chapter  5
Happiness and Meaning in a Technological Age: A Psychological Approach
Pages 17

The quest for happiness and meaning in life can be seen as one of humanity’s most enduring concerns. In looking forward to what happiness and meaning may look like in a technological age, it is appealing to look backward fi rst, and consider what happiness and meaning looked like in a pretechnological age. Written on a dozen 2,600 year old clay tablets, the Epic of Gilgamesh is considered to be the world’s oldest surviving story. This tale relates a fantastical series of adventures pursued by the king of Uruk, who ruled the Sumerian city 4,700 years ago1. Gilgamesh craved fame and adventure, leading to both great achievements and harrowing disappointments. The emotional core of this tale centers on a strange relationship, and a couple of odd quests the titular king pursues. The relationship is between Gilgamesh and a wild man, Enkidu, created by the god Anu to challenge the two-thirds divine Gilgamesh. At fi rst rivals, they become friends.