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December 4, 2022
Ecclesiastes and lack of joy
Occasionally, I hit points in time, bringing with them a lackluster tinge on my thoughts and aspirations. A dullness hard to explain. Everything appears vain, and it's very Ecclesiastical. Everywhere I turn, I see a striving after the wind.
Then again, I like the book of Ecclesiastes. There's quality content in there. Legitimate observations, clever conjurings from someone who has too much time on their hands (rare in biblical times, the norm in our century), and an ending that I can't sign off on. Ending aside, most people of my generation should come to an Ecclesiastical conclusion on life.
For those unfamiliar, Ecclesiastes is a book of wisdom in the Hebrew bible. Traditionally attributed to Solomon, it follows a wise man's journey through observing mankind and their own lived pleasure/struggle dichotomy. This wise man discovers that man's work is never complete and frequently amounts to nothing but a striving after the wind. We must, he concludes, figure out how to enjoy the process of the work we do and subsequently always worship god (which god?).
The remembering your god bit is tacked onto the tail end of the book and is superfluous. Of course, it's a religious text and necessary for the genre. But for people in the physical world, negligible. I would reframe it as, "don't forget, you need a group of like-minded folks. But don't worry about it. Enjoy the process of whatever it is you find yourself doing at they will come." Boom. Done. Economy of words, am I right?
I'm circling around the idea of meaningful work. A concept I struggle with lately. I have one client declining to pay their bill and another project threatening to be blocked by some good ol' bureaucracy. The former replaces the joy of the process with the stress of being able to make rent. The latter challenging me to find meaning in the bureaucratic part of my job. Only the most masochistic CPA types of humanity could ever manage this long-term.
So here I sit. In an empty apartment, waiting for employees to make it to my project so I can have the motivation to get back into the process of making old wood look like beautiful old wood. There's a Dunkin on the block and a steak in the fridge, all I need to make it through the next six hours.