A Brief Introduction
When I was a young man, I began searching for the meaning of life–because that’s what young men do. I abandoned my former atheism and started reading the words of Jesus. But uncertainty and pride caused me to stop mid-leap-of-faith and review the options: “How (or for whom) should I live?” I asked myself (the one person who clearly did not have the answer).
So I went to Europe–because that’s what young men do–scribbling my thoughts into bits of broken verse as I travelled.
I eventually returned home with a satchel of thoughts. Seeking a way to organize them, I turned to the Book of Ecclesiastes, the journal of Quoheleth, the wise man. Like him, I had searched for a way–or rather a reason–to live. Like him, I had tried various “isms” along the way: Materialism, Sensualism, Idealism. And like him, I had experienced the emptiness (“vanity”) of each. In the end, he and I arrived at the same cistern, each realizing we knew nothing.
Which is the beginning of knowing something.
Then I read Psalm 14:1, “The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no God,'” and I knew I’d found my role in this parallel odyssey.
The words of the wise man,
the son of David,
the king in Jerusalem.
The words of the fool;
the sun had set,
the time had come.
Prologos: Ash Wednesday
vanity of vanities,” said the wise man;
“all is vanity and chasing after wind.
And one generation passes away,
and another one comes in its stead;
the earth abideth forever, they say,
but you never can quite get ahead.
And all of the rivers run into the sea,
yet the sea is never quite full.
Then unto the place from whence they came
the rivers flow again.
And that which has been is that which shall be,
and that which is done is that which shall be done,
and nothing there is–that is, nothing that’s new–
there’s nothing new under the sun.
Well this is hell, said the fool.
You know for the life of me, I couldn’t tell
if I was that proverbial puppy chasing his tail,
or a mischievous kitten after that ever-unraveling ball of yarn.
I mean either one was the same to me,
perceivable only as a wisp of something or other.
But here’s the reason why I had to know:
If only the tip of mine own tenacious tail,
then the end was bound to be disappointing. O!
But if the tip of a bit of a ball of yarn,
then even though itself unraveled to nothingness,
itself–in time, I thought–
might lead me back to where it all began,
and to the one who raveled it up.
To read Fool’s Odyssey 2, click here.