WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED FOR
If a person is lucky enough to be known in his community, he can easily hear impressions on what he wanted to be remembered for. Life is just a short composition of fading years wrapped in a dumpy generation. Either he is ignored and easily forgotten or respected and instantly idolized. Ironically however this theory is shaky. Kings in olden times were the most powerful and respected but after a few hundred years, they were consigned in the dustbin of history. Those completely ignored, at times humiliated and even punished, living a life without mercy and in pain, were catapulted and even held in awe and honoured. Such were the fate of Saints and Sages.
Of course, it is not a personal business to know how we wanted to be known or remembered for but at times it matters when contemplating on how we intend to lead our respective lives. Robin Williams, Ernest Hemmingway, Sigmund Freud, Virginia Wolf, were famous individuals in their respective craft and were recipients of various accolades for perfecting their accomplishments only to be remembered as human beings who committed suicide. Siddhartha, Moses, John the Baptist, Jesus, Francis de Assisi were considered derelicts and bums, rebels and outcasts during their time but they are at present considered prime examples of greatness.
There seems to be no formula on how to be what we wanted for in the first place. It is not actually how we intend to live or how we wanted to die that could solve the riddle of our life although to a certain extent there are some questions which we ought to understand before we ever try to craft an answer. I recall a conversation in the classic Iliad where Neried Thetis summoned her son Achilles who was in a dilemma whether to join the army to invade Troy or not. She submitted her thoughts on her son this way: “You are a beautiful young man, strong, gifted, brave and resourceful. You can just stay, get married and live a blissful life. Once you are gone, your wife will definitely miss you, your children will long for you, their children will likewise recall those days when you walked the earth. But that is all. But when you go to war, you will immediately perish. Those at the front will however marvel at your courage, at your strength, at your greatness as a warrior. And they will talk and remember you for years, for thousand of years. It is your choice son, you decide on what you intend to do.”
Achilles, as the story goes, went into war.
When the war in Troy was over, Homer, a literary artist during that period, wrote about how Achilles almost single-handedly engaged thousands of seasoned warriors and almost won. It was the greatest battle a combatant can ever get into. He was a warrior of irresistible prowess. It was a classic story and Achilles was at the center. Achilles died in that battle but his name remained at the centre of military history for all time.
The message is clear. Let us love our work and let history determine how we will be remembered for lately.