Monotony and Futility or Stability
LONG ago, King Solomon, a great observer of nature, and endowed with unusual wisdom from God, wrote:
“The sun . . . has flashed forth, and the sun has set, and it is coming panting to its place where it is going to flash forth. The wind is going to the south, and it is circling around to the north. Round and round it is continually circling, and right back to its circlings the wind is returning. All the winter torrents are going forth to the sea, yet the sea itself is not full. To the place where the winter torrents are going forth, there they are returning so as to go forth. All things are wearisome; no one is able to speak of it. The eye is not satisfied at seeing, neither is the ear filled from hearing.”—Eccl. 1:5-8.
The eye and ear being constantly confronted with this restless procession of repetitious events, and the life-span of imperfect man being so short, the appearance may be that all is monotony and ends up in vanity. But as Solomon went on to show, the real cause of frustration is the situation man has made for himself, seeking out many things that he really does not need. Solomon proved it to himself by experience, amassing wealth, houses, gardens, servants, even singers to entertain him. But as he discovered, this was “a striving after wind.”—Eccl. 2:3-23.
An illustration of this in modern times can be seen in man’s getting away from a natural life in this industrial age, and developing an artificial technological society that has in many cases created a life of drudgery and monotony. How so?
While a life of sheer poverty is obviously undesirable and brings drudgery, the prosperity of the industrial age has not been without its own drudgery. Mass production has tied many persons to jobs in which they repeat one small operation hundreds of times daily, with nothing to advance the worker mentally or spiritually. And in the business world the unrelenting pressure to excel in profit making creates a treadmill that wears men out.
The futility of this kind of life, with all its routine sameness, brevity and emptiness, is causing many persons to ask, Is this all there is to life? Is this what God has provided for mankind? No, and a consideration of the cycles that God has set in natural things, described by Solomon, shows this. In reality, they provide stability and security, not monotony.
REPETITIVE CYCLES A BLESSING
There are certain factors of sameness that are essential for balanced human life. Consider some of the cycles of God’s creation—sun, wind, water, seasons, and so forth. What if we could not count on the sun’s rising at a certain time in the morning? or if we could not be sure what season was to come next? There could be no planning, no real work accomplished. All would be confusion. In reality, it would not be long before we would begin to lose sanity.
There are certain things also that God has made inherent in man’s nature—certain repetitions, without which neither man’s mind nor his body will function properly. A few of these are: regular eating, bathing, dressing, going to bed and rising, having a regular amount of work to perform each day. Some may seem to be chores at the time, but one would soon be sick if their regularity should be seriously broken up.
Furthermore, the regularity of things that God has placed upon man tends to cause him to desire an established place to dwell, a home. There are things that constantly need attention around the home that center his interests there. This works toward stability in home or family life, adding a feeling of security.
There is another aspect in which the repetition of natural things is seen to be a blessing, in fact, a necessity. The earth is actually a giant spaceship. In its cycles of wind, water and seasons, it has its own magnificent purification system by which it can keep a supply of pure air, water and food for its inhabitants.
Consider earth’s water cycle. Only about 3 percent of earth’s water is fresh water, 2 percent being locked in ice caps, and only about 1 percent existing in the lakes, rivers and underground, and as vapor in the air. The oceans are salty, but water evaporated from them by the sun is sweet, for the salt stays behind. The sun, in its daily path over the oceans, pulls up this water at the rate of nearly 15,000,000 tons a second. The ‘ever-circling’ wind currents carry it over the land, where it condenses and falls as rain. The water thus precipitated to earth flows back into the oceans. On this cycle man is dependent for water supplies, for growth of plants for food and for weather conditions suitable for living.—Ps. 147:18; Prov. 25:23.
JEHOVAH THE SOURCE OF STABILITY
Additionally, if man is to continue living he must regularly draw on a stable source of spiritual and physical energy. God is that unchangeable Source. He calls attention to the visible heavenly bodies and says: “Raise your eyes high up and see. Who has created these things? It is the One who is bringing forth the army of them even by number, all of whom he calls even by name. Due to the abundance of dynamic energy, he also being vigorous in power, not one of them is missing. . . . Jehovah, the Creator of the extremities of the earth, is a God to time indefinite. He does not tire out or grow weary. . . . He is giving to the tired one power; and to the one without dynamic energy he makes full might abound. . . . those who are hoping in Jehovah will regain power.”—Isa. 40:26-31.
All this reveals that there is a God who loves man and has an interest in him. He is the Center of the universe, the Provider of stability and security. He purposes to provide through his Son “a kingdom that cannot be shaken” to bless mankind. Jesus pointed to the work that does not end in frustration: “Work, not for the food that perishes, but for the food that remains for life everlasting, which the Son of man will give you.”—Heb. 12:28; John 6:27.
Consequently, for stability and security free of monotony and futility, the best thing that one can do is to abandon the race to get ahead in this system of things and enter into God’s service of declaring the good news of the Messianic kingdom. For “the scene of this world is changing.” Simplify your life, do your work within the normal cycles God has arranged, enjoy your work and wait upon God to bring permanency for you in a system free from the artificiality and futility of this present order of things.—1 Cor. 7:31.
It was with divine wisdom, therefore, that King Solomon concluded: “With a man there is nothing better than that he should eat and indeed drink and cause his soul to see good because of his hard work. . . . For to the man that is good before him he has given wisdom and knowledge and rejoicing, but to the sinner he has given the occupation of gathering and bringing together merely to give to the one that is good before the true God.” With this the words of Jesus Christ agree: “Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. . . . For my yoke is kindly and my load is light.”—Eccl. 2:24-26; Matt. 11:28-30.