Nothing New Under The Sun

I was watching a movie this evening and heard the phrase, “There is Nothing New Under the Sun”.

It is one of those things that has stayed with me, in my mind, the way certain memories sometimes do. I’m not sure why this particular bit of language has held so much meaning for me, nor why I have reserved this particular set of neurons and such to store it.

Perhaps it has something to do with artistic time squandered in the blind pursuit of something new.

A very fine pianist I once worked with used the phrase often when giving his opinion on learning to improvise music – a reminder not to get so caught up in trying to be original that you forget everything else. Don’t worry about it. There is nothing new under the sun.

A friend once told me that this phrase is from the Holy Bible – the Old Testament in fact. I’m not much for Bible verses (as I’ve already said…) but this excerpt struck me this evening, and so I share it with you.

Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.

What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?

One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.

The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.

The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.

All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.

All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 1:2-9

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