Name: Quoc Tran English 2403: World Literature Section: L2 Professor: George Schroepfer Living an Authentic life Sangamithra Gangarapu, a software engineer, once said: “add life to your days, not days to your life;” This short but meaningful message caught my attention when I was browsing through facebook sometime last week. I’m sure the question that comes to mind when any of us when we see this quote is: have I live the life I was meant to live, or what does it mean to live an authentic life?
Let us examine this question through the journeys of Noah, Gilgamesh, and Ivan. In my opinion, to live an authentic life is to have an ability to connect and believe deeply in your true spirit within that eventually those thoughts are becoming actions from that place. It is a sense of understanding yourself and doing what you’re understand about yourself in the daily basis like a consistent behaviors. Throughout reading the epic of Gilgamesh, ones might wonder what is the moral and lessons that is learned upon the story.
In regarding to authenticity, I personally think the moral of the story is to appreciate the meaning of life, and to live your destiny; ones must prepare himself a journey of experiences of wisdom, appreciation of others to leave as legacy. In the beginning of the text, king Gilgamesh was described as a cruel, selfish ruler of Uruk. Instead of being the protector and guardian for his citizens and the city of Uruk, he used his power, strength to suppress his people.
King Gilgamesh was depicted in such a negative term that the readers, when mentioned the name Gilgamesh, can relate to a person that has a highly thirst for personal indulgence and fame. He took away young boys from their family, as well as keeping young women from their husband for his own purposes. Another example of how the king would leave behind his city and citizens for his own glory is the journey to defeat Humbaba, the great guardian of the forest.
According to king Gilgamesh, glory will be his if he slay this untouchable foe; And even if he die in the battle with this monster, the future of clan Uruk would praise his heroism. At this point Gilgamesh appeared in such a total contrast with the idea of living authenticity. The key concepts of the story were described at the end of the story when the king finally realized that all his negative qualities would not make a meaningful life. After the death of Enkidu, Gilgamesh’s perceptions of what are most important to his life were changed.
He began another journey to search for immortality. And even though he failed the journey and did not get what he was searching for, he realized the truth meanings of life. Ones can now understand the moral of the story is that to live a fulfillment life is simply accepting wisdom from others and show appreciation for others, rather than through self- indulgence or glory. Another question in regard to how to live an authentic life is: what role does the material word play in determining what is an authentic life?
And is the material world adequate for what is true living? To answer this question we should look through the journey of Ivan Ilych and how he comes about the truth meaning of living. Toystoy, author of The Death of Ivan Ilych, walks us through a story of life and death of a high-court judge in 19th century in Russia. Ivan Ilych, main character in the novel was depicted as a miserable husband, proud father and is happy with what he had accomplished as a upper middle class while living in his so-call material world.
Then a minor accident happened caused Ivan to be in an unexplainable sickness and finally lead to his death. The key concepts and morals of the story are described in last couple days before Ivan’s death occurred. Ivan, when he was well, did not believe in death and as to him, death only happy to other people and not too much concern about the truth meaning of life. When he was drowned in sickness, he was forced to confront life’s unpleasantness and questioned himself how he lived his life.
Ivan spent his last three days screaming and tortured himself with negative thoughts. One hour before he died, an insight has flashed through him and his pains were released. He realized and saw what he has not seen before, that he has lived well but only for himself and not for others. As he drew his last breath, he heard someone say:” He’s gone. ” Then he whispered to himself:” death has gone. ” Evan has found eternal life at the end of his life. Last but not least, how does faith influence what it means to live? Let Noah of Genesis help us explore this question.
According to the bible, during the time of Noah, the world was in such chaos, evil; violence and corruption that God, the creator of all livings, had decided to end all lives and start it again for a new beginning. Noah was told to be righteous man of them all, also the only follower of God left on earth. Noah remained faithful to God, he walked with God and did all he asked for. And for his remarkable obedience, God saved Noah, his family along with the some other chosen creatures while he flooded the earth and destroyed everything else that he created.
The lessons that we could learn through Noah is: obedience and live your faith are necessary in living a meaningful life. In conclusion, throughout the journey of king Gilgamesh, Ivan Ilych and Noah from Genesis, we’ve learned that to live authenticity ones must be able to accept wisdoms and show appreciation for others; also living your life not only for yourself but people around you. And to sum it up, the most important key is to connect yourself with the faith within like Noah did with God.