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The Teacher seems angry that nothing they do or learn will be original or new—something no one but himself has done before, and because so, no one in the future generations will remember his doings or his wisdom. All though he seems wise at times and teaches wisdom to others he seems to neglect his vocation to help others. In whatever it is that he teaches or does, it is not out of the benefit of his neighbors but himself. Because of his lack of understanding of reaping joy in bliss of others, he has resorted to focusing on himself and all things that lead to his life of vanity.
Interesting viewpoint on the book of Ecclesiastes. You have captured his feelings that life spirals around and around and seems to be going nowhere. One aspect of his writing that needs be be remembered is that Kohelet (the author of Ecclesiastes) is tackling one key question “what lasting benefit do we gain from our hard word” with an eastern mindset, not as a set of absolutes, but as situational wisdom. His answer to his key question varies depending on whether we are pursuing a goal (wealth, wisdom, pleasure) as an end in itself or as part of the journey. For example, when he pursued wisdom as a goal he found it was like chasing the wind for “the more wisdom, the more grief” and in the end the wise and the fool both die. When enjoyed on the journey, however “wisdom is like an inheritance” and “the wise can see where they are going but the fool stumbles along in the dark”. His “on the other hand” type of thinking is sometimes missed in the book and his message gets convoluted and he comes off as as angry instead of a bit sarcastic.
Kohelet teaches that one of the main joys in life is relationships. He says “enjoy life with the people you love”, “two are better than one”, “share with as many as possible” and “life is sweet”. These, of course, are all spoken when he is referring to people who know how to relax and enjoy the journey of life – “one handful with rest is better than two handfuls with toil and chasing the wind.”
Kohelet is a great book about getting back to the simple things of life but too often we miss it because we have be prejudiced by a few thousand years of traditions and translations that only see the book from one perspective. This happened to me as well but now I have come to love the book and I have memorized it so I can perform it for others who are interesting in the path of wisdom.
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