He that increases his knowledge, increases his sorrow

– Ecclesiastes

Having read and learned, studied and thought for many years, the learned man found his sorrow had increased in proportion to his knowledge, and the more he learned, the more recondite happiness became, while all around him, those content to live in unlearned ignorance, died in animal bliss, engaged in brutish acquisitive striving until the end, knowing, perhaps, a fleeting satisfaction of the body, but never knowing satisfaction of the mind.

In his uncontested sorrow the learned man, comprehending humanity’s insoluble plight, brooded over the wry and pessimistic thought of Sophocles, that the most blessed man is he who has never been born. This he mused was a blessing with the ring of blasphemy, but free from the constraints of superstition and the ponderous weight religion, the darkness of his meditation opened his eyes, and his erudition fed a poetic spark. Thus in that small light, he resolved that sorrow is a sapling pushing through the soil, and happiness is the last leaf falling from a tree in autumn.

He closed his eyes and let night come. It was a happiness he did not yet desire. He entered the dark, definitions fading, reduced to flesh and bones, wholly committed to answering one final question before death: why life?


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