7 Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun.
8 There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.
This passage describes one who is alone, probably by choice. He spends all his time working, toiling, endlessly. Yet, no matter how much he gains from his work, it is not enough to satisfy the emptiness inside him. He has no one with whom to share all that he gains in material terms. He is alone; perhaps holds great wealth, and he never stops to ask why.
I am reminded of George Elliot’s story about Silas Marner, a man who is alone and spends all his time working and counting his money. He has nothing else to live for. If memory serves, his work was also done in his house, all alone. Work, gain money, hoard it and count it. Yet when he died, as we all must, there was no value in all that work. He couldn’t take his money with him. He went to the grave the same way he lived—alone. As we all must.