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.”