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Ideas of Anon (Ecc), by Text

[Israelite, fl. 200 BCE, Author of Ecclesiastes.]

200BCE 21: Book of Ecclesiastes
01.02 p.326 All is vanity, saith the Preacher
     Full Idea: Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
     From: Anon (Ecc) (21: Book of Ecclesiastes [c.200 BCE], 01.02)
     A reaction: If we are swamped by vanity, then there is presumably no hope for the other virtues. A more balanced view would say that we should aim for a mean on the scale of self-esteem, which probably requires an effort to be objective about ourselves.
01.18 p.326 In much wisdom is much grief
     Full Idea: In much wisdom is much grief.
     From: Anon (Ecc) (21: Book of Ecclesiastes [c.200 BCE], 01.18)
     A reaction: If this is true, then the question is of what there is in wisdom that will compensate for the grief. Personally I doubt the whole claim. Some wisdom involves grief, but most of it involves pleasure, even when understanding of evil is the target.
02.02 p.326 Laughter is mad; of mirth, what doeth it?
     Full Idea: I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, what doeth it?
     From: Anon (Ecc) (21: Book of Ecclesiastes [c.200 BCE], 02.02)
     A reaction: Not much of an argument, but an interesting support for the extreme anti-hedonistic puritanical view. Most people would praise laughter as an end in itself, so 'what doeth it?' seems to miss the point.
07.03 p.328 Sorrow is better than laughter
     Full Idea: Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.
     From: Anon (Ecc) (21: Book of Ecclesiastes [c.200 BCE], 07.03)
     A reaction: This writer fails to see the good in laughter. If he did, he would have a more balanced view, and we could take this opinion more seriously. Theatre audiences always seem keen to hunt out jokes where none are intended.
12.12 p.330 Books are endless, and study is wearisome
     Full Idea: Of making many books there is no end; and much study is weariness of the flesh.
     From: Anon (Ecc) (21: Book of Ecclesiastes [c.200 BCE], 12.12)
     A reaction: Does anyone share my occasional sinking heart on entering a large library or bookshop? I truly believe that there is nothing better in the world than books. And yet, and yet...