The Myth of Hope

So, it should come as no surprise to anyone that creative types (writers, artists, musicians, etc.) tend to suffer from various different stripes and strains of mental illnesses and disabilities. While I certainly don’t mean to draw a false correlation between being creative and being “crazy,” stereotypes tend to exist for a reason and if it weren’t a common occurrence, no one would ever connect the two.

Well, as difficult as it might be for me to admit publicly (though it likely won’t come as a surprise to anyone), I do indeed suffer the same. While I won’t go into detail of what exactly afflicts me (those closest to me know and that’s enough), I’ve decided that I want to highlight a few posts for this Throwback Thursday that were written during various episodes I’ve had.

This particular post comes from the defunct Malus and Mayhem blog, and is not indicative of my current outlook on life.

Originally posted September 21, 2015.

Who here knows the myth of Pandora’s box?

It’s a Greek myth, and it’s sort of kind of their version of the Judeo-Christian story of Adam and Eve (minus the whole creation thing).  While I don’t remember all of the specifics, I remember the important parts:

Pandora is a woman who is ordered to guard a box said to be filled with nothing but evil.  Up until this point in time, evil did not exist in the world because it was kept locked away in said box.  Under no circumstances was she to let anyone open the box, lest evil would be released and the world would suffer for it.  Well, sure enough, the very first moment she’s left alone, curiosity takes hold of her and she opens the box just for a peek at what’s inside.  Guess what happens?  All the evil in the box escapes and enters the world.

Thanks, Pandora.

Pandora completely fucking up the world for the rest of time.

But that’s not how the story ends.  The story doesn’t end with Pandora despairing because she let suffering into the world.  Instead, though she does despair, she looks into the empty box and finds something remaining at the bottom: Hope.

Normally, the moral of the story is that one can find hope even in the midst of evil and suffering, and I suppose that’s valid.  But I see two additional, potential messages that lend the myth a bit of sarcasm:

  1. Hope is empty.  It’s a fabrication.  Pandora discovers it at the bottom of an empty box.  There’s nothing left inside, except for hope–which is meaningless, because it’s nothing.
  2. Hope is an evil in and of itself.  It’s the last thing found in a box filled with evil because it belongs in the evil box.  Just consider all those who believe in a better tomorrow, only to die miserable and alone.  Consider those parents whose children are missing, hoping to one day see them alive and well, only to discover days, weeks, months, or years later that their loved one is gone (and was taken in a terrible way).  Hope is all that keeps them going…like a machine that refuses to allow a fatally sick person to die, despite the lacking quality of life.  Hope raises people higher just so the landing when they fall hurts that much more.  Hope is an evil in and of itself.

And that’s the myth of Hope.

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