Our Greatest Fear

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Our Greatest Fear The Epic of Gilgamesh, Homers Iliad and Odyssey show how humans react to death. All people at some time will think about death. The thoughts about death will instill fear within us, and that fear will bring about any response we can muster in order to somehow defeat death. In fear of death humans will do anything within their power to prolong whatever remaining life they have. At some point in life humans will realize the reality of death, and they will want to find a way to escape it. In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Enkidu dies leaving Gilgamesh shaken and scared. Gilgamesh says, "For Enkidu, I loved him dearly, together we endured all kinds of hardship on his account, for the common lot of man has taken him" (p98). He fears that he will have the same fate as Enkidu and die. He decides to embark on a journey to find Utnapishtim, who survived a terrible flood and is the only mortal to gain immortality. Gilgamesh searches for Utnapishtim so he too can have the secret to immortality. When humans see that someone as or more powerful than themselves defeated they go into a panic mode as Gilgamesh did. The panic is caused by the thought that if someone more powerful than me was defeated, then what hope do I have. Death instills this fear driven panic in people because it is uncontrollable and takes all mortals, powerful or not. Humans fear things that they cannot control because it makes us feel powerless. The powerlessness forces us to react in the only other way we know which is to try and escape it. This is why we spend so much of our time and resources trying to find ways to prolong life. We do it so that we may find a secret to live longer or even gain immortality, the only true escape from death. If not trying to obtain eternal life, humans will go to any lengths necessary to give themselves even just a little more time to live. In the Homers
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