With Halloween just over, this is the last deep dive into the one emotion that drives most, if not all, of our major life decisions – Fear.
• Part one: The Fear of Death,
• Part two: The Fear of Dying Alone
• Part three: The Fear of Being Alone
• Part four: The Fear of Not Being Successful
• Part five: The Fear of Going Bald (+ The Fear of Getting Old)
Throughout wars and battles and helping the US stave off great threats to its security, this is the poem (titled Indispensable Man) that former General and US President Dwight Eisenhower carried around in his pocket:
Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining
Is a measure of how you’ll be missed.
Does it piss you off that people 120 years ago never talked about you? Or in 1664 that they didn’t? 235BC? Or what about even just 5 years before you were born? Well, worrying about what people are going to think of you –and if they’re going to remember you– 5, 10, 50, 120 or 500 years after you’re dead is exactly the same thing.
Whether people are talking about you, before and after you’re not living, has exactly 0.0000000000000 effect on your life (and the quality of it).
Leaving a legacy doesn’t improve your life, especially since you will have no life to enjoy it. Fuck leaving a legacy, live your life
There’s football players, musicians etc. who talk about what they’re going to be remembered for. But it won’t take long for people to a) forget what you did, b) forget your name and c) forget you even existed. People may go to your funeral, and they may remember you for a while. But then they die. Soon you’re not even a name.
Life is about leaving a contribution, not aiming for post-humous recognition.
When I die, I don’t want a funeral.
And I don’t want to be buried (ideally, I’d like my corpse to be returned to nature, by being thrown to a great white shark in the Pacific ocean or to a grizzly bear in Alaska. But carting a corpse to the middle of the sea or to the North American tundra seems to me like a logistical nightmare so I don’t think it’s going to happen).
And should anyone feel they want to give me a funeral, I’d only support it if my name wasn’t mentioned even once, and there was absolutely no way you could determine that they were talking about me. This would mean that the people there also could not be people who actually knew me, as you’d soon work out whose funeral it was (maybe actors could be hired?). So if no one there knew me, wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of a funeral? Yep, exactly (and anyway, whatever, I won’t have any idea of all this, so I don’t care what happens at all. Feed me to a bear, set me on fire and throw my corpse into the Yarra river, dress me up like a woman and parade me around the town square, knock yourself out).
That’s why enjoying this life now, without focusing on some stupid ass attempt to be ‘successful’, is what the point of life is.
Because no matter how much money or fame you get, you end up in the exact same place that every single person who ever lived will. Alexander the Great amassed a mega-empire, and had a city named after him in Egypt, which still remains today (Alexandria). But his mule driver ended up in the exact same place as him.