For centuries, man has struggled with his surroundings and environment in the pursuit of knowledge, from the first use of tools to the domination over fire. Knowledge and wisdom have become practical and prestigious traits in society. For instance, Native American chiefs were called "wise men,"" emphasizing the importance of wisdom and how it is needed in order for the tribe and the individual to survive. However, the first chapter of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Bible, states, "For in much wisdom is much grief, and increase of knowledge is increase of sorrow."" In short, with knowledge comes pain, a very valid statement.
While knowledge might be essential to human survival, it is absent in the younger generation, providing an obvious contrast to the wiser, more knowledgeable elder generation. Some arguments say how intelligence is a prerequisite to happiness and enjoyment of the world around a person. However, the blissful, carefree manner of children is in direct opposition to such an argument. Generally, children are unaware of the world beyond the sandbox, experiencing total bliss in their naivety of the true state of the world while their parents are supervising and apprehensively discussing the current state of violence in the Middle East. Furthermore, a large amount of children do not understand the concept of death, asking when a deceased grandparent might return while the mother is grieving for the loss of a loved one with the knowledge that the person shall not return.
Seeing as how so many modern literary works center around loss, the sadness brought by knowledge is repeatedly emphasized in books and movies and the like. For example, at the end of Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children, Mother Courage is last seen at her canteen wagon saying how she still has one child out of three alive when, in truth, they are all dead. In this instance, the sorrow brought on by truth of her son's death clearly supports the Bible's statement.