On Legacy

If I said, “Life’s purpose is legacy”, would you agree?

I wonder whether past our 20’s our main concerns could be summarised into one: establishing a legacy. Or, in more words: establishing that which will testify of one’s impacting existence once we’ve crossed over. Ideally with a kind word.

Legacy, as I am understanding it today _might change my mind tomorrow_ is the ulterior motive behind every decision and action we make. A desperate attempt to leave a mark in the minds and memories of our contemporaries and descendants.

Nothing conveys this fact more intensely than the mausoleums, tombstones and plaques in the churches and historical landmarks of the City*.

Tombstones clash violently with the sleek, skyscraping builds as failed, yet dignified, attempts at “rising” above the present, the future and the noise. Purely to be remembered or simply, acknowledged.
It was with a mixture of endearment, sadness and nostalgia that I realised that those stones’ quest served best as a reminder that our days are really counted and that, regardless how big an impact we manage to make, the world will ceaselessly move on and our legacy will eventually be buried in time.

Masons, architects and artists in general may argue “memories forged and carved by hand are there to last” yet in my opinion, the only memory that is there to stay is in the gene. Whether the latter is in fact marginally more powerful that the former is a matter for another post**.

P.S.: Would be great to read your thoughts on legacy, or whichever word you would deem more appropriate for this. Legacy had a nice ring to it, it “makes sense” to me although the official definitions somehow deviate a bit from the idea I am discussing here.

* City of London Borough.
** Another matter for a new post is the controversial problem of overpopulation or “massive genetic-memory-bank expansion” if we follow this post’s train of thought…

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8 thoughts on “On Legacy

  1. Seems that valuing legacy is valuing oneself in terms of how others see you. One can either place value in how others will perceive her and know her value will quickly change, or value one’s existence for one’s own sake of owning it as their existence.

    I usually hear “legacy” in context of “carrying on a legacy”, as something started by another that someone is obliged to carry forth for their sake.

    • Good point.

      I guess that is the inital frame of mind. Then things start to get tough…

      Thanks for all the cool comments. This is going to get me thinking big time.

  2. Whether or not legacy is the main purpose of life (not going to attempt to disagree), certainly the written word has been one good method of securing one in the traditional sense. Whilst a few popular songs may pass down the generations, the majority are forgotten, where literary legends and political thinkers are still studied and admired throughout time.

    Large physical statements or obvious gestures like annexing countries and building temples may be a way to safeguard a more visual legacy, but are mostly unachievable to the common man. Are you planning a monument as your legacy to London? :P

    • Tried a Play-Doh figurine but it didn’t last :). Next up I’m trying “microwaveable” putty with sparkles. I’m thinking somewhere along Pall Mall…

      Very true, the written word as you say is another means to preserve a legacy. It didn’t even cross my mind when I wrote this.

      The “impact” of seeing the 1 meter tombstones versus the 30 floors buildings also brought a thought which I didn’t think to put into words yet which was pretty much there: out of the trillions of people that have so far existed and the 7 billion that currently exist, a very small percentage will ever make it into history. Even if some did, new religions, fashions, culture changes wiped them off the slate.

      It was an insightful moment. Maybe a bit too intense to capture in a blog post.

      Cheers for the awesome comment by the by (‘ ^-^). Illustrated how two or more brains are always better than one.

      Alex

      • Indeed, for some their only legacy shall be their children. Although many would be contented with that.

        And really the thanks should go to your blog for provoking opinion. :-)

    • Hi Rex,

      Yeap, you’re right.
      I am spinning that concept and making “influence”, for instance, one of the traits that is sought in order to establish a future legacy.

      The “legacy” word definition is not so much about being remembered (as I use it in this text) as it is about the aspects that are filtered down to future generations.

      I liked the word for this post as it had the “right ring” to my ears and its meaning could be extended _albeit with some license_ to “leaving a mark” (not necessarily a leadership or positive one).

      Nice slogan on your site by the way ( ^-^): “When intentions are clear, mechanisms will appear.”

      Thanks for popping by.

      Looking to find more clarity and purpose,
      Alex

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