Aug 27, 2012
Michael R. Drew
We’re talking about some of the iconic persons who’ve had an impact on civilization, and some of the events that capture the spirit of the zeniths of a “We” cycle over the past 3,000 years. Our first two: Solomon and Homer.
937 B.C. Solomon, near the end of his life, learns the wisdom of serving others and tells his story in the Bible’s Book of Ecclesiastes, written eight years before this zenith of the “We.” (Bible scholar Mark A. Copeland indicates that Solomon likely wrote Ecclesiastes around 945 B.C. when he was 66 years old) Born in 1011 BC, 6 years after a Zenith on the downswing of a “We,” Solomon’s bar mitzvah happened just before the tipping point into the upswing of a “Me.” He was 34 years old at the “Me” zenith (977 B.C.) and 54 at the end of the “Me” when it reached the tipping point that took him into a new “We” that would His reach its zenith in 937 B.C.
Ecclesiastes is a very interesting book. Solomon speaks in Ecclesiastes about his self-indulgence as a young man at the zenith of a “Me.”
“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil.”
He then explains what he learned in the downswing of the “Me”:
“Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”
— Solomon, Ecclesiastes, 2:11
In Ecclesiastes you’ll experience the reflections of an old man who had lived through a “Me” and found it to be hollow.
Ending his days in a “We,” Solomon finally seemed to find the answers he sought: “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.”
Solomon died in 931 B.C. at the age of 80, six years after the zenith of a “We,” with society’s pendulum in precisely the same position it had been in when he was born. We’ll take a second look at his life at the “Me” zenith in another series of postings.
857 B.C. Homer completes The Iliad and The Odyssey just seven years after this “We” zenith (850 B.C.) The oldest extant works of Western literature, these are considered fundamental to the modern Western canon and have been influential in shaping Western culture. Stories are written for unnamed and unseen others, not for oneself. Consequently, the creation of literature is one of the purest expressions of “We.”
Little is known about Homer and, indeed, he is likely a representation of a series of poets who passed down the oral stories, formulating the verses into the poems that would become those two landmark epics. Homer probably refers more to the period when these poems were passed down, rather than a single poet. But they represent a colossal “we” effort.
Where are you in your thinking at this point? Are you feeling you’ve indulged in a “me” cycle and are embracing a more outward-leaning “we” one?
Thanks for sharing!