The importance of being remembered
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04-05-2014, 05:59 AM
The importance of being remembered
Is there any? Will it make our lives any different whether people actually remember that we lived once we don’t?

I find post-mortem remembrances, at least some of them, emotive for those who remain alive. Not long ago, we visited an old friend’s house, to say hello to his parents; that friend had died a few years back. We talked about him and how he’s missed, and even though his mother is still sad for her loss -I wonder whether she will ever again be entirely happy- she seemed relieved to see that she is not the only one who still thinks about her son. Post-mortem remembrances can be soothing for those who miss someone who’s gone, and as such I welcome them.

However, I don’t think it makes any difference for the deceased. My friend’s brain probably rot away long ago, and there is no way it can convey, through the motion of things inside it (due to the lack of things inside it) any abstract notion; my friend does not know that we still talk about him. His life began, went on for a few years and then ended, but none of the events he ever experienced can be changed; it does not matter if we remember him little or much. I view human names as words used to draw our attention, and thus once our brains are unable to pay attention, our names become irrelevant for us, even if they may be remembered by others who remain alive.

But there are people whose lives have been very relevant to my life even if I don’t remember their names. I don’t have a clue about who invented the chair, but I use chairs daily; the same goes for countless objects that I’ve encountered throughout my life and which have made it much, much easier and/or more pleasurable. If it weren’t for the ingeniousness of so many nameless inventors throughout history, my life would be very different; I feel lucky that those human beings have indeed existed.

If I could choose between having my name remembered and providing humanity with something, tiny as it may be, that human beings can use for their benefit long after my death, I would go for the latter; I’d very much prefer to make my life relevant through some usefulness even if no one else knew my name.

Of course, that does not mean I will; most of us go through life without inventing anything useful and that is the most likely outcome that I expect for my own life. But the thought of becoming useful is enough to drive my desire to help, and I am happy with that because I think humanity is a cooperative effort; it will take everyone’s help to keep humanity alive in such a hostile environment as the universe.

I don’t think it is important that people who don’t need to draw our attention know our names, but I think it is important that people become useful to others. In a planet where so many people seem obsessed with taking more than they give (for example, bankers), I admire those who give a lot more than they take. Those are the people that I find really valuable.

What are you thoughts on the subject? Do you think it is important that we stick our names to every one of our actions?

Have a good day!
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04-05-2014, 08:13 AM
RE: The importance of being remembered
A lot of times that is why people procreate - they want someone to carry on when they are gone, someone to remember them, someone to carry on the name...

Personally, I couldn't care less. I am here now, I have made an imprint on many lives. Even the things I have worked on have my imprint for years to come. However, this doesn't really mean anything to me. Why would I care what happens to me or my name after I am gone?

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04-05-2014, 10:58 AM
RE: The importance of being remembered
The greatest legacy of human technological history is the wheel, yet its inventor's name may have died with him (or her). So some legacies probably should not count as remembrance. I would also discount landmarks like mountains, rivers and nations named after someone as proper remembrances; most people saying "America" never heard of Amerigo Vespucci.

A professor friend of mine constructed a timeline of the last 5500 years, placing names we still speak today at their times of life. The one below appears to be comprehensive:

http://www.timelineindex.com/content/sel...sSite=1924

What's notable about a timeline like this is the clumping. Some stretches of history produced no one anyone wanted to remember.

When the professor showed me his timeline we wound up speculating which of anyone in the last 100 years would still be remembered 1000 years hence. We both agreed that neither of us would be. There was debate about Elvis but agreement that the determining factor would be the longevity of black velvet paintings. There was no debate about Ghandi or Einstein. Or Hitler.

But we also agreed that remembrance is not driven by just deservedness of remembrance; other factors, such as the popularity of black velvet painting as household ornament affect it, sometimes more profoundly than the deservedness.

Personally, I think a life lived for legacy, rather than for the moment, is more satisfying, but the satisfaction has a greater price, and may incur significant discomfort (or disaster) along the way. And, as noted before, after you're dead you're past caring.
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04-05-2014, 11:08 AM
RE: The importance of being remembered
I think I will be remembered as a geeky shut-in who loved to absorb a lot of information without sharing much with the outside world and not really doing anything else for society.

I paid taxes, so there's that. I made a few donations to various charities...
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04-05-2014, 11:10 AM
RE: The importance of being remembered
(04-05-2014 05:59 AM)living thing Wrote:  If I could choose between having my name remembered and providing humanity with something, tiny as it may be, that human beings can use for their benefit long after my death, I would go for the latter; I’d very much prefer to make my life relevant through some usefulness even if no one else knew my name.

I have considered your contemplations for several years, now, because I am delivering a scientific instrument that will benefit humanity forever. Because of our dependence on scientific revelations, scientists who deliberate a scientific theory/law are forever associated with the generation of the instrument, and subsequently for keeping track of when the theory is implemented in society causing the paradigm.

Socio-political leaders are the next group in the hierarchy of remembrance, but their legacy is easily discredited when a new social system is generated and proven to be more economically efficient for guiding the society. The world is slipping into an economic crisis of such, that the world leaders recognize that a "scientific" political charter system is what is needed. The violent revolutions that are occurring are the examples of the problem that needs to be solved by a "cookie-cutter" political charter system. President Obama was (affirmatively) awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, because they thought he could deliver the interpretations of the United States Constitution for the rest of the world that thought it was a racially biased constitution that the white guys before him could not deliver.

So, you could pursue that field, but I have the solution to that as well as a derivative of the instrument that I am delivering - that is why I am able to recognize why Obama and Nelson Mandela were awarded the Prize.

You can be the first to help me in this endeavor or in sorting the semantics of human knowledge. But most people do not recognize the importance of such technology, because they do not understand the problems, because they believe social discord is inevitable and order and tranquility is an imaginary ideal.

Humanism - ontological doctrine that posits that humans define reality
Theism - ontological doctrine that posits a supernatural entity creates and defines reality
Atheism - political doctrine opposed to theist doctrine in public policy
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04-05-2014, 11:45 AM (This post was last modified: 05-05-2014 07:54 AM by kim.)
RE: The importance of being remembered
(04-05-2014 10:58 AM)Airportkid Wrote:  --- most people saying "America" never heard of Amerigo Vespucci.

Well yea; Amerigo was a crusty old fart - everyone was glad that he was out to sea discovering places. Dodgy

However, his cousin Simonetta...
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I think in the end, I just feel like I'm a secular person who has a skeptical eye toward any extraordinary claim, carefully examining any extraordinary evidence before jumping to conclusions. ~ Eric ~ My friend ... who figured it out.
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05-05-2014, 04:23 AM
RE: The importance of being remembered
I don't think there is any importance on a large scale, but on a small scale, hell yes!

The people who have made huge innovations or discoveries are interesting for some people to learn about, but their importance is not really an issue. Out of the billions of people who benefit from modern medicine, very few are aware of Galen, or Van Leeuwenhoek. Their discoveries "keep on giving", though.

It is beneficial for people to remember loved ones, and to enjoy remembering them, IMO.
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05-05-2014, 04:46 AM
RE: The importance of being remembered
I'm not going to reproduce but I still have an instinct to leave something behind that outlasts me.

In my early twenties when I was suicidal I went through a particularly bad few months of desperately trying to find some reason to stay alive. I was studying for an MSc at the time and the only thing that got me through it was when I decided that I should at least wait six months when the course was over and then decide whether to kill myself. I now basically live for my research but find very little time to do it. It's also incredible disheartening how long it takes to get any results. But then I am tackling the hardest problems that others won't because there is a pressure on them to get short term results, more papers published and consequently secure more funding.

I'm not saying that I will make that much progress but at least I feel that I am asking the right questions. To be honest I'm not really sure why I am doing this. I know that I'll just publish a paper every few years which will sink into obscurity, but it's my only real hope of making any progress with what I want to do. I can't bring myself to give up. I want to look back on my life and know that at least I did something worthwhile with it. And in the meantime it keeps my brain active.
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05-05-2014, 07:09 AM
RE: The importance of being remembered
For me its not a matter of being remembered, I've done nothing in my life worth remembering , so I really dont expect it or care much.

The thing that grinds on me is, that all the things that I've held dear and have meant something to me in my life, will be scattered to the four winds or thrown in the trash by someone unknown. I have no direct offspring and no family any younger than I.

I sometimes wish that I could leave all my stuff to somebody that would care about it, but allas, theres no one.

In the end , mine is a life that has had no meaning, other than to survive.... not one to be remembered and I wouldnt be that arrogant to presume as much.

Did that make any sense ?

If bullshit were music some people would be a brass band.
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05-05-2014, 07:51 AM
RE: The importance of being remembered
(05-05-2014 07:09 AM)War Horse Wrote:  For me its not a matter of being remembered, I've done nothing in my life worth remembering , so I really dont expect it or care much.

The thing that grinds on me is, that all the things that I've held dear and have meant something to me in my life, will be scattered to the four winds or thrown in the trash by someone unknown. I have no direct offspring and no family any younger than I.

I sometimes wish that I could leave all my stuff to somebody that would care about it, but allas, theres no one.

In the end , mine is a life that has had no meaning, other than to survive.... not one to be remembered and I wouldnt be that arrogant to presume as much.

Did that make any sense ?

Completely made sense.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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