Everything is meaningless.”
What does that mean? It really confused me at first too. Until I dove deeper into the Word of God. Solomon is accredited to writing this book. And he was known to be the wisest man in all of history. But what does it mean to be wise? How does it differ from knowledge? Knowledge is within the mind. It is the accumulation of information. Wisdom however, is discernment. It is the ability to judge.
In the passage Solomon says both are meaningless and useless. These statements are made in the context that the knowledge and wisdom mankind seeks is apart from God. Even being the smartest person on earth is meaningless without God.
16 I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.