Have a look around. The world is changing at an unimaginable speed. Inventions and advancements in technology have directed us towards a new digital planet. How many of us remember how our surroundings looked like even a decade ago? It’s AD 3700, and Homo sapiens is no more than a memory. History suggests some of our knowledge will outlive us – but history might not be the best guide. However, how many individuals take out their time to have a look at what history has got for us?
By the year 3700, Earth would be far too hot for any human to call it home. The blood and sweat we shed out for sharing our knowledge and making a mark on people’s life with our intellects, would count for absolutely nothing if not preserved properly. And what about our wisdom – will any of it outlive us?
The conventional answer would be a negation or disagreement. Since knowledge requires a knower, and there will be absolutely no knowing minds around at that time. But if information survives, possibly in books or hard drives, maybe then the knowledge isn’t quite dead but just dormant, ready to be resurrected by other insightful minds that will evolve or come to visit Earth in the distant future.
At first, that seems believable: after all, we have done similar things with ancient knowledge. For example, take the reconstruction of the Antikythera mechanism, an ancient computer recovered from a shipwreck off the southern coast of Greece, or the translation of Egyptian hieroglyphics rediscovered from the Rosetta stone. So there is a probability that our meticulous work can bring previously lost wisdom back to life.
However, there is a certain cultural continuity with those antique times that allows us to draw interpretations and make leaps in the dark, since we know we are dealing with the legacy of other humans. Without that link, the existence of artifacts and raw data does not guarantee the existence of knowledge – and certainly not multilayered, complicated knowledge.
“Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.” ~ Lord Buddha
Some treasures for an individual to leave behind:
Our Books and Opuses
The books we read somehow shape our personalities and in turn our lives. They equip us with the wisdom and skills we need, and inspire dreams that set us on journeys of meaning and fulfillment. Our art and our creations from such inspiration are needed to be shared and treasured.
With such tech advancements, we have better chances to leave behind books and art than our ancestors. Those literacies would enrich the mind and soul, teach others how to lead better lives, and encourage greatness from within.
Learning from the proverb by Mark Twain, “The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them,” we must gain that advantage for ourselves, and leave it behind for generations to come.
What philosophies of living did we etch in the hearts of people who knew us? What lessons we taught through the lives we led? What can our children learn from us? Did we teach them about life? Did we teach them well? What ideals did we value in life? The legacy we create has an eternal impact after we are gone.
Terry Fox, who was an amputee athlete and activist, died at just 21 after he attempted to run across Canada to raise funds for cancer research. Thirty years after his death, The Terry Fox Run is still conducted around the world every year, in commemoration of his hope and vision. That run will continue to inspire, in pretty much the same way as Terry did.
We might not altogether leave behind such huge legacies, but we all have the ability to touch people’s lives in a way that will live on when we’re gone. Think about the mark you want to leave behind—how you can share a note of hope, goodness, and inspiration.
Pictures and paintings are treasures that bring history to the forefront. Take the time to immortalize the little things that make you happy, as well as your milestones and adventures. They’ll enlighten your peers, and leave a trail for further generations to trace their roots.
Our Unique Experiences, Ideas & Dreams
Who are we, aren’t we passengers in a life of experiences? But our experiences are invaluable if not recorded. They provide wisdom for those who read our stories, since they are unique to each of us.
Start treasuring your experiences in your own journals. It can be done on simple folios or over the cloud in a blog. Record each of your experiences at every moment that is priceless to you. It will help you create a treasured archive for your beloved after you are gone.
If we went about seeking only gold and silver throughout our lives, we’ll miss the point. Life is about the experiences we have—and what we learn and teach as a result of those treasured experiences.
Start building your treasures today and you’ll have them to share tomorrow.