At the beginning of every year I read the same book. A book Herman Melville called the, “. . . truest of all books.” A book Thomas Wolfe said was, “the highest flower of poetry, eloquence, and truth. And the greatest single piece of writing I have ever known.”
This “truest of all books” — a sort of autobiography in prose and verse — is a contemporary piece of writing that was penned over two millennia ago. This “highest flower of poetry,” in essence, is a sustained rumination on pointlessness, or better, on contingency. Contingency, meaning randomness, chance, uncertainty: life’s uncertain, arbitrary and inscrutable nature — its only fixity, death — that most perplexing shadow.