The Dichotomy of Meaning

Meaningless! Meaningless! says the Teacher. Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless! – Ecclesiastes 1:1

My Inner Stand-up Comic responds, Yeah? So?

Step aside, Stand-up Comic. Here comes The Philosopher.

Why is meaning important?

Dunno.

And yet, it needs no justification. Would you challenge Mr Solomon on his assumption?

You just have to flip on the news to realise: After all the progress that has been made, the human race is no closer to figuring out what life is all about.

It’s an inner gutteral urge. Who the hell am I? Why am I here? What is the reason for me?

Meaning might actually be another name for the speed of light. You can approach it, but never get it. You can’t catch me! I’m the Gingerbread Man!

Mr Solomon also says:

It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.

Almost as if, Death is the only place that Meaning reveals itself.

Ecclesiastes is full of maddening dichotomies, that frustated the author as much as it frustrates his readers.

Bet he was thinking, If this is going to drive me up a tree, I’ll see that it drives you up a tree as well!

On the weekend, my wife discovered her aunt had passed away a month ago. Somehow we’d missed the newsflash. Liver cancer.

Reading the obit, we were told that her aunt had been a hellraiser on Cortes Island off the BC coast, who opted to End It On Her Own Terms with medical assistance, while gorging herself with chocolate, surrounded by family, and laughing uproariously at old stories. They had to be told to pipe down, they were disturbing the other patients on the ward.

She figured out how to be in the House of Mourning and the House of Feasting at the same time! Cool!

When my old dad passed away 15 years ago, I flew back to my folks’ home in Ottawa.

Going into the bathroom, I stared at the shelf on the wall. Whaddya mean, he’s gone? He’s left his electric shaver behind! What was he thinking?

Meaning.

Find it somewhere between these two last quotes (also by Mr Solomon the Headteacher):

So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun. – Ecclesiastes 8: 15

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God, and obey his commandments, for this is the duty of mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgement, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. – Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14

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