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Gilgamesh and the Inevitable Time has been very kind to the Epic of Gilgamesh Four thousand years after its inscription upon clay tablets the story still has the power to move us to help us contemplate what it means to be human Its perspective of death is both humbling and powerful For death is without an era It is without a period It is without a kingdom It is without time All that are given life must inevitably die And yet it is the very fact that we are mortal that our time is limited that makes our lives meaningful A1 The Epic of Gilgamesh teaches us that man is defined by his mortality It teaches us that without death life is meaningless Only when man faces death and accepts the reality that he will ultimately die can he find humility and gain an understanding of what it means to be human A2 What it means to be human cannot be described with the conventions of language it is too infinite in scope and too complex to be understood by the human mind Lao-tzu stated that the five colors will blind a minds sight Alan Watts explained that Lao-tzus intention was to demonstrate that the eyes sensitivity to color is impaired by the fixed idea that there are just five true colors There is an infinite continuity of shading and breaking it down into divisions with names detracts the attention from its subtlety 27 Similarly life is composed of many experiences but ultimately it has a beginning and an ending The experiences in between these two points detract from the reality that eventually everthing must die All the occurrences throughout our lives center around the fact that we will die Thus man is described by mortality because our experiences are limited If man were eternal he would not be able to love For it is in the absence of
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