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Part I

The old man draws on his pipe and retrohales. “I've seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless… a chasing after the wind. I've dined with diplomats and degenerates. I've feasted and I've fasted. I've planted vineyards, I've built houses. I've been drunk, and I've been sober. A sinner... a saint. I've enjoyed wives, and mistresses. I've had friends and servants, maids and hirelings. I've been known by those I never knew, and the envy of my peers. But now... now I live alone. I've known wisdom, and I've enjoyed foolishness. I've been with, and I've gone without. All of it... utterly meaningless. So I asked myself, 'Can a man straighten what's crooked? Can he count what is not? Is there any meaning to be found in an otherwise meaningless life?' We're born, we live, we die, and then we join the forgotten. Utterly pointless. We're thrust into this world (col, afraid, and utterly alone) and we're gifted with the burdens of mortality and time. The question then becomes: where is the meaning in an otherwise meaningless existence? So I embraced the vanity. I traded light for darkness, wisdom for folly, spirituality for nihilism. And what did I gain in return? Vanity in exchange for vanity."

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