Ideas of Anon (Ecc), by Theme

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

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1. Philosophy / A. Wisdom / 3. Wisdom Deflated
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.
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 8. Humour
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.
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.
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 3. Virtues / a. Virtues
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.
25. Social Practice / E. Policies / 5. Education / b. Education principles
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...