Philosophy Life and Death Gilgamesh, in the Epic of Gilgamesh, is on a journey to find the cure for death after becoming distressed with the feeling that he too would someday die. After an unsuccessful search, he finally meets Utnapishtim, who gives him the right cure for death, a spiky plant (McCaughrean & Parkins 15). However, on his way back home, an old snake eats the spiky plant and becomes young. He thus loses his chance of becoming immortal. From Gilgamesh, there are two world views that emerge from people and beings.
First, as much as all human beings desire to live forever, the fact is that everyone will get old and die. However, when people can be given chances to become immortal, then they will immediately accept the chances to live forever, but the fact is that nobody can resist death. Secondly, nobody easily accepts death, and people usually do what they can, to survive difficult situations. This is the reason as to why many people readily pay for expensive medical covers, to safeguard their lives, and even drink chemical concoctions to conquer death.
Gilgamesh finally concludes that death is unavoidable, and he too will someday die (McCaughrean G, Parkins 87). As a young man, Montaigne had an excessive fear for death, and this almost made enjoying life difficult for him. As a philosopher, he spent most of his time teaching people on how to encounter the fear of death. He based his teachings on the ideas presented, by some early philosophers, which stated the best way to treat your own mortality is to think about it constantly (Montaigne 243).
Additionally, this theory further stated “dwell on your death every day, and you will become so used to it as an idea that cannot scare you when it arrives in reality” (Montaigne 243). Montaigne argues that death holds little to worry about; therefore, we should not bother our heads about it. According to his theory, the acceptance of death is something more than just a therapeutic tool (Montaigne 251). Therefore, when people expect too much out of themselves and try to control every aspect of their experiences, they will actually undermine that control.
This also applies to death too; when we expect it, then we will not bother us. Lao-tzu’s “Tao Te Ching”, is an extremely difficult piece to interpret and understand due to the repletion used, and use of highly difficult-to-interpret symbolism. According to my understanding “tao” apparently means road or way. In other words, it is a way of doing things. Similarly, “tao” has some etymologic relationships with the moon. This further indicates how this “way or road”, is beyond people’s understanding and description. For example, according to Stephen Mitchell’s translation of this piece, it is written, “The tao that can be told is not the eternal tao” (Lao-tzu 1), meaning “tao” is not Buddha, but is something that cannot be changed liked kindness and justice.
Additionally, “tao” is not a spiritual being; however, when it enters the myriad state of being, it remains in a non-being state. I guess Lao-tzu is describing some life’s unavoidable experiences such as death. It is something that every human being will face; therefore, everybody must be psychologically prepared to meet its wrath.
The first noble of truth is “life means suffering” (McDougall 7). This is because human being, including the world we live in, is not perfect. Additionally, people usually suffer from sickness, pain, old age, injury, and eventually, death, during their life time (McDougall 7). Moreover, people have to endure psychological suffering such as frustration, depression, sadness, fear, and disappointments. The second noble of truth is “the origin of suffering is attachment” (McDougall 7). According to this noble truth, suffering originates from attachment to ignorance and transient things.
Transient things include physical objects and all objects of an individual’s perception. Ignorance, on the other hand, is the lack of understanding of how the mind is attached to impermanent objects (McDougall 7). The third noble truth is “The cessation of suffering is attainable” (McDougall 8). This noble truth asserts that suffering can be adjourned by attaining dispassion, in other words, by removing the cause of suffering. The last noble truth is “the path to the cessation of suffering” (McDougall 8). This path is a gradual path of self-improvement. It falls in between extremes of excessive self-mortification (asceticism) and excessive self-indulgence (hedonism) (McDougall 8).
This path is believed to extend an individual’s lifetimes. Shankara suggested that the Veda is the eternal truth, and in relation to this, posed a question of what is the nature of Brahman and the self (atman) (George 353). He argues that there is a remarkable distinction between the world in, which we live, and our innermost self. This is because the world is multiple, and it provides us with multiple opportunities and real experiences (George 353).
Therefore, a person’s nature of life can fuel the process of reincarnation since liberation is possible, and it can be achieved through undertaking certain meditative activities (George 353). Works Cited George V. A. Paths to The Divine: Ancient and Indian. New York: CRVP, 2008. Print Lao-tzu. "Tao Te Ching. " From a translation by S. Mitchell (1995): 1. Print McCaughrean G, Parkins D. The Epic of Gilgamesh. New York: Alban Books Limited, 2003. Print McDougall G. The Four Noble Truths, Volume 1: Volume 1: the Foundation of Buddhist Thought. London: Wisdom Publications, 2005.
Print Montaigne M. A Handbook To The Essays Of Michel de Montaigne. Kila: Kessinger Publishing, 2005. Print
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