Thursday Interview: Pandora

– I interviewed Eve the other day – well, Adam’s Rib, more precisely – and you have quite a lot in common, don’t you? And a lot to answer for as well. Not to put too fine a point on it, you messed up the whole world. In the words of the poet Hesiod, since you opened that box, “Countless plagues wander amongst men; for earth is full of evils and the sea is full. Of themselves diseases come upon men continually by day and by night.” What do you have to say to that?

– Hang on now, let’s set the record straight here. Eve did her thing because she chose to. I had no say in the matter, OK? Long story short, Prometheus steals fire from the gods, Zeus goes crazy, and I end up with a box. Why me? What did I do, huh? Nothing.

– Well, you did open it, didn’t you? After you’d been expressly told not to.

– Hey, give me a break, will you? This box arrives, registered post and all, straight from Zeus with a card saying, “Hey, Pandora, guess what’s in here! You’re so gonna love it! Well, you would if you opened it, that is. But you’re not going to, are you? So you’ll never know what’s in there! Ha, ha! Isn’t that cool?” So there I am thinking it has to be full of Jeff de Bruges chocolates, obviously. My favourite, OK? And I’m not supposed to open it? Seriously?

– How long did you hold out?

– Three minutes? I mean, have you tried those white chocolate and caramelised almond slabs? To die for! Literally, in this case. Soon as I peeked inside, all these plagues come hissing out like a swarm of bees. And I’m like, “Uh-oh! What have I done now?” You know when you press the wrong key and everything gets deleted? Well, this was a million times worse. I tried to stop them all getting out but too late. There’s only one that stayed inside – Hope.

– Right. And there’s been debate about that. Does it mean that hope is denied to us or that in fact it’s all we have left?

– Well, Nietzsche puts it this way: “Man takes the remaining evil for the greatest worldly good – it is hope, for Zeus did not want man to throw his life away, no matter how much the other evils might torment him, but rather to go on letting himself be tormented anew. To that end, he gives man hope. In truth, it is the most evil of evils because it prolongs man’s torment.” Bit pessimistic in my view, but that’s Nietzsche for you. Never one to look on the bright side, was he? Though come to think of it, I guess you could say he’s got a point.

– And you’ve managed to cope all right yourself, have you? Don’t you feel incredibly guilty?

– Not particularly, to be honest. If it had been just a few people to suffer, I’d have probably felt worse, but basically I nuked the whole world, so I’m, like, “What the hell? Who cares?” I mean it was so over the top, you know? But hey, that’s Zeus for you. Subtlety? Not his thing. So I reckon all there is to do now is spread whatever joy we can. Here, fancy a choc?

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