The Enkidu myth is very rich
and important for me. First, some expansion:
Gilgamesh was beautiful, powerful, and brilliant, two-thirds a god. But because he was alone in his superiority, he was also cruel and somewhat insane. So the gods created Enkidu, who was to be his equal. Enkidu lived in the wilderness, running with his animal friends, jostling with them at the water-holes, hunting for raw meat. He was extraordinary, but he did not know he was human.
When Enkidu appeared, he began protecting the other animals from the local hunter's traps. The hunter's father recommended that he find something to lure Enkidu away from the wilderness. So he engaged Shamhat, a sacred prostitute, to follow him to the site. When she stood naked before Enkidu, he left the animals to be with her. They made love for seven days, and Shamhat realized she was with a man who was like a god. But when Enkidu tried to leave, he found the animals strange to him, and discovered he could no longer run or hunt as before.
Shamhat took Enkidu back to Uruk, the city of Gilgamesh. She introduced him to the shepherds, who taught him to eat bread and drink beer, to talk to people, and to groom himself. Enkidu learned to be a human, and when the shepherds were attacked by lions, he became a great warrior and defended them.
Gilgamesh learned about Enkidu, and although they began as rivals they came to love one another. The two friends did many great deeds, and defended the people of Uruk from the depredations of a jealous Inanna.
The story has been interpreted as a metaphorical
history about the domestication of humanity, or urban
values. But I see it as powerfully psychological
and valuable on an individual level. I do not think I'm alone in seeing a tension between developing personal, intellectual skills and being social. The Enkidu story is a reminder that great talent and power is wasted if you haven't spent the time to become a human
. It reflects the fact that time you "waste" relaxing
and talking to people can return to you manyfold, as you go back to your work refreshed, happy, and with a broadened library
of ideas and perspective
This story has some interesting parallels to the Samson
myth. Both have a shaggy, untamed man who is seduced
by a woman and loses his power, only to regain it later. I've been forced to conclude that Sammy just panic
I think there might also be something in there about male orgasmic refractory period