Blog writing has been a process of discovery for me. Reading and chiming in on other blogs has helped as well. Even Twitter opened my eyes to some realizations.
But it was reading a book in the Bible called Ecclesiastes again recently that finalized some insights for me. The author of Ecclesiastes had enough money, clarity, and power to explore every pleasure he desired. He could say that he really did do it all, had it all, and explored it all. At the end of his life, he realizes that there is “nothing new under the sun.”
I’m beginning to realize it, too.
This book of the Bible was written by King Solomon. Eugene H Peterson, author of the The Message translation of the Bible, writes this in his introduction to Ecclesiastes:
Unlike the animals, who seem quite content to simply be themselves, we humans are always looking for ways to be more than or other that what we find ourselves to be. We explore the countryside for excitement, search our souls for meaning, shop the world for pleasure. We try this. Then we try that. The usual fields of endeavor are money, sex, power, adventure, and knowledge.
Everything we try is so promising at first! But nothing ever seems to amount to very much. We intensify our efforts — but the harder we work at it, the less we get out of it …
Ecclesiastes is a famous — maybe the world’s most famous — witness to this experience of futility. The acerbic wit catches our attention. The stark honesty compels notice. And people do notice … more that a few of them are surprised to find this kind of thing in the Bible … Ecclesiastes actually doesn’t say much about God; the author leaves that to the other sixty-five books of the Bible. His task is to expose our total incapacity to find the meaning and completion of our lives on our own … It is an exposé and rejection of (the) expectation that we can live our lives by ourselves on our own terms.
“I love those words. They’re so much richer than the overly simplistic self-help stuff we sometimes encounter.”
Barbara Swafford wrote,
“There’s so much truth in each line, and like you, it’s taken me years to figure it out.”
Let me ask you, dear readers, this:
Do you think the echo chamber of the internet — the tendency of bloggers and social media users to repeat similar posts and discussions — is an indication that there really is, as the author of Ecclesiastes writes, “nothing new under the sun?” In other words, if we all talk together online for a hundred or a thousand years, will we (on our own) find any truly new answers to the age old questions?