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To Sit In Judgemnt

Author’s note: The language of mortals is dated and quoted verbatim; the language of immortals is quoted with a broader fidelity.

Dear Pandora,
My vote: Have your husband open it.

Panny Love,
Why didn’t I think of that?

Sweet Pandora,
It’s like I told Eve. You will not die. Do you have that straight? Hear me loud and clear. You will not die.
Open it.
     The Serpent

[Women] naturally are so much given to Curiosity, that some Divines have held, our Grandmother Eve had never longed for the forbidden fruit, had it not been forbidden.
      Walter Charleton (1620–1707)

After all these years, I see that I was mistaken about Eve in the beginning; it is better to live outside the Garden with her than inside it without her.
      Adam via Mark Twain (1835—1910)

Lisa K. Buchanan [syllables groaned with sigh of exasperation], you sure ask a lot of questions!
     Bible School Teacher, 1966

Dear Pandora,
It’s a wedding gift, and therefore, you and hubby should open it together; share the blame, glory, and inevitable jar of pickled capers that will stay in the gift basket for a month before migrating to the cupboard where it will sit for a year or till the expiration date since few people will actually eat this allegedly edible fruit.
Perhaps you should have registered.
      Ms. Modern Manners on Matrimonial Equanimity

Wayte what thyng we may nat lightly have,
Therafter wol we crie al day and crave.
Forbede us thyng, and that desiren we;
Preesse on us faste, and thanne wol we fle.

      Wife of Bath via Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400)

Look out a thing we may not lightly have,
And after that we'll cry all day and crave.
Forbid a thing, and that thing covet we;
Press hard upon us, then we turn and flee.

      Wife of Bath via Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400)
      and modern translation, Litrix Reading Room

Ms. Pandora:
Get the $$$ you deserve! We specialize in Post-Nuptial Agreements for couples facing a major change in assets or other relationship transition. Special prices for select literati.
      Mammon Harris Baal and Serp, LLC

Dear Pandora,
It has come to my attention that some obscure 15th Century monk has been deliberately confusing pagan myth with scriptural truth by saying that you’re my daughter in-law. Let us speak plainly: I piloted a famous ark of the pious elite; you belong to a hoard of promiscuous pagans. Let our peoples not be conflated.
      Aristocratically yours,

Dear Pandora,
My wife was curious once.

Be not curious in unnecessary matters: for more things are
shewed unto thee than men understand.
      Ben Sira, before 180 BCE

I dunno about opening that jar, P.
Did you hear what happened to me?
I was sitting alone in the woods, enjoying solitary contemplation on a much-needed break from my hunting hooligans, when one of Goddess Diana’s voluptuous nymphs came splashing out of a pond to retrieve the centaur testicle that had soared overhead in a game of catch and landed precisely—yup!—in my lap. The naked nymph came running and crashed into me, and for one brief moment, I on my back and she on her knees, we gazed at each other. I propped myself up and placed the silky sack into her gathered palms. And that small assertion of mutual pleasure and individual sovereignty—the nymph and I had dared to part, however briefly, from our respective groups—provoked the goddess to turn me into dog food.
So, yeah, I dunno about opening that jar. I say take up weaving.
      Actaeon the Stag

Hey Pandora,
I’m sick of the condescending ignoramae who think of weaving as a means to decorate tissue boxes. If it’s truthtelling you’re after, if you’re willing to challenge the hubris of the gods, if you can embrace working every possible minute of your life only to be dismissed as an idler, if you can stomach others denigrating your non-remunerative pursuit while wishing it was theirs, then yes, take up weaving. The loom, after all, is mightier than, well, almost everything.

Dear Pandora,
Arachne’s your gal.

Women are the devil’s gateway. Do you not know that you are each an Eve? 
      Tertullian (160 – 220 CE)

Ignorance, the root and the stem of every evil.
      Plato (427 BC - 347 BCE)

Darling Pandora,
Ignorance is a false paradise. Open the damn box already.

Dear Pandora,
I was curious once.
      Bluebeard’s Third Wife

Darling Pandora,
My former wives do not a creditable source make.
You have the key. Don’t be a wuss.

I was curious once.
      Lucius the Ass

It is the glory of God to hide things but the glory of kings to investigate them.
      King Solomon[?], 10th Century, BCE

…for so he [King Solomon] saith expressly, ‘The glory of God is to conceal a thing, but the glory of the king is to find it out;’ as if, according to the innocent play of children, the Divine Majesty took delight to hide His works, to the end to have them found out…
      Francis Bacon, (1561 – 1626)

Saint Augustine recorded in ‘Confessions’ (397) the story of a curious soul who wondered what God did in the eons before creating heaven and earth: ‘He fashioned hell for the inquisitive.’
      Blogger, 2008

Dear Pandora,
Please reject that blogger’s Augustine quotation as it was taken out of context and its meaning, altered. Augustine was largely interested in the motive for curiosity: Is it morbid? Superstitious? Fuel for arrogance? Let’s discuss this—and a promotional strategy for your memoir—over lunch this week.
      Lydia Sykes,
      Beyond the Grave Literary Representation
P.S. The saint is available for posthumous speaking engagements and cross-publicity; double up for an event?

Dear Pandora, Recipient of All Gifts,
This is your creator speaking. Flip that blasted lid already; it’s too late for rewrites.
      Hesiod Posthumous Amanuensis, III

Precious Pandora,
Don’t listen to that Hesiod character. I am your creator and you should never ever, ever, under any circumstances, open that box which is my profound, monumental, and uniquely divine gift to you. I repeat, DO NOT OPEN that shiny, exquisite, destiny-laden, decadently priced box.
      Your Almighty Zeus

Darling Pandora,
Zeus is a womanizing skank. Ignore him.

Curiosity, in spite of its appeal, often leads to deep regret. To the displeasure of many a maiden, its enjoyment is short lived. Once satisfied, it ceases to exist, and always costs dearly.
      Charles Perrault (1628-1703) via Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

Dear Pandora,
I was curious once.

Lisa K. Buchanan [syllables groaned with sigh of exasperation], you sure ask a lot of questions!
      High-school counselor when pressed on the benefits of disciplining a high
      GPA student who cuts class to read in the library (1977)

Those who are borne away with fonde vanitie of a proude mynde do yeelde themselves vassals to Satan.
      Lambert Daneau, Calvinist theologian (c.1535-c.1590)

Search not for such things as God would haue kept secret.
      William Perkins, Puritan theologian (1558–1602)

Dear Pandora,
Some truths will ruin your sex life forever. Have you thought of that?
      Jocasta, mother-wife of Oedipus

Dear First Lady of Greek Mythology,
We’d like to sign you for a two-book deal re: the opening of your box or jar or whatever it is. Will $11 million do for an advance? (First Lady Clinton only got eight; her successor, probably around ten.)
      Random Scrivener Schuster Doubleday

Dear Pandora,
I am the wife (and sister) of The Almighty. I do congratulate you on your nuptials--and hereby warn that any further contact with my husband will guarantee a hideous transformation and prolonged, excruciating existence.
P.S. Hand over the offspring now and you might not get hurt.

Dear Pandora,
Innocence is overrated. Open it.

Put a limit to your thought and avoid curiosity in investigating the incomprehensible.
      Basil The Great (330 – 379)

Your dilemma is about female sexual infidelity.
      Ghost of Bruno Bettelheim

Your dilemma is about repressed female sexual infidelity.
      Ghost of Sigmund Freud

Dear Pandora,
I feel so dilemma-deficient next to you. I mean, you have a book contract and a complex named after you, and what archetypal clout do I have? Ship-launching—woop-de-doo—and my name stamped on a cheap hairdryer.
      Helen of Troy
P.S. Cinderella is feeling left out again. Could you be in touch?

Dear Pandora and Cinder,
My complex is the fairest of them all.

Dear Pandora,
I believe Aphrodite means “complexion.” And having a “fair” one can be, let’s say, inconvenient. Will write more when my house is not all mops and brooms.
      Snow White

Hey Piora,
Could u tell me whether it’s a box or a jar? My paper’s doo tomorrow.

It’s a goblet with fallopian tubes.
      Ghost of Paul Klee
      Sent from Lydia’s smartphone

Dear Pandora,
Discreet containers warrant their own kind of care, but it’s generally true that a rinse with a 1:10 solution of vinegar and water will keep your favorite vessel clean and odor-free. Do line the interior with plastic wrap and keep hinges well-lubed.
Good luck,
      A devoted reader of Heloise

Dear Pandora,
Keep your fingers out of your box and you’ll live happily ever after.
      Anonymous Fairy Tale Scholar

Lisa K. Buchanan [syllables groaned with sigh of exasperation], you sure ask a lot of questions!
      Employer when confronted on denying a promised pay-raise, 1985

Subj:10 allussions of modern literature realted to greek gods?
Can u (anybody!) help me find 10 allussions of greek mythology in modern literature...
      hellodolly, 2008 (also the author of “Why am i addicted to yahoo answers,
      when i could be going out partying tonight?”)

Dear Pandora,
Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts, as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags.  It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.
      Jane Eyre via Charlotte Brontë (1816--1855)

Dear Pandora,
Let me out of the box. You’ll be immortal and I’ll be an inspiration to the human race.

Dear Pandora,
Ignore this appeal to your vanity. Studies have shown the harm done by the illusion that one’s current difficulties are temporary. Don’t let the above imposter retard human emotional progress; she’s just a campaign slogan.
Stickin’ to my dark and airless corner no matter what you do,
      The Real Hope

Hope….As Zeus had wished, Pandora slammed the top down and it remained inside.…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.
      Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Dear Pandora the All-Giver:
We need more pagans at our festival. Would you consider making an appearance? Good publicity for second-book birthing (Congrats!).
      Earth Day Speaker Committee, 2020

Lisa K. Buchanan [syllables groaned with sigh of exasperation], you sure ask a lot of questions!
      Conservative relative not wanting to discuss President Clinton’s impeachment

Dear Pandora,
Inquisitiveness has worked out pretty well for me.
      Curious George

Let mortal men, that are but earth, and dust,
Not look too high, with puff of worldly pride.
      Geoffrey Whitney (1548-1601)

But Knowledge is as food, and needs no less
Her Temperance over Appetite, to know
In measure what the mind may well contain
Oppresses else with Surfet, and soon turns
Wisdom to Folly, as Nourishment to Winde

      Raphael to Adam via John Milton (1608 –1674)

Knowledge without love always puffeth up.
      St. Paul, 1st Century CE

…as if that part of knowledge which everyone has acquainted himself with were that alone which was worth the having, and all the rest were idle and empty amusements, comparatively of no use or importance. This is the effect of ignorance… the being vainly puffed up with a flatulency arising from a weak and narrow comprehension.
      John Locke (1632-1704)

Lisa K. Buchanan [syllables groaned with sigh of exasperation], you sure ask a lot of questions!
      Cellphone provider’s Customer Service Associate when pressed on the necessity
      of signing a contract with an arbitration clause (2001)

So as whatsoever is not God but parcel of the world, he hath fitted it for the comprehension of man’s mind, if man will open and dilate the power of understanding as he may.
      Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

Curiosity distinguishes man from beast.
      Thomas Hobbes (1588 – 1679)

Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind.
      Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)

What is curiosity but a love of truth, a love of knowledge?
      David Hume ( 1711 – 1776)

Curiosity is one of the forms of feminine bravery.
      Victor Hugo (1802 –1885)

Curiosity, n. An objectionable quality of the female mind. The desire to know whether or not a woman is cursed with curiosity is one of the most active and insatiable passions of the masculine soul.
      Ambrose Bierce (1842– 1914?)

Lisa K. Buchanan [syllables groaned with sigh of exasperation], you sure ask a lot of questions!
      Doctor prescribing a mass-market pharmaceutical to be taken indefinitely on a
      daily basis, 2004

Dear Pandora,
In the nineteenth century, Lord Byron in ‘Don Juan’ (1818) roundly condemned the curious with ‘I loathe that low vice curiosity.’
      Blogger, 2008

Hiya Pandora,
Lydia here again from Beyond the Grave. Once more, please ignore the blogger quote. It was not Lord Byron (1788 – 1824) who called curiosity a vice; it was the narrator-character from his poem; that is, a literary construct which is not to be confused with the voice of Lord Byron expressing his own personal view. As you can see in the full stanza and transition, the narrator was making fun of himself and the pursuit of gossip, not condemning sincere inquisitiveness:

Don José and his lady quarrelled—why,
    Not any of the many could divine,
Though several thousand people chose to try,
    ‘Twas surely no concern of theirs nor mine;
I loathe that low vice—curiosity;
    But if there’s anything in which I shine,
‘Tis in arranging all my friends’ affairs,
Not having, of my own, domestic cares.

      Lydia Sykes
      Beyond the Grave Literary Representation

It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge.
      Enrico Fermi, nuclear physicist (1901 –1954)

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.
      Carl Edward Sagan (1934 –1996)

Lisa K. Buchanan [syllables groaned with sigh of exasperation], you sure ask a lot of questions!
      Angel of Death, 2049

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