“What profit has a man of his toil beneath the sun? One generation goes, another comes, but the earth is forever unchanged… All things are tiresome… There is nothing new under the sun.”
To Rabbi Olan, the Book of Ecclesiastes, from which this quote is taken, is the ultimate expression of boredom with life. He goes on to describe the problem of boredom in modern life, where people have unparalleled access to culture and travel; how much more true that is today. People, he points out, try to escape monotony through infidelity, crime, and war.
But Olan argues that there are many new things under the sun, and he describes some of those things that people can choose to recognize, regardless of their circumstances, quoting Emerson: “The pleasure of life is according to the man who lives it, and not according to the work or place.”
*Written by Joshua Hirsch.*