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In the Bible, the Book of Ecclesiastes has some of the most profound lessons on true human nature to be found. The primary speaker in the book is named Qoheleth, translated as "teacher" or "preacher," and reflects the purpose of the book as a whole. The stories are largely autobiographical, but all have a common thread running throughout: they teach the reader how to live life in the best way, providing reflections on the meaning of life and how one can live it to the fullest.
There are a number of common themes discussed in this book, including the notion that all of man's activities are rooted in behaviors that are largely selfish.
- The teacher proclaims that everything man does is vain, futile, empty, meaningless, and fleeting when compared with what he must do to earn God's favor.
- He teaches readers that they should enjoy the basic pleasures of daily life, from something as simple as eating and drinking to the notion that one should take enjoyment and pride in one's work. These, he argues, are all gifts from God, and should be seen as sources of joy and happiness.
- The underlying goal of all men, the teacher states, is to fulfill God's commandments, living life in the way that He would want according to his teachings. This, the teacher contends, will allow one to live a life that is meaningful and purposeful at the spiritual level, the only kind of life that matters.
The lessons in this book can be applied to any person at any point in our history. Though it was written centuries in the past, the lessons carry throughout all of time, as it conveys basic human truths and teachings for how one should live a noble and worthwhile life.