Vanity of Vanities

Over the years I’ve become less of a believer in God. That doesn’t mean I don’t still find a lot of inspiration in religious books. The Vanity of Vanities has always been one of my favorite pieces of writing.

Why? Because it contains some of the truest thoughts and words I’ve ever read. There is absolute wisdom in the following words. That wisdom applies to our world today more than ever.

Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
What does man gain by all the toil
at which he toils under the sun?
A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
and hastens to the place where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
and goes around to the north;
around and around goes the wind,
and on its circuits the wind returns.
All streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again.
All things are full of weariness;
a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
nor the ear filled with hearing.
What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been already
in the ages before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things,[c]
nor will there be any remembrance
of later things yet to be
among those who come after.

I’ve been writing for most of my life. I’ve written several books, hundreds of poems and songs, dozens of pieces of ambient music, the list goes on. But what does it really matter? Who am I to think my work is worthy of any kind of reward or acclaim?

I write almost daily. Who reads? I work hard to create music but who listens? Very few. What if I gained an audience of 10,000, 100,000, or even millions? Would it matter in the long run?

Even if one becomes famous, most authors and artists are forgotten within a generation or two. If you’re not forgotten, will you ever see the fruits of your labor when you’re dead?

The only reason I continue to create is out of love for the process. Creativity is reward in itself. Still, many days it feels like I’m just spinning my wheels, never satisfied with the result of my toil. It’s my guess that I’m not the only one. – dse

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Author: Dan Steven Erickson

Dan Steven Erickson is a great undiscovered American songwriter.