What More Indeed

Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom, and also madness and folly.  What more can the king’s successor do than what has already been done?  Ecclesiastes 2:12.

 

Solomon begs the question most people ask:  what more is there? Or, “is this all?”

We’re in a conundrum, really, with life itself.  There’s only so much one can do with it before it begins to repeat.  The cynicism of age or experience (not exactly tied to each other, by the way) takes on a bitter edge when a person pursues one thing to excess.  It happens as well when we focus on a few things to the exclusion of others.  Humans were designed for a well rounded lifestyle—work, family, friends, community, play, fun and vacations.  The fact that many of us choose to do one or two out of the mix and deny the others testifies to the imbalance in our outlook which demonstrates itself in the systems we create.

I’ve heard so many people complain about the “system” as if it’s completely autonomous and independent of human direction or input.  Then when the blame game gets going full steam, they refuse to take responsibility for the monster they’ve created and blame the monster for their troubles.  No system or organization operates outside human intervention—it’s just not possible.  Any set of operating procedures are developed by people for the sheer purpose of handling life with other humans.  What’s perverse about our logic in this matter is that whenever someone comes to complain about how they’re being treated, those in charge refuse the blame for enforcing said procedures and place the blame on the “system” or operation manual.  Personal responsibility gets sidestepped by conveniently using a set of inanimate words from a page to justify bad procedures.

Everything developed now has in been in some form in the past.  Oh it might not have had the exact society we work with today, but we can be sure there was someone practicing said social or technical developments somewhere in history.  For instance, if mankind had never seen a bird or animal fly, they would never have considered the possibility of trying it themselves.  Even if one only believes in the Origin of Species or Darwinism, they would have to look in the sky to grasp both possibility and probability.

Yet some of Solomon’s observations lack imagination.  Like his question, What more can the king’s successor do than what has already been done?  It totally depends on the previous king, though I think he’s suggesting himself as the one who’s done it all.  On the other hand, inventing machines and gadgets doesn’t mean progress in human needs or wants.  In other words, food, walking, hands, sex, etc. all have a repetitive function and though the technology might change, the use of these things do not.  That said, it isn’t fair to assume everything’s been done unless someone has the resources or means to do everything available to human desires.

Solomon certainly got everything a person could wish for, if we subtract technology from the equation.  What is a computer but a mechanical object used to calculate and communicate human equations or thoughts for some purpose pertaining to their goals of sustenance or pleasure?  It’s simply a tool as the means to an end we established long ago.  Seen in this way, his perspective rings true.

Yet it’s hard not to critique his limited scope, for much of what he assumes is based on what he already knows exists.

As I said in another post, no human, let alone Solomon, could ever have imagined the God of the universe sending His Son to die as a way of beating the enemy.  It would never cross my mind to send my son as a sacrifice to win the war.  In the course of fighting, may be my son might die and through his efforts win a victory which turned the tide of the war, but his death itself wouldn’t be the source of it, but considered collateral damage.

Sin built a box based on what God already created and all of us are stuck in the repetitive nature we thought to own and command for ourselves.  We can’t seem to get it through our heads we control nothing—even while I’m typing this I know there are definitely areas of my life where I don’t believe I’m not in control, though intellectually I do.  It’s an odd disconnect between our wishful thinking, emotional or delusional mental state with sin at the helm and the logical side of the brain screaming to us to stop the madness.

No, the successor can’t do anything more than the previous king did because our pursuits remain the same, the basic methods we choose to get there unchanged except for location or source and generally what we value repeats as well.

Look at the youth of today who get caught up in partying or careers.  Watch as they repeat the mistakes of the parents and think they’re doing something original through their rebellion or conformity.  Nothing changes.  The more we change the décor, the more we forget that window dressing doesn’t change the structure of the room.

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2 Responses to “What More Indeed”

  1. tlc4women Says:

    And yet it is the process that most of us follow and grow from.

  2. jonnysoundsketch2 Says:

    I think that’s part of what Solomon is trying to say…

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