To be known

Some things just stick with you and I was thinking about one of those things today.

In a classical studies course I took years ago, I was introduced to the idea of humanity’s quest for immortality. According to my memory of the course, the ancient Greeks believed that this could be achieved in one of two ways: through having children or achieving fame.

I have thought about that quite a lot but I haven’t ever really delved into all the smaller ways that we attempt to leave our mark on the world, to prove that we existed or achieve our own kind of immortality. Taking selfies, making people laugh, carving our initials into trees, being kind, creating art, and on. It’s almost like we exist to prove we exist. And, ironically, we never really succeed. Memories fade, trees die and art is lost eventually.

That just leads back to the idea of children or fame, both of which can bring one’s marks on the world forward long after they would survive on their own. But why continue with the smaller actions if they won’t achieve the goal?

I think that maybe its because each one of those has a tiny possibility of achieving some kind of immortality, to be known and to have existed. Collectively they create the story of who we are, which even if you never have children or achieve fame, is some small victory for a little piece of a big, big universe.

 

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