Arthur listened for a short while, but being unable to understand the vast majority of what Ford was saying he began to let his mind wander, trailing his fingers along the edge of an incomprehensible computer bank, he reached out and pressed an invitingly large red button on a nearby panel. The panel lit up with the words Please do not press this button again.
(The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)Similarly (well, similarly enough for the purposes of a blog post anyway) Eve, being unable to understand the vast majority of what God was saying, began to let her mind wander, reached out and took an invitingly large red fruit from a nearby tree...
OK it's a flawed parallel, not least because, unlike Arthur Dent, Eve had been warned of the consequences before she took the fruit. Arthur was technically tempted by the unknown rather than the explicitly forbidden, although I think a good rule of thumb would be that if you've never been in a spaceship before, pressing buttons as soon as you get the chance is not going to go down well with the spaceship's owners.
So, let us suspend our disbelief for a moment and agree that the temptations were broadly similar, and take a look at the outcomes. Now, poor old Eve, she would have been straight out that air-lock, snatched away from her space-borne Utopia with President Beeblebrox and made to fend for herself in the big wide universe. What does Arthur get?
A second chance.
To my thinking, that polite little warning the Heart of Gold gives him seems even more tempting than an unmarked red button. But he is given a pause to reconsider, reminded that buttons is spaceships are not there for the entertainment of earthmen, and asked not to do it again. He is given the Sirius Cybernetics equivalent of grace.
How many of us, when God's Heart of Gold tells us not to do something, think 'Well that wasn't so bad. I wonder if I can get away with it again...'? How many times can we press that button before the airlock opens and we, too, are snatched away from the Heart of Gold by certain death?
Hat tip also to Exploring Our Matrix for inspiring this post, and (indirectly) for the image :)
You probably won't be surprised to learn that, in the class that sparked my post (which in turn inspired this one), I made reference to the button in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!
Small universe huh? :)
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