Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 60 (3):358-366 (2018)

Robert Fine
University of Warwick
“Futility of futilities,” said Kohelet, “futility of futilities, all is futile!” Once again we are exploring futility, a concept understood by humanity at least from the beginning of the written word. Our oldest written story, the Epic of Gilgamesh, reminds us of the futility of chasing immortality. At least a millennium later, yet still in ancient times, the Book of Kohelet teaches that all human pursuits, not only the pursuit of immortality, are futile or vain—terms once used synonymously. The ancient Greeks introduced an element of punishment into their stories of futility—for example the Danaides sisters were condemned for the murder of their betrothed to use small urns to fill a leaky...
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DOI 10.1353/pbm.2018.0009
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