The importance of being remembered
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09-05-2014, 09:49 PM
RE: The importance of being remembered
(07-05-2014 01:38 PM)TrainWreck Wrote:  
(07-05-2014 01:27 PM)Chas Wrote:  *states' attorneys general Drinking Beverage

Good one - you must be proud.

Yes, proud of being literate. Drinking Beverage

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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14-05-2014, 01:35 AM
RE: The importance of being remembered
I think about this a lot. The things that make me happy and the things that I derive meaning from are not the same things. I am not that much more complicated than most everybody else; being around people I love and eating good food and having nice conversations makes me happy. However, I feel deeply dissatisfied because I haven't done anything important. Conceptually I understand how vastly insignificant and short my life is, and I have no delusions of immortality through leaving a legacy behind. Still I I have a strong drive to accomplish something noteworthy before I die. Not necessarily to be remember... just to have something of meaning attributed to me life; my waking, sentient moments devoted to something of some permanence and substance. Stranger still, I want to be the best at something. The best at my job, in my field, in my area of expertise, just something. Seems so petty and silly in the grand scheme of things... can't shake it though.

Not sure if that relates to the topic. Meh. Its what I felt like posting.
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14-05-2014, 04:30 AM
RE: The importance of being remembered
Hello Michael, how are you? Thanks for posting, I'd say it does relate to the thread's topic and, in any case, it is an interesting contribution.

I think I may understand what you are saying, although if I seem to misunderstand your words, please do correct me. Would you say that you'd like to make your life meaningful by making some kind of a difference? Would you like something to happen after you exist no longer, that wouldn't have happened if you hadn't existed? And presuming that you would and that you did manage to make some kind of a difference, would you live the rest of your days happily if you knew that future people would not have a clue about your name, but would nevertheless benefit from your life contribution? Or would you find it annoying if future people didn't know what name to thank for your life contribution?

As you say, if we compare the duration of our existence and the difference it makes upon the rest of the universe, against that of other things that also exist and are also relevant, our lives are highly insignificant. For example, we only last a blip compared to the planet on which we stand, and the planet's existence (the fact that it is located somewhere in relation to other things) is key to our own existence, but not the other way around. Had the planet not existed, none of the living beings that we know would have existed either, nor the things that living beings create. But had life not occurred, the planet would nevertheless exist, just like other lifeless planets.

However life as a process has been occurring uninterruptedly for over three quarters of the planet's history, and while the planet does not have a clue about the fact that its neighbouring star will eventually consume it, or about how to use energy to change its own state of motion, life as a collective of living beings does. Many living beings know how to use information to drive their own behaviour, and we humans (who are living beings too) know the likely future of our nearest star. The planet is probably doomed, but life has the potential to learn how to export itself to other planets; maybe even to learn how to change the behaviour of planets significantly. So life, and by inclusion every living being, has the potential to be relevant at a very large scale.

For example, if it turns out to be humanity the organism that exports itself along with other forms of terrestrial life outside the planet where we appeared (which obviously depends on how intelligent humanity is) then every living being that contributes to such outcome will be relevant; including Laika, the crews of Apollo 1, Challenger, Columbia and pretty much every other mission outwards, those who design machines capable of moving away from this planet and this stellar system, especially those who actually make the effort to build such machines... many people and non-human living things can directly or indirectly help life overlast this planet; many people and non-human living things can be relevant at a very large scale.

Of course, many people and non-human living things can also be helpful in preventing life from overlasting this planet. For instance, rulers prone to killing anything that annoys them, especially those with access to powerful weapons, can do their bit of harm. But I don't think those are memorable achievements because they do not really make that huge of a difference; even if rulers with access to big weapons didn't exist, the universe would still be a hostile environment. Colliding asteroids, exploding stars, biological parasites... megalomaniac leaders aren't a requirement for the eventual death of life.

You, just like every other living being, will surely die, but humanity and life in general will very likely go on beyond your death. If you manage to help life go on beyond your death, then you will have accomplished something of some permanence, even if not strictly of substance; you can also be relevant by producing intangible abstract entities. I don't know if you are a helpful person, but if you are, you already are doing something very important, you can feel very satisfied about it. Complex organisms such as humanity need the cooperation of all their inner constituents and every instance of help is important.

But that is a crucial factor; humanity needs the cooperation of its constituents, not their competition. I don't find it strange at all that you want to be the best in whatever you do, because we're generally fed that idea from our infancy. We're told under many circumstances that we have to be the best, we have to be the winners, because if we're not the best, then we're losers. What we are not told so often is how the people who encourage our competition generally make a personal profit out of it, in their competition against us. The idea that we need the best car of the neighbourhood to show how successful we are is a message used by the car manufacturer to increase sales and thus profits.

Competing against oneself in order to be the best that one can be is great, because it yields people who are very efficient at many useful tasks. Competing against others in order to be the best of the lot is understandable, because we are sexually-reproducing entities and we need to impress potential sexual partners in order to give our sets of genes the chance to try again. But inter-personal competition can be problematic because "best" is a relative term; one is the best in some task if he or she is more efficient at performing it than anyone else, so one can be the best by being really, really good at something, or by the others being really, really bad. If someone does not care about the collective performance, they may direct their efforts towards preventing others from succeeding, rather than directing them to their own improvement.

For every task I can perform, I can think of someone who performs it better, and there are quite a few tasks that I am not suited to perform at all, so I am far from being the best at anything; if we make of our lives a permanent competition, I am unlikely to be the winner. However, there are tasks that I can perform fairly well, especially when I try to do them as best as I can, and when I combine those abilities and efforts with the abilities and efforts of other people who are also good at what they do, the results are very often beneficial for every one of us; through cooperation, we all win. I like trying to do things as best as I can, but I also like to be surrounded by people who can do them better than I do, because not only I get to learn how things can be done more efficiently, but it generally takes me less effort to gain the benefits of an effective collective performance. If I were surrounded by fully incompetent people I might be able to feel better than the rest despite my own stupidity, but that wouldn't be helpful for my life because even surviving would take a huge effort.

I'm not trying to tell you how you should be, because my only advice in that respect is that you are yourself, but if you really want to achieve something relevant at a scale larger than yourself, my suggestion is that you use your competitiveness to drive your own improvement and that you use the skills you gain to help life overlast this planet, because it will take many, many crucial efforts, and yours could be one of them.

But please note that even if you die thinking that you haven't done anything relevant, it may be that people only learn what you've done long after your death. Gregor Mendel's work was very relevant to our collective understanding of how our own bodies work, but this general acknowledgement didn't come during his lifetime. So I wouldn't be dissatisfied by my apparent non-achievements; if I try to do my best at contributing to humanity and life, tiny as my contribution may be, I will die knowing that I did my best, and whether people remember me or not is irrelevant because I will never know.

Thanks again for your view, Michael. Have a good day!
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19-05-2014, 07:53 AM
RE: The importance of being remembered
Came across a couple quotes the other day and it reminded me of this thread. Enjoy:
Jiddu Krishnamurti Wrote:Man has always sought immortality; he paints a picture, puts his name on it, that is a form of immortality; leaving a name behind, man always wants to leave something of himself behind. What has he got to give – apart from technical knowledge – what has he of himself to give? What is he? You and I, what are we, psychologically? You may have a bigger bank account, be cleverer than I am, or this and that; but psychologically, what are we? – a lot of words, memories, experiences, and these we want to hand over to a son, put in a book, or paint in a picture, ‘me’. The ‘me’ becomes extremely important, the ‘me’ opposed to the community, the ‘me’, wanting to identify itself, wanting to fulfill itself, wanting to become something great – you know, all the rest of it. When you observe that ‘me’, you see that it is a bundle of memories, empty words: that is what we cling to; that is the very essence of the separation between you and me, they and we.

Jiddu Krishnamurti Wrote:Then there is the question of dying, which we have carefully put far away from us, as something that is going to happen in the future – the future may be fifty years off or tomorrow. We are afraid of coming to an end, coming physically to an end and being separated from the things we have possessed, worked for, experienced – wife, husband, the house, the furniture, the little garden, the books and the poems we have written or hoped to write. And we are afraid to let all that go because we are the furniture, we are the picture that we possess; when we have the capacity to play the violin, we are that violin. Because we have identified ourselves with those things – we are all that and nothing else. Have you ever looked at it that way? You are the house – with the shutters, the bedroom, the furniture which you have very carefully polished for years, which you own – that is what you are. If you remove all that you are nothing.

And that is what you are afraid of – of being nothing. Isn’t it very strange how you spend forty years going to the office and when you stop doing these things you have heart trouble and die? You are the office, the files, the manager or the clerk or whatever your position is; you are that and nothing else. And you have a lot of ideas about God, goodness, truth, what society should be – that is all. Therein lies sorrow. To realize for yourself that you are that is great sorrow, but the greatest sorrow is that you do not realize it. To see that and find out what it means is to die.

The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear."
~Jiddu Krishnamurti
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19-05-2014, 11:37 AM
RE: The importance of being remembered
(19-05-2014 07:53 AM)Im_Ryan Wrote:  Came across a couple quotes the other day and it reminded me of this thread. Enjoy:
Thank you!

Many people seem to think that life ends at their death, but that is bollocks. Life started over 3.5 billion years ago and it hasn't stopped since. Our lives end at our deaths, but life has the potential to go on for much longer. Maybe if people recognised how humanity may go on for much longer than ourselves, if we only care to help each other to sustain it (certainly no gods will help us sustain humanity), then people would invest their efforts on other people instead of investing them in writing their own names in big golden letters.

Nevertheless, I would say being dead is an illusion, a lie we tell ourselves while we're alive in order to make a negative notion (not being alive) seem positive (being dead). I suppose that is related to what your second quote suggests; some people may find comfort in thinking of time after our deaths as time during which we will be dead, because if we are dead, at least we are in some state. But of course, death is a non-state, an abstract description in our minds. What happens at our deaths is that we cease being alive.

Interesting contributions, Ryan. Thank you once again.

Have fun!
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20-05-2014, 05:35 AM
RE: The importance of being remembered
(19-05-2014 11:37 AM)living thing Wrote:  
(19-05-2014 07:53 AM)Im_Ryan Wrote:  Came across a couple quotes the other day and it reminded me of this thread. Enjoy:
Thank you!

Many people seem to think that life ends at their death, but that is bollocks. Life started over 3.5 billion years ago and it hasn't stopped since. Our lives end at our deaths, but life has the potential to go on for much longer. Maybe if people recognised how humanity may go on for much longer than ourselves, if we only care to help each other to sustain it (certainly no gods will help us sustain humanity), then people would invest their efforts on other people instead of investing them in writing their own names in big golden letters.

Who thinks that 'life' ends at their death? No one but the most extreme solipsist.

Quote:Nevertheless, I would say being dead is an illusion, a lie we tell ourselves while we're alive in order to make a negative notion (not being alive) seem positive (being dead). I suppose that is related to what your second quote suggests; some people may find comfort in thinking of time after our deaths as time during which we will be dead, because if we are dead, at least we are in some state. But of course, death is a non-state, an abstract description in our minds. What happens at our deaths is that we cease being alive.

That is one well-tossed word salad.

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20-05-2014, 05:57 AM
RE: The importance of being remembered
I have worked, sweated, grieved, rent my clothes, to raise my family in a manner that they will not pass down to their children some of those nasty generational things that families keep going, and condemn generations of children to suffer over lifetimes for.

I did a good job! Big Grin

No one will remember, but what I've accomplished is enough and will show for generations--likely.

I am a great grandmother now, and I already see my hand in this new generation in the way my grandchildren are parenting.

A reward beyond comparison!

"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story." Orson Welles
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20-05-2014, 06:06 AM
RE: The importance of being remembered
(20-05-2014 05:57 AM)Dee Wrote:  No one will remember, but what I've accomplished is enough and will show for generations--likely.
If your efforts help others live long beyond your death, I think they are well worth, even if no one remembers your name.

I am happy that you can witness how your existence is indeed meaningful. I hope you'll enjoy watching your family evolve for a long time.

Have fun!
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20-05-2014, 07:34 AM
RE: The importance of being remembered
(20-05-2014 06:06 AM)living thing Wrote:  
(20-05-2014 05:57 AM)Dee Wrote:  No one will remember, but what I've accomplished is enough and will show for generations--likely.
If your efforts help others live long beyond your death, I think they are well worth, even if no one remembers your name.

I am happy that you can witness how your existence is indeed meaningful. I hope you'll enjoy watching your family evolve for a long time.

Have fun!

I like the butterfly effect. Not sure if it's been mentioned here before, but it's very true for life. No matter how insignificant you are, you have effected countless people's lives and have altered the course of history. I think the goal of life is to try and alter it the best you can for what you feel is right. Just because your genes won't last in the family gene pool for more than 800 years, doesn't mean your decisions and actions in the here and now won't affect a later generation.

The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear."
~Jiddu Krishnamurti
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22-05-2014, 04:55 AM
RE: The importance of being remembered
(20-05-2014 07:34 AM)Im_Ryan Wrote:  I like the butterfly effect. Not sure if it's been mentioned here before, but it's very true for life. No matter how insignificant you are, you have effected countless people's lives and have altered the course of history. I think the goal of life is to try and alter it the best you can for what you feel is right. Just because your genes won't last in the family gene pool for more than 800 years, doesn't mean your decisions and actions in the here and now won't affect a later generation.
I don't think it's been mentioned in this thread, thanks for bringing it up.

Even though I mostly agree with what I think you are saying, I have a question. Can the course of history be altered? I mean, is history history before it has happened? If history is the story of what has happened up to the present moment, I'm not sure it can be changed. Or would you say history is the story of what happens over time, including future possibilities?

Also, while my set of genes will probably decay drastically within the next 50 years, I'm not sure the genes coding for histones will have changed in people living 1000 years from now, if there are people living 1000 years from now. But I'll never know.

Thanks Ryan, have fun!
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