I Promise You Won't Learn A Thing From This Blog

The official blog for author Ashley Chappell. Check back every week for a few laughs at my expense or, if you know the love-hate process that is writing, commiseration.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Pandora's Box

I had the absolute strangest dream last night during one of the few fitful moments of sleep I was allowed. Now this is not to say that my dreams are usually anything other than strange, but this one stuck with me vividly for some reason when the others tend to float away from my waking grasp.

I won't even speculate as to what brought this about, but in this dream we had discovered a way to unlock the unused majority of our brains and study the full potential we possess. I wasn't reading neurological manuals before I went to bed so don't even think about asking me how we managed this. What's important to me here is that we found in each expanded capability of the human mind a greater capacity for evil than in the previous. It was a veritable Pandoras Box; the more we opened, the greater the potential for destruction.

My first thought about this dream was that it was as nonsensical as all of my others. But then it started feeling like a marriage of two different allegories: Pandoras Box, and the biblical Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. Emphasis on the abstract here, but it began to seem like a metaphor for the path that we have been on. We have gained so much intelligence and command over ourselves and our environment in our time here, but so much of that knowledge has been to the detriment of both humanity and nature. Lessons of morality and cooperation are learned through conflict; societies have been forged by war and unmade by genocide; the need for tolerance is bred by acts of terror. For every stride we take in science a new weapon is spawned that worsens the depth of the damage dealt in past strife.

Evolution is naturally leading us to unlocking more and more of our capabilities. In fact, just this May geneticists announced that they had finally completed the entire map of the human genome which will give biological research new momentum in all areas. In some ways I fear that this in itself will be a dangerous fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. If we push forward and unlock this box, will we be able to survive what we become?