History

There is nothing new under the sun

by Derrel Emmerson

“9 What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.

10 Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.” Ecclesiastes 1:3-4

It has been learned in advertising that if you attach the word “new” any product that it will sell better. Advertisers are incomparable psychologists regarding what appeals to the human psyche. They know that the human being is easily bored and gets power from “being in the know.” Therefore, the word “new” has great appeal and the fact is that it has always had that appeal.

The writer of Ecclesiastes was an observer of human nature. If that writer was Solomon as believed, he wrote sometime between 930 and 971 B.C. That was a long time ago.

We will do well not to fall for the ruse of “newness.” In fact, we will be better off if we are more discerning and look for what is tried and true. Even Jim Jones, the evil cult leader, repeated George Santayana’s statement that “those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.” In fact, he posted it over the gate to the entrance to Jonesville where the same leader led his followers to commit suicide by drinking poison in their Kool Aid. The irony of that quote over the gate is that Jones, another of history’s Pied Piper dictators, led his followers on a journey to ignore the lessons of history.

We will be among the wise to realize that all experiments of consequence on how to live have been done. Now is time to make choices and follow those who show by their lives what is good. I commend you to Jesus.

“Out of every hundred new ideas ninety-nine or more will probably be inferior to the traditional responses which they propose to replace. No one man, however brilliant or well-informed, can come in one lifetime to such fullness of understanding as to safely judge and dismiss the customs or institutions of his society, for these are the wisdom of generations after centuries of experiment in the laboratory of history.” The Lessons of History, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968, p. 35, Will and Ariel Durant.

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