In Greek myth, humankind started out as exclusively male. The gods created men, mortal beings, but in the age of gold, their mortality was scarcely given any thought because men always died peacefully, in their sleep, with no pain and suffering and it didn’t end there for them. After death they became pure spirit ‘daemons’ who are essentially given the task of ‘dispensing wealth to men according to individual merit.’ (Ferry 2014, 146) That’s not a bad gig, really, not unlike how classical economists see the ‘invisible hand’ of the market. These were invisible daemons doing the same job.
Pandora is the first woman. She is Zeus’ creation and is given something by every god. Of course, she’s drop-dead gorgeous but she also comes with a lot of, let us say, unsavory characteristics. Without going into detail, Prometheus, the creator of men (males only at this point) has pissed off Zeus because he’s been trying to help his creation with getting on with the job of creating civilization. (What really pissed Zeus off was that Prometheus had stolen fire from Olympus and given it to man so that he could now cook his food…a very civilized thing indeed). Up to this point, still in the golden age, men are living a pretty cool, decent life. But because of the internecine pissing contests between the gods, things start going sideways for humans. It comes to pass that Pandora seduces Epimetheus, Prometheus’ hapless brother at which point all hell breaks loose (which is what Zeus wanted in the first place). Mankind is cast from the golden age into the age of iron, forced to feed himself, etc., and because of the nasty contents of Pandora’s box (pain, fear, old age, death) doomed to lead a miserable life with nothing but hope for succor. (Hope being the only thing not to escape from Pandora’s box.)
So, the point of all of this is that it’s at this stage in the development of the cosmos that men are now born from sexual intercourse between men and women. Pandora gives birth to other women and that’s it for man. Sex is where it’s at now. We come to be born, as it were, between shit and piss and the rest is history.
What I find interesting here as much as anything is the similarity of this account of the origins of people on this planet with the one offered by Christianity. The details are obviously very different, but the principles are the same and so are the results. As the story goes, God creates man who is pure and spiritual, living in the Garden of Eden, the golden age. Almost as an afterthought, God creates woman and she seduces the pretty dumb male and is punished for his stupidity by having to work for a living and by having to put up with woman who is never satisfied and reminds him of death every day.
Because this is the whole point and the tragedy of the relations between the sexes since forever. Woman is associated with the body, temptation and death. Men are associated with purity, spirit and life. Women successfully seduced the stupid men and now we all pay the price of mortality. How’s that for blaming half the world’s population for what came out of Pandora’s box. Unfortunately, our world is still driven by these old stupid ideas. Are we ever going to get over this crap and actually start real human history? Of course, it’s much more complicated than this, but this is an important dimension of the issue especially when laid next to our incessant warlike behaviour and our drive for puffing ourselves up and smiting our ‘enemies.’ Dumb species we are. Just plain dumb. This is not to say that every man is a stupid mysogenist. The fact is that our cultures are fundamentally mysogenistic. Individuals can be better than that, but our lives are governed to a great extent by mysogenistic principles and practices. Hard to escape. I know some men and women who have. For me, that’s grounds for optimism and for what little there is left in Pandora’s Box. More later (of course).