Pandora And That Damnable Box

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Pandora had repeatedly fancied that sounds like whispers issued from the box. The noise now seemed to increase, and she breathlessly applied her ear to the lid to ascertain whether it really proceeded from within. Imagine, therefore, her surprise when she distinctly heard these words, uttered in the most pitiful accents: " Pandora, dear Pandora, have pity upon us ! Free us from this gloomy prison! Open, open, we beseech you!"

Pandora's heart beat so fast and loud, that it seemed for a moment to drown all other sounds. Should she open the box ? Just then a familiar step outside made her start guiltily. Epimetheus was coming, and she knew he would urge her again to come out, and would prevent the gratification of her curiosity. Precipitately, therefore, she raised the lid to have one little peep before he came in.

Now, Jupiter had malignantly crammed into this box all the diseases, sorrows, vices, and crimes that afflict poor humanity; and the box was no sooner opened, than all these ills flew out, in the guise of horrid little brown-winged creatures, closely resembling moths. These little insects fluttered about, alighting, some upon Epimetheus, who had just entered, and some upon Pandora, pricking and stinging them most unmercifully. They then flew out through the open door and windows, and fastened upon the merrymakers without, whose shouts of joy were soon changed into wails of pain and anguish.

Taken from: The Myths of Greece and Rome by H.A. Guerber (G. Harrap & Co. 1907)

The Greek mythology of Pandora and the box of sorrows is one that has endured long after the civilization that produced it collapsed. There is something compelling about the tale, even though we know it is just a myth. The tale has become a commonly used metaphor for unanticipated consequences.

So the people who have wrought the dirtiest campaigning season I can recall have much to look forward to in the way of unanticipated consequences. For example, this item from the Washington Post.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A state senator said he is evaluating whether to continue his bid for a second term after a Charleston television station aired revealing pictures of him last week.

"My family has urged me not to withdraw from the election and I will work with them to make a decision in the immediate future," State Sen. Randy White, a Webster County Democrat, said in a letter to newspapers in his district.

An apologetic White also wrote that he was "shocked" and "horribly embarrassed" after WCHS-TV aired photos depicting him and at least two other men wearing only body paint.

"The pictures were taken approximately two years ago in private and were stolen from my personal computer," said White, 51, a married father of three. "I am not sure why they were given to the media, but I must assume for obvious political reasons."

I'm thoroughly disgusted with many of the campaigns this year. So is the Real Ugly American. I have to keep reminding myself of the end of the myth of Pandora and that damnable box:

It was well for Pandora that she opened the box a second time, for the gods, with a sudden impulse of compassion, had concealed among the evil spirits one kindly creature, Hope, whose mission was to heal the wounds inflicted by her fellow prisoners.

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