ON THE ROAD TO BEING FORGOTTEN
Oblivion is one place which is never desired to be reached by anyone. But sooner or later, a person departing the scene is most likely to fade away from the memory of his loved ones, more so on the succeeding layer of relationships and the generation that follows.
Everyone wishes to be a hero because everyone wanted to be remembered. To be forgotten is a curse to be avoided.
Man has been haunted by the vastness of eternity, says Homer. Man, since civilization has opened his consciousness, would continually ask if his actions would echo across the centuries. He oftentimes wonders if strangers would still recall his name and wonder how creatively he lived, how bravely he fought and how fiercely he loved. Ironically, only names from literature remain alive and those who really walked on earth are deemed forgotten.
Those who die young are virtually etched in memorials better than those who lived a full life. Alexander the Great died at the age of 26 and he is still a marvel to recall. I doubt if Alexander the Great would still be remembered today had he died at an advanced age of 90.
Had Philippine’s first President, Emilio Aguinaldo died fighting for the independence of his country, he would have been easily declared as the country’s National Hero. But he died at the age of 94 after accumulating one political blunder after another. He was even suspected of ordering the death penalty of Andres Bonifacio, Antonio Luna and countless heroes. His gallant status was unfortunately extinguished and his heroism transformed into villainy.
Names of great men who died during their prime are still reminisced up to this day (with a few exceptions like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle). The phrase “your glory walks hand in hand with your doom” sounds horrifyingly true. There was Jesus of Nazareth, Jose Rizal, Joan of Arc, Christopher Marlowe, Pocahontas, John Keats, etc. Their demise not only left a memorial of youthful looks but has preserved commemorative and glorious memoirs and celebrations.
Time had no way to remove their names from the pantheon of reminisces.
There are consoling and restless moments for ordinary run of men like us. When we are gone, our children will remember us. But when our children are dead and their children after them, our names will be lost. Such is fate.
There is nothing a person can do. Not even clout, power and authority can sustain eternal prominence.
And quite ironically, no one knows the Kings, Emperors or famous people during their time can claim prominence after a hundred years. It is quite perplexing but there are those who succeeded unwittingly and they are only ordinary persons with exceedingly extraordinary patience for their crafts. Nobody knows who was the King during the time when a vagabond was entreating spiritually all by himself inside the cave in 1100s? And that vagrant in a cavern was spoiled during his wasted youth and was even imprisoned for a year. After his release, he devoted himself in prayers and we still know him today as Saint Francis of Asisi, the patron saint for ecologists.
No one can ascertain who among those who spent a day in this world would tread the road to obscurity or will be remembered warmly.