This is the second post of a two-part essay on wisdom and education.
Qoheleth, “the son of David, king in Jerusalem” (1:1), casts a long eye on the course of life “to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the scheme of things” (7:25). Taking an “under the sun,” or purely human and non-heavenly, approach, Qoheleth applies his “heart to seek and search out by wisdom” the way of life (1:3, 13). In reflecting on his experience through this vantage point, Qoheleth repeatedly comes to the same conclusion: life is “vanity,” or to give the literal translation of the Hebrew word hebel, life is “vapor” (1:14). It is insubstantial, momentary, and fleeting. To “know wisdom,” then, is to know the vexation of “striving after the wind” (1:17).
Qoheleth’s major arguments for the non-existence of meaning in life “under the sun” can be summarized in five ways. Continue reading The Fruit and Cost of Wisdom