Opening Pandoras Box

Opening pandoras box is a metaphor for unleashing all sorts of evil into the world. This is similar to the story of Eve in Adam and Eve.

The “box” was actually a large jar (πιθοςpithos) given to Pandora (Πανδώρα) (“all-gifted”), which contained all the evils of the world. When Pandora opened the jar, the entire contents of the jar were released, but for one – hope.[1]

Pandora had a jar which she was not to open under any circumstance. Impelled by her natural curiosity, Pandora opened the box-jar, and all evil contained escaped and spread over the earth.

The book Cat In The Hat by Dr Seuss is a variant of the Pandora’s box story.

… the Cat brings a cheerful, exotic and exuberant form of chaos to a household of two young kids, brother and sister, one rainy day while their mother leaves them unattended. Then, the Cat gets a box from outside. Inside the box are two creatures named Thing One and Thing Two, who begin to fly kites in the house.

After the Cat In The Hat opens the box things start getting messed up in the house and things get bad. They manage to close the box though.

To make up for the chaos he has caused, he cleans up the house on his way out, disappearing a second before the mother arrives.

Both Cat In The Hat and Pandora’s Box imply that curiosity is a source of social chaos. The desire to know foreign and exotic things. For example: going to war on imperial adventures can throw the whole world into chaos as has been shown with the recent incursion into Iraq.

As America has established intercourse with Iraq the American economy has crashed and turned to shambles.

The desire for new and exciting “highs”also brings trouble. This leads one to try more and more extreme things. An example of this is people who get tons of body piercings or tons of tattoos. People who risk their lives for thrills are another example of this. Tattoos were used to mark slaves and criminals in ancient Rome.

“The ancients who showed their skill in practicing the Tao did so, not to enlighten the people, but rather to make them simple and ignorant.
The difficulty in governing the people arises from their having much knowledge.

But contentment comes at no cost;
Who knows when to stop
Does not continue into danger,
And so may long endure.

The opposite of contentment is the desire for thrills. Part of the desire for thrills is the desire to know that which is foreign and exotic. Fascination with the foreign and exotic is cosmopolitanism. Cosmopolitanism means being uprooted and Lao Tzu(author of the Tao Te Ching) asserts that when the people are uprooted there is chaos and misery in the world.

Being content means preferring ignorance instead of knowledge. Some translations of the Tao Te Ching use the word dark instead of ignorance.

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4 Responses to Opening Pandoras Box

  1. Colonel Goober says:

    I hope this be not too crude… but:

    Pandora is a woman. “Box” is slang for vagina. “Opening Pandora’s Box” can be interpreted as sex. Many of us think sex was the ’cause for the fall. I don’t recommend opening Pandoa’s box.

  2. janoklark says:

    Curiosity killed the cat.

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