Thousand Reflections : The Quest for Immortality

Issue#3

About Thousand Reflections: Thousand Network is full of people from all walks of life and background. Here, we try to tap into this collective wisdom by offering a prompt every week and sourcing short responses from the members.

This week’s prompt:

Human beings have always wanted to live longer in this beautiful universe. We’ve tried to invent technologies to increase our life spans, even achieve immortality. Even after failing for several thousand years, we still generate countless myths about it, pursue the ever-elusive fountain of youth in our words and our technology.

Somehow, many seem to have realized that while they cannot make themselves immortal, they can live forever in name. We see this urge from ancient rulers to modern day people. Ancient people built large tombs, domes and buildings, cities, and artworks in the hopes these things would bear their name for eternity, achieving a kind of surrogate immortality. These days we don’t make the same kinds of things, but we still do it — with better technology.

In 100–200 words, offer your thoughts on this phenomena. Have you ever thought about this? How do you want to be remembered after you leave and is it something you plan for? Why do you think this urge is so fundamental to humans?

How do we remember ourselves today? Do we care? Let’s take a look.

Gillian Rhodes

Generally, people seem to recognize that life is short, but history is long, and that humans are very small, but the world is very big. Because of that, one of the most fundamental desires of the human ego is to feel significant. Only living now, in this place, is not enough for the ego.

Personally, I try to live in a state past ego and find a place where these kind of desires aren’t so pressing. But I do still think very much about legacy and the kind of trail I leave behind me.

These days it’s not as simple as making a big building and putting your name on it — it’s not even just things you make. You can make an empire of buildings, but tweet something rip-roaringly dumb, and suddenly your legacy is tarnished forever.

That means everything I publish, post, react to, comment on, etc (including this article), I think about. Before I press “like” on Facebook for example, I think, is this consistent with the person I want to be? Of course I’m still human and I don’t monitor it 100% of the time…but I do think about it, and I do try.

Shihab Uddin

Our lives are so small. Days, months and years are just some numbers which will be really insignificant if we fail to capture the real value of the moments

But what is value? For some people it’s making money, for some it’s having good intellectual ability and social status, for others it’s making an impact, affecting other people’s lives. There are also some who don’t know yet what is value for them, some even who die still trying to earn a decent living and never have time to think about value.

I think people love their names so much. It’s a common human phenomena. I also do feel the same way. I have seen in earlier days people built large golden monuments or rare tombs, forts, cities and many others things just so their names would be remembered. Even in modern days we name institutions, roads, airports for people of significance, who created lots of value for the society.

My aspiration of life is to do something meaningful for me as well as the world. If somehow I create enough value through my work, maybe the world will remember me someday, maybe not. But currently my focus is mostly on creating value and I do not want to think about more.