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Updated September 15, 2022

Story of Gilgamesh and Analyzing Aspects of Today’s Behavior, and Life Cycles

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Story of Gilgamesh and Analyzing Aspects of Today’s Behavior, and Life Cycles essay
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The key to finding one’s true final form of conscious is to combine strength obtained and our capable ability of the mind. To transform and advance one must go through adversity. Stories about growing in the face of challenges are recorded in the past and seen today. Confrontation demands an individual leave convenience behind. This is shown in Jung’s theory of individuation. Carl Jung believed basic human motivations are controlled by one’s self ego, their personal unconscious and a collective unconscious. Jung emphasizes the basic significance of the individual’s inner self. The intimate exploration of finding completeness is done through communication with Jung’s archetypes, conflict and then peace grant the self to materialize. Maslow’s theory of self-actualization also aligns with the thesis. According to Abraham Maslow, self-actualization is the human development and the want to find completion leading to the refinement of a functional ideal self. These two theories will be used to analyze the ancient story of Gilgamesh in addition to analyzing aspects of today’s behavior and life cycles. Above all, this is imperative because characteristics of Gilgamesh’s unintentional journey toward true individuation are relevant in today’s culture.

Enkidu, Gilgamesh’s counterpart in the tale goes through multiple intervals of uneasiness and hardship on his journey to his final ultimate design. Enkidu is born crude and undeveloped as a character. He has no thought of his own consciousness and is in the first basic childlike state of life. Enkidu meets Shamhat and spends time with her, leading to a heightened sense of internal understanding. His intimate connection plays an immense role in his removal from nature. “Relationships play a significant role in gaining self-conscious” (Sadigh,79) Enkidu is forced off the trodden ground he knows so well. He realizes that the animals no longer accept him, he cannot go back to his former self. The consequences upset Enkidu, the journey has started, and he will be dragged along for the ride. Jung archetype anima is present here in the myth, conflict with Shamhat and then comes resolution when he decides to go with her and learn of civilization, then later conflict again. Enkidu meets his counterpart Gilgamesh and at first the shadow is represented, the pair fights and realizes they are equals absolving the shadow and becoming same sex helpers or counterparts. The cycle of confrontation leads Enkidu and Gilgamesh to peace between each other. “In truth, a friendship with deep intensity is forged, the opposites desire to be united” (Sadigh, 80). The relationship and bond changes both their ego’s forever. Facing the giant leads Enkidu against his shadow, the former self that was the embodiment of nature. His true carnal side shows when he wants to conquer nature and destroy Humbaba. In Donna Rosenberg’s version of Gilgamesh, found inside the book “World Mythology an Anthology of the Great Myths and Epics” it portrays Enkidu saying “Do not listen to Humbaba pleas! Do not let him talk you into freeing him, for he is a clever and dangerous enemy! He must not remain alive” (Rosenberg, 40) Enkidu is moving through Jung’s cycle to find individuation. With each shadow figure he overcomes, he is close to his authentic self. Enkidu’s final stage of life is when he realizes he is dying, he comes to the conclusion to resolve the anima archetype in his life. He forgives Shamat for pulling him out of the jungle. “This last stage brought him face to face with the reality of death, which unleashed great power within him as an individual” (Sadigh,82) He is fulfilled and has met all criteria to find self-actualization or individuation. (Williamsen)

Gilgamesh in the beginning of the story is improper and lives only to fill his self-gratification. He cannot change until he realizes that there is some man out there that is his parallel with matched strength. “The introduction of Enkidu, who was specifically created to be Gilgamesh equal, opens a new way of life to the king” (Williamsen, 14) Finding Enkidu is the first uncomfortable step to maturity, to realize Gilgamesh is not the strongest man around and to lose a small part of his self-identity. Gilgamesh enjoys Enkidu because he has found a partner but not though his anima. He fears being controlled and does not face his anima archetype. Gilgamesh dislikes the thought of a women as his equal part. Going to the forest to kill the giant is his childish way of postponing growing up. To head on a journey with another male and show masculinity in the face of evil. Gilgamesh is still immature and does not gain growth to his self-conscious in the battles with Humbaba and the bull however he does gain physical attributes that will help him find his true form. (Williamsen) (Sadigh)

Before Enkidu is mortally wounded, Gilgamesh does not fear his own death or seem aware of the fragility of life. Gilgamesh is passionately impacted by his best friend’s death moreover he now realizes his own death is eminent. After Enkidu’s death, Gilgamesh sets off on a journey for immortality. Gilgamesh is going through transformations and it is leading to his self-authenticity. The transition between different consciousness’s has lead Gilgamesh though fierce suffering. Only once someone leaves the comforts that encase them, can finding righteousness happen. Gilgamesh’s journey leads him to Utnapishtim, a man who has become immortal by the hands of gods. Utnapishtim cannot help Gilgamesh but to tell him to rejoice in life and whispers a plant that may help longevity. Once Gilgamesh loses the plant, he has hit his rock bottom and must look at himself and try to engage with his own personal self. Than only can he take the main steps to Jung’s theory of individuation. “the loss of the plant stands thus for the loss of the illusion that one can go back to being a child” (Williamsen,18). Gilgamesh goes back home and realizes life is about cherishing those around and being a fit king. “Gilgamesh finds serenity in knowing that what matters most is his commitment to others, which is ultimately where he finds the purpose in his existence” (Sadigh, 85) Gilgamesh’s journey is long and tumultuous and illustrates life even today. Everything experienced is relevant to today because we humans are still going through unconscious battles with self and with Jung’s archetypes to find peace and reach individuation. Gilgamesh has marked off all that needs to happen and has reached fulfillment therefore leading to Maslow’s self-actualization.

In my life, I have gone through many cycles and have faced many animus and shadow archetypes. The first phase of my life was infantile, the beginning self that has emerged out of what my parents have fostered. This beginning form was selfish, just like characteristics of Gilgamesh’s first form. Additionally, this form of younger me had gone from being a child to a young adult around puberty, which is an awakening alike to Enkidu’s. Forced out of comfort of the protector’s arms into the harsh reality that there is no going back to that stage of contentment. At this stage of life, I was thrust by my own decisions into an immense stage of growth. Leaving the protection of my family, I became pregnant at seventeen. As a child, my shadow archetype was my mother. We had a very turbulent relationship and never saw eye to eye. She gave birth to me at a young age and growing up I would say, “I refused to do the same thing” or so I thought I would. I suffered through animus and shadow conflict and inevitably did the same thing she did when going through early stages of consciousness and self-awareness. But at this stage of life I was self-aware that I would never let my child endure though the constant unknown and pain I had suffered through in my early childhood. I was in a zone of unknown for many years of my life. From childhood to early twenties was a constant state of challenge. Confrontations with my animus, my child’s father made me realize that having a child living in a broken home full of fighting was continuing the same cycle. I stepped out of my comfort zone and found a small apartment for my child and I after leaving.

For years after that, I arrived at a place of self-gratification. Living in Wyoming and not trying to excel in life or my job. Raising a child but not trying to foster my own growth or find my self-authenticity. I realized there must be something more for me and my son, Alex. In my mid-twenties I took another step-in life. Leaving Wyoming and the comforts of my whole family to begin life in Denver was a massive step in completing another cycle is Jung’s theory. Using the strength, I had gained and the ability of my capable mind I moved, regardless of how others around me had felt about my decision. Once leaving the cocoon of my home town, I found the understanding I needed to truly grow into a new person. I became the mother I had always wanted to be, I found fulfillment in a new home away from everything I had once known. In time, before the end of my twenties, I was able to forgive my mother for everything that had happened earlier and to not hold it against my own future. To find absolution in my childhood and stop blaming my mother for my own misgivings. My mother and I now have an amazing relationship built on a new foundation. As Yung explains, there is a never-ending cycle of archetypes in our life. I may have found resolution with some archetypes, but as a human I am always growing and prospering, hopefully into a better self-identity.

Someone I believe who has reached individuation is Chris Gardner. Chris Gardner is the author of “The Pursuit of Happyness” which has been made into a largely popular movie. Chris Gardner started life in a damaged home. His mother was sent to jail when he was fairly young, he found himself living at various addresses of relatives. Chris was raped by a gangster from around the neighborhood as a child. Gardner spent his childhood fantasizing on how he could make the maltreatment stop. As an adult Chris Gardner went to jail and stepped out of the halfway house with his spouse giving him his one-year child, she could no longer take the child. Chris knew he couldn’t let his child suffered as he did. In the beginning years after that instance his life was full of conflict, Chris did everything he could to become a better person. He used his own intellect to support both of them and that eventually lead to a job in finance. [Chris knows first-hand that money doesn’t bring happiness. “I thought when I was in line for food that I would be happy when I had money, but it isn’t true”. He knows that having a passion and pursuing that passion is what brings true happiness. He knows that life is about creating opportunity, about seeing something others don’t, and going after it with unmatched ferocity] (Chris Gardner: The Pursuit of Happyness) (Chris Gardner: Biography)

In conclusion, I believe that to find Jung’s theory of individuation or Maslow’s theory of self-actualization, one must learn to step out of what resembles safety. “To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering” (Friedrich Nietzsche) I believe that the Epic of Gilgamesh is relevant today because we are all thrown on an unconscious journey to find a better inner self. Students today are still learning Gilgamesh’s stories and relating them to their life’s. Those who are guided by impulse of instant gratification cannot change of morph into their true self. Conflict disputes the identity of our former selves and we can only learn and evolve.

Story of Gilgamesh and Analyzing Aspects of Today’s Behavior, and Life Cycles essay

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Story of Gilgamesh and Analyzing Aspects of Today’s Behavior, and Life Cycles. (2022, Sep 07). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/story-of-gilgamesh-and-analyzing-aspects-of-todays-behavior-and-life-cycles/

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