Monday, July 26, 2010

Something to think about

From China, France, and Israel

When things fully flourish they begin to decline.
At midday the sun begins to set.
When the moon is done waxing it starts to wane.
When happiness ends, sadness begins.

-- Lao Tzu --


The world is but a perpetual see-saw. Everything goes incessantly up and down--the earth, the rocks of the Caucasus, the pyramids of Egypt--both with the universal motion and with their own. Constancy itself is nothing but a more sluggish movement.

-- Michel de Montaigne --


All our efforts are temporary. They borrow from preexisting forces, ride the current of natural events, and disappear according to the dictates of the situation. It is best to realize the transitory nature of things and work with it. Understanding world's ephemeral nature can be the biggest advantage of all.

-- Deng Ming-Dao --


Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities;
all is vanity.

What profit hath a man of all his labour
which he taketh under the sun?

One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh:
but the earth abideth forever.

The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down,
and hasteth to his place where he arose.

The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north;
it whirleth about continually,
and the wind returneth again accord to his circuits.

All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full;
unto the place from whence the rivers come,
thither they return again.

-- Ecclesiastes --

Do you find this attitude depressing?


  1. Fred, Ecclesiastes is never depressing. There is wisdom there that too many of us too frequently forget. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Dear Fred,

    Complementary to Lao Tzu--"when sadness ends, happiness begins." There is no decline if you choose not to view it as decline. When the sun is up it is hot, humid, and potentially horrid--when it sets (at least here in Florida) the sea-breeze comes and cools.

    I think we do well to remember everything is in flux--even flux itself. And so I give you this germane quotation from Dante, which I once used to describe Chaos Theory, but which Dante applies to Dame Fortune:

    "Her changes change her changes constantly. . ."



  3. R. T.,

    Agreed. It's a favorite of mine.

    By the way, there's an SF short story titled "A Rose for Ecclesiastes." It's written by Roger Zelazny. He also sees the wisdom in Ecclesiastes.

  4. Steven,

    And Lao Tzu would agree with you, I'm sure. I suspect he does somewhere in the Tao Te Ching.

    As befitting all universal assertions of wisdom, it has its contrary--how does that go--The more things change, the more they stay the same, or something like that.

  5. Fred,

    I guess I'm the only one that found Ecclesiastes depressing. The others were fine and spoke of future change. I found Ecclesiastes fatal.


  6. Ted,

    I don't know if you still read SF, but if you do, I would recommend reading a short work by Roger Zelazny, titled "A Rose for Ecclesiastes."

    It's a favorite short story of mine; one of the reasons is that it uses "A Rose . . " in a very unusual way.

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  8. joven,

    Thanks for the kind words. They are appreciated.