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The Parable of Infinite Boxes

I woke up inside of a box.

I felt goosebumps flicker on my skin as I looked up around me. The box was brown. As I felt the floor, I realized it was cardboard. It wasn’t dark. Light shined through the top, when I looked up, I realized it was a cardboard box.

At first, I didn’t want to leave. I walked around for days in the box, exploring its contours and getting to know every inch, but eventually my curiosity got the better of me. It was arduous at first. But I figured it out. I figured out how to get out of the box.

When I climbed to the top of the box, I could see the box flaps resting on its sides. I made the final jump out.

When I landed, I had goosebumps again. I don’t know what I expected but it wasn’t this. I landed on cardboard.

Now I’m in this new box: also cardboard, also big. I think I’ll spend some days exploring it too.

You know what, never mind that, I get it. This is another box. Wait a second, what happens if I climb to the top of this box? My god. There’s another box! There’s more boxes! It’s endless!

Boxes within boxes within boxes. As far as the eye can see.

I feel the goosebumps again.

—— END ——

Author’s Commentary

The visualization I want the reader to have in their mind resembles the Russian dolls. The character sits in one box, and slowly but surely climbs out to the next box and the next box.

The Parable of the Infinite Boxes is, as the title suggests, a parable. I felt it was an appropriate word to use since a parable is “a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson”. We rarely realize, in this day and age, saturated by media, a global culture that wants you to be confident, and a healthy set of data that can tell you anything, to what extent we live in our own boxes. We don’t realize how trapped we are in our own minds. The spiritual lesson here, if there is one, is the stark realization that we cannot escape our boxes (or the cycle of boxes). The boxes are infinite. The moment one box is overcome or we leave one, we enter another one. For some people, this might be scarier than anything in the world. The scary realization that we are trapped in our thinking and our world, for others, this can be liberating. For the character I’ve written here, he/she is scared. It’s that initial fear that is actually quite liberating though because at least there is wisdom inside of that fear.

Most people (indeed all people) go through life assuming the boxes in their lives are normal and matter-of-fact. They don’t question their reality. They live in a box, they are right and wrong in this box, and they rarely step out of it. Waking up inside of the box and then climbing out of it is a long process that I believe everyone must go through to become a more intelligent and wholesome human being.

The harsh truly scary part here is that everyone has a box that they live in. And it’s very difficult to move from box to box, whether it be to a bigger box or another person’s box. Another story?