Many people who reference the title statement of this post may not realize that it is actually an almost-perfect quote from the Scriptures. Nearly 3,000 years old, this statement appears in the book of Ecclesiastes, and was written by King Solomon of Israel, around 977 B.C. It is taken from Ecclesiastes 1:9. The context surrounding this verse runs as follows:
The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after [emphasis mine].” — Ecclesiastes 1:9-11
In our modern day, technology and a decaying education system have meshed to create a generation with no attention span, and increasingly, no memory. Even in this author’s lifetime, the attitude toward feats of memory–and what defines such feats–has changed radically. People quoting extensive passages of Shakespeare or other writers to illustrate a point was once commonplace; today, people regard someone possessed of such knowledge with something bordering on awestruck disbelief. Increasingly, too, people scoff at the idea that someone who wrote hundreds of years ago could have anything to say that is “relevant” to the world today, and the situations in which we now find ourselves.
However, this Scripture passage flies in the face of the belief that all truth is relative, and that there are no overarching–universal–truths and principles that apply to every man in every age.
Today, as I was browsing some articles relating to current events in America, I chanced upon an author’s personal website, which had a “quote for the day” displayed in a side-bar much like the one that appears to the right of this post. The quote ran as follows:
The oligarch and the tyrant both distrust the people, and thus deprive them of their arms.
(Interested in seeing this page for yourself? Go here to see the quote, and let me recommend reading the articles Paul Jacob has written on this subject–after you finish reading my article.) 😉
Since I’ve now ignited your curiosity to go and see what Paul Jacob is writing about, I’ll carry on for another forty-two paragraphs.
Just kidding! I’m nearly finished.
I’ve written for weeks now about the importance of pausing to think about things we see, hear and read; now, I’d like to ask you to begin to apply those principles to the information above, as well as to the conclusions Mr. Jacob reaches in his columns listed on his website. What are some of the thoughts these things prompt in your mind? Is there any correlation between the principle in Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 and the quote from Aristotle? If so, what application might these quotes have to current events?
Here’s your chance to contribute to this blog!