Vanity of vanities

The above illustration, an optical illusion, was created by American artist and illustrator, Charles Allan Gilbert in 1892. He created this piece when only 18 years old. The drawing depicts what appears to be a large grinning skull. Upon closer examination, it reveals a young woman gazing at her reflection in the mirror. Mr. Gilbert sold the work in 1902 to Life Publishing Co.

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

— Ecclesiastes 1: 2 (KJV)

The King James rendition of the Holy Bible preserves a peculiar Hebrew method of forming superlatives. “Vanity of vanities” is a a memorable example meaning “vain beyond belief”. Other examples include “king of kings”, which means “supreme king”, and “song of songs”, meaning song above all songs.

Vanity is the excessive belief in one’s own abilities or attractiveness to others. It is considered a form of self-idolatry, where one rejects God for the sake of his own image and self gratification.

Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary offers this definition:

VAN’ITY, n. [L. vanitas, from vanus, vain.]

1. Emptiness; want of substance to satisfy desire; uncertainty; inanity.
Vanity of vanities, said the preacher; all is vanity. Eccles. 1.
2. Fruitless desire or endeavor.
Vanity possesseth many who are desirous to know the certainty of things to come.
3. Trifling labor that produces no good.
4. Emptiness; untruth
Here I may well show the vanity of what is reported in the story of Walsingham.
5. Empty pleasure; vain pursuit; idle show; unsubstantial enjoyment.
Sin with vanity had fill’d the works of men.
Think not when woman’s transient breath is fled, that all her vanities at once are dead; succeeding vanities she still regards.
6. Ostentation; arrogance.
7. Inflation of mind upon slight grounds; empty pride, inspired by an overweening conceit of one’s personal attainments or decorations. Fops cannot be cured of their vanity.
Vanity is the food of fools.
No man sympathizes with the sorrows of vanity.

~ * ~

“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain.

Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves; vanity, to what we would have others think of us.”
Jane Austen

~ * ~

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Proverbs 31:30

~ * ~

“Vanity is so secure in the heart of man that everyone wants to be admired: even I who write this, and you who read this.”
Blase Pascal

~ * ~

“It is very often nothing but our own

vanity that deceives us.”

Jane Austen




Take a gander at this blog – Beauty is Fleeting


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