world.
Afterthought: Hey, she isn't so bad. Don't talk about her that way. Everybody gets curious now and then.
beatthesphinx65: If you only knew how much I've suffered!
Afterthought: Wait, is this Oedipus? Pandora told me last night you were being mean to her.
beatthesphinx65: Is this Epimetheus?
Afterthought: Um... no... Maybe.
beatthesphinx65: I blame you, too. Your brother, Prometheus, told you not to take any gifts from Zeus, and what did you do? A pretty young thing shows up with a pretty little jar and you just let her inside, not caring what it might mean for... oh, I don't know... all of humanity.
Need_2_Know: Did Pandora open a box, or was it something else?
Goddessofwisdom: It actually wasn't a box. That is a popular misconception brought about by Erasmus of Rotterdam, who incorrectly translated a version of Hesiod's Works and Days. Pandora's original container of evil was a pithos, which was a large jar the ancient Greeks used to store wine, grains, and other food stuffs. Erasmus incorrectly translated pithos to pyxis, which means box, and the name has stuck ever since.
Erasmus_of_Rotterdam: Sorry, everybody. I used to drink a glass or two of wine before I translated. I didn't know it was going to be such a big deal.
beatthesphinx65: It wasn't nearly as a big of a deal as causing every bad thing that's ever happened!
Afterthought: Dude, you seriously need to lay off my wife.
Tellmesomethin: What was the only thing left in Pandora's jar?
I'm_not_Pandora: Hope. Hope was left, so now humanity has that to get through all the horrible suffering we have to endure. So, in a way, Pandora also brought hope into the world. Maybe everybody ought to take it easy on her.
Tellmesomethin: I'm confused.
I'm_not_Pandora: It seems pretty straightforward to me.
Tellmesomethin: Okay, check this out. We never would've had to deal with all the bad stuff if Pandora hadn't opened the jar, right? All that nastiness would've stayed in there where it couldn't get to us. Right?
I'm_not_Pandora: Well, yeah.
Tellmesomethin: So if hope is still in the jar, doesn't that mean we can't get to hope? Doesn't mean that we don't have hope?
I'm_not_Pandora: I don't want to think about that.
Nietzsche: Ah, but what about this: if the jar was full of nothing but evil, then doesn't it follow that hope was evil as well?
I'm_not_Pandora: No, NO! It can't be true. How can hope be evil?
Nietzsche: Because it is what keeps human beings alive. But to be alive in a world of suffering only prolongs our torment, does it not? We worship hope, and yet it is the most evil thing of all.
beatthesphinx65: Is this the Friedrich Nietzsche, the famous philosopher?
Nietzsche: Why, yes it is.
beatthesphinx65: I'm a huge fan.
Nietzsche: Marvelous. My full thoughts on the matter can be found in Human, All Too Human.
beatthesphinx65: Nietzsche's right, Pandora! You've done nothing but evil!
I'm_not_Pandora: I'm not Pandora. My handle states that very clearly.
beatthesphinx65: I solved the riddle of the Sphinx. You think I'd be fooled by your simple screenname trickery?
OK_Fine_I_Am_Pandora: There, are you happy?
beatthesphinx65: NO! Everyone is unhappy because of you!
OK_Fine_I_Am_Pandora: You know what, Oedipus? I'm sorry for all the horrible stuff that happened to you. I really am. I'm sorry for all the terrible things that happened to everybody. I messed up. I did. But Nietzsche is wrong. Life is full of more than just suffering. It's also full of joy and happiness. Hope isn't a lie that keeps us alive in a horrible world. It's the thing that keeps us afloat until the good things happen. And good things do happen. They do.
beatthesphinx65: To some people…
OK_Fine_I_Am_Pandora: Oedipus, I think you just need a friend.
beatthesphinx65: Nobody wants to be my friend.
OK_Fine_I_Am_Pandora: Same here. Prometheus is coming by for brunch tomorrow. Why don't you join us?
beatthesphinx65: Really? The Prometheus?
OK_Fine_I_Am_Pandora: The one and only.
beatthesphinx65: You know what, Pandora? I think you just gave me hope.
Nietzsche: This makes me want to puke.