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Gilgamesh and the concerns of humanity, alone

I was reading a bit of the old Sumerian poem the Epic of Gilgamesh and was struck by the following passage. Being one of the earliest pieces of written literature, dating from around 2000 B.C., it is amazingly pertinent to modern life, much in the same way Siddhartha resonates in all its ephemeral, fluid glory. In a world of motion, mobility, and the pursuit of longevity and legacy, it is the human encounters of shared pathos and empathy that are valued. It is the release from human cycles that predates Buddhism. Either way, a fantastic passage. 

Reflecting on the death of his friend, Gilgamesh decides to search for the key to eternal life, an ultimately futile quest. “Gilgamesh, what you seek you will never find. For when the Gods created Man they let death be his lot, eternal life they withheld. Let your every day be full of joy, love the child that holds your hand, let your wife delight in your embrace, for these alone are the concerns of humanity.”

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About Author

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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