“3 – I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives.
10 – Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.
I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure,
For my heart rejoiced in all my labor;
And this was my reward from all my labor
11 – Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done
And on the labor in which I had toiled;
And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.
There was no profit under the sun.”
Ecclesiastes 2:3, 10 & 11
The futility of life can sometimes become overwhelming. In the search for what is worthwhile, not all of us are able to embrace folly and indulge, with wisdom like King Solomon. Some of us get bruised and scarred. Some never recover.
I recommend for us to always get up when we fall. Take little steps. Survive. While indulging in some vices with friends, an elderly man overheard our conversation. A friend was lamenting how sometimes the bad side of one would overshadow the good. The elderly man was of the same view with Epictetus, when he advised my friend to find one good thing in himself, and focus on that.
Rather than judge, we must empathize with one another as we struggle through life. When anyone falls, let’s remember that like King Solomon, the person is simply searching for what is really worthwhile to do in this life which like vapor will quickly fade away.
As we search however we must try to always remember King Solomon’s summary: it’s grasping for the wind. No vice or pleasure or the opposite can fill the void of the soul.
What then is the use of anything? What is the use of this write up then? Or the blog? Or of anything? Again I will refer those who ask this to Epictetus below:
Since we can’t change the fact that we are already in this world, maybe we should not focus on the question. Rather let us look for that tiny good side of ours that we can control (or at least think we can); and work on it.
In the final analysis, it’s still vanity.
Dr Ande Elisha
The Amateur Philosopher