Michael Battalio


Friday, May 04, 2012

Serious conversations (part 35):

        This series is a continuation of my conversations with an atheist friend of mine. These are my edited responses from that conversation. The thirty-fourth and thirty-fifth entries deal with leaving a legacy.



        Leaving a legacy could be something as grandiose as changing the world, or it could be as simple as leaving a record of what you did. I keep a journal though not a daily one. The problem with keeping a daily journal is that most of life is, unfortunately, mundane. I tried to write something down every day, but I quickly found that I was boring myself. Most amazing things happen gradually, not day to day, so I’ve found that if I write something every time I post to the blog (about once every three weeks or so) that I usually have something worthwhile to write. I frequently go back through my old twitter and facebook feeds to see what I was doing this time last year. Some of that fascination with myself is because I want to know that I wasn’t and am not just wasting my time on trivial things. On the other hand, perhaps I find my past doings interesting because we find the most interesting person in the world to be ourselves.



        Regarding the side questions of post 34 from Serious Conversations (what is it to be remembered? I don’t think merely having my name remembered is worth it. I think that what I’ve done must be remembered. And: is it enough to have your accomplishment remembered but not who you were?): If your name is remembered, but what you did is not remembered then I wouldn’t be satisfied. I think I’d be okay if my name was forgotten but my deeds remembered. Still though, I would prefer to be remembered as a person, but I doubt that will happen. That really happens to almost no one, so I won’t expect it of myself. I’ll just hope for it. I do accept the premise to divide the thought of leaving a legacy into two distinct items: to make a contribution to humanity and to be remembered as a thoughtful person. You can certainly accomplish one but not the other. As to which one is more important, I won’t hazard a guess. I suppose it depends on how important your relationships with other people are that dictates how important it is to you to be remembered as a person.



        I understand that the way history as a concept is treated is much different now than it was in the past. I feel relatively certain that it will continue to change and that the concept of history will be much different in a few thousand years, perhaps to the point where the individual doesn’t even matter (Though that is difficult to rectify with the fact that our culture is so pervasive with the concept of ego right now.) or to the point where only individuals matter (though that doesn’t make much sense.). I suppose my point is that it is pointless to try to leave a legacy because we don’t know how our actions or ourselves will be interpreted in the future. Perhaps we should be more content with the now - be more concerned with bettering ourselves and humanity for the now, not for the future.

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