When I’m down, I always turn to Ecclesiastes. Without fail, the wisdom of Qoheleth becomes what in the 90s people called Chicken Soup for the Soul. But, unlike such self-help books, Ecclesiastes doesn’t talk up existence or tell me to buck up; no, it lays out the ways of the world before my eyes. It says: “this is how it is, and it ain’t great, but it’s what we’ve got. Disaffection is part of what it means to live, and, once you clear all the chaff away, sit down, eat your bread, and give thanks to God.” It practically starts with an upfront dismissal of all that we might think worth our time:
What profit have we from all the toil
which we toil at under the sun?
One generation departs and another generation comes,but the world forever stays.