An anthology of paraphrased texts and memorable images.

Ours are no doubt paradoxical times.

Today we have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time.

We have more degrees, but less common sense; more knowledge, but less judgment.

We have more experts, but also more problems.

We say more, but understand less; plan more, but accomplish less.

We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait; we have higher incomes, but lower morals.

We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies, but have less communication. We are long on quantity, but short on quality.

We have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.

We’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, but love too litte.

We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; tall men and short character; steep profits and shallow relationships.

More leisure and less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition; fancier houses, but broken ones.

We spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get to angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, and smile too seldom.

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to make a new friend.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life.

We’ve added years to life, not life to years.

We’ve conquered outer space, but not inner space.

Life can be about enjoyment, not only about survival.

Every day, every hour, every minute... is special. Yet, you don’t know if the coming one will be your last.

The way we perceive things has an effect on our understanding. Nevertheless, visual perception cannot always be trusted.

Definition of Paradox. A paradox is a statement that contradicts itself. For example, the statement "I never tell the truth" is a paradox because if the statement is true, it must be false, and if it is false, it must be true. In everyday language, a paradox is a concept that seems absurd or contradictory, yet is true.

Proverbial paradox. The Book of Ecclesiastes is an example of proverbial literature and its statements should thus not be taken as absolutes. The nature of Ecclesiastes is paradoxical. It may be a dialogue of a man debating with himself, "torn between what he cannot help seeing and what he still cannot help believing" (Kidner, Wisdom of Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes, 91), or a challenge to the man of the world to reconsider his own position, encouraging him to seeking something less futile. At any rate, the book of Ecclesiastes relates to other Ancient Near East texts with similar content and methodology (eg., A Dialogue About Human Misery and Pessimistic Dialogue Between Master and Servant; The Man Who Was Tired of Life; the book of Job). In such texts, problems are discussed and resolved via dialogue. The formulations of Ecclesiastes are meant to provoke thought:

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

This rethorical verse affirms the ephemeral character of humankind, against the background of the ever-standing earth. Or, likewise, the permanence of the earth is merely the foil against which the restless coming and going of human beings is outlined. The theme is monotonous repetition, and thus analogue to aimless and futile human existence.

Paradoxically, parts of the text seem to suggest that there is no value in life, yet parts of it very strongly suggest the opposite.

The resolution for Ecclesiastes' paradox is found in the very last verses and the answer to whether happiness is better than sorrow is, proverbially, that each is better than the other at various times and by various situations, because life is complex, not simple.

There is nothing more whole than a broken heart. —Mendel of Kotzk

Platypus, Vanitas vanitatum, The Eye's Mind, Crazy Optical Illusions

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