Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Who Will Live Forever?

Immortality is clearly something I do not crave, but it is a subject worth exploring a bit more. Since science has found no way to accomplish immortality of the mind and body, let’s think about achieving immortality through our deeds and words. Who has achieved this? What people out there have made such amazing works from their minds that they will not be forgotten well beyond their mortal lives? Feel free to add to my list.

William Shakespeare: As a poet and playwright, clearly there is no better example of a person whose works have endured the test of time.

Leonardo Da Vinci: A great thinker, inventor, and artist.

The Buddha: His philosophy for life reaches across many boundaries.

Jesus Christ: Whether you think he was the son of God or not, he clearly has lived beyond his 33 years through his teachings, religion, and controversies.

Mohammed: Well, many of us wish he had not become a prophet. Because of the religion he founded, we will all remember him and his influence (for good or evil) on society.

Albert Einstein: Many of you may disagree with this, as his works really haven’t stood a very long test of time. However, I say that his publications regarding relativity will have lasting effects on the progress of the physical sciences.

If you have others you think deserve listing, please do. Make your bar high. I want no fools strutting their hour on the stage. Ah, let’s have some Shakespeare from Macbeth, Act V, Scene V.

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow; a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

But, there is just as good as a poem to accompany this post, although you may have never heard the name.

I Think Continually of Those Who Were Truly Great

By Stephen Spender

I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul’s history
Through corridors of light where the hours are suns,
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Was that their lips, still touched with fire,
Should tell of the spirit clothes from head to foot in song.
And who hoarded from the spring branches
The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.

What is precious is never to forget
The delight of the blood drawn from ageless springs
Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth;
Never to deny its pleasure in the simple morning light,
Nor its grave evening demand for love;
Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
With noise and fog the flowering spirit.

Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields
See how those names are feted by the waving grass,
And by the streamers of white cloud,
And whispers of wind in the listening sky;
The names of those who in their lives fought for life,
Who wore at their hearts the fire’s center.
Born of the sun they traveled a short while towards the sun,
And left the vivid air signed with their honor.

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