What will be, will be. Clearly. As sure as eggs are eggs, and all that…
I find myself in Ecclesiastes. While there, I find myself nodding in agreement. The writer of Ecclesiastes is pessimistic in tone, but I like his style.
As he nears the end of his book, he passes on some truth and common sense, and I am in the mood to think about what he says.
“Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again. Give portions to sevem yes to eight, for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.”
I think this is about money and resources, and is advising the listener not to hold on to possessions as if they hold intrinsic value. What goes around, comes around – and there is no way to be prepared for everything. Living in the moment with an eye on the future.
I really like the next bit. It is all so tautological.
“If the clouds are full of water, they pour rain upon the earth.
Whether a tree falls to the south or the north,
In the place where it falls, there will it lie”
These lines manage to convey a great truth about cause and effect. Sometimes things happen and people look for a “reason”. Here, the writer answers the question – why is it raining? With the answer: the clouds were full of water; and he answers the question – why is that tree lying there? With the answer: that’s where it landed.
Rather than having some kind of existential crisis about the eternal “Why?”, I like to look at the precedents.
“Whoever watches the wind will not plant;
Whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.”
Again, more truth. And advice, that the only way to get things done is to start doing them. And the only way to be productive is to prepare and work in order to produce things. Good to know they had procrastinators, idealists and day-dreamers thousands of years ago too.
“As you do not know the path of the wind,
or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb,
So you cannot understand the work of God
The Maker of all things”
Even with our basic knowledge of cause and effect, there are mysteries that we do not know. There are factors in play that we cannot understand as we work to produce, or stand around looking at clouds, vacantly planning.
This section concludes:
“Sow your seed in the morning
and at evening let not your hands be idle
For you do not know which will succeed,
Whether this or that
or whether both will do equally well.”
Echoes of “the woman of noble character” here. Busyness in business is recommended by this writer, but with the knowledge that the results are never guaranteed. I think the writer is advising diversification and keeping the eggs of your labours in a variety of different baskets.
Why do I like this passage?
I think it rings true. Life is as life is. The cookie crumbles the way the cookie crumbles. But no matter what, there is no point looking vacantly into middle distance. Planning has to give way to productivity at some point, but there are many factors that cannot be accuratley factored in.
Life can turn out to be predictable or surprising, but afterwards, according to this writer, you should be able to see why.