The yetzer hara deludes people into thinking that life is for pleasure. The feeling of looking back upon one’s life and realizing that it was all in futility is the despair expressed by Shlomo HaMelech in Koheles, “Nothingness of nothingness — all is nothingness.”
A man came across a peasant who was wielding a scythe, cutting a field of grain.
“How much are you paid for doing this?” he asked.
The peasant answered, “Sixty kopeks an hour and a shot of vodka.”
The man said, “Come work for me. I’ll pay you 120 kopeks an hour and two shots of vodka.”
The peasant readily agreed.
The man took the peasant to a vacant field. “I want you to make the motions with the scythe as though you were cutting down grain.”
The peasant happily agreed, but on the second day, he quit the job.
“But I was paying you twice as much,” the man said.
The peasant said, “Yes, but I was not accomplishing any- thing.”
Addiction may make us feel rewarded with “pleasure,” but it accomplishes nothing — and it even removes us from accom- plishing our goals.
How can we tolerate the “work” we put into maintaining the addiction while accomplishing absolutely nothing?!