The jar

The gods taught the woman how to make things, and showed her how to hunt; they gave her gifts of beauty, diligence, and grace. Then they made her smart. One of them gave her speech. This gift of language let her call a threshold a gods-damned threshold — let her find the doorways in the world and walk through them.

Pandora’s crafty words were how she made the world she lived in, and it’s her world we live in still.

And then there was that jar. Brimmed full of toil and sickness and death and diseases stripped of their voices but not their powers (as this woman learned how to speak, so did we all — you might think that if diseases could still speak maybe they wouldn’t be in such a hurry to kill; but consider how well that works out for us).

Skip the stuff about Epimetheus (that ass), and his brother, and the baleful doling out of traits and stolen fire and so forth.

Here’s what’s important about all this crap the woman had, or carried, and brought to us: you can call it a gift or a curse — and either way, it’s yours. It’s the resource, a mountain to be worshipped or mined out or climbed upon or coldly regarded. It’s what we have.

It’s all we have.