Edeline D’Souza, 1 Oct 2012
Jealousy, greed, self-gratification, self-indulgence. We think of these things as characteristic of the Human Race. Everything we do seems to be for an ulterior motive.
Maybe it’s because we are the only species aware of our mortality; it is a motive like no other to endeavour to ensure that in this life you get the best possible experience you can while you’re alive, and thereafter even more important, is to leave behind your mark on humanity, your legacy, something that shows others you were not one of the unknowns. And so, in this aim, emperors, kings, dictators, revolutionaries and many more without official titles, in the name of greed; slaughter, kill, maul, murder and torture others like themselves; others with dreams, ambitions, lives and families, to give the rest an example of their power, to create an idol of themselves in people’s minds. Sometimes it seems hard to believe we haven’t been driven to extinction by in the human’s quest for our own gain.
Being so aware of our mortality puts a pressure on us, reminds us, that we have but little time; little time to do everything we are ever going to do, to be everything we are ever going to be, limited time to become memorialised in history and so we are driven to meet our goals, with such a passion that we then turn a blind eye to the rest of humanity in our selfish pursuit, diluting the importance of morals, values and religion that governs normal civilisation, creating an emotionless, goal-driven machine that may one day be remembered in halls of, not fame, but rather infamy.
We are all under this same cognitive stress, this same biological ticking, each second closer to life’s end; that with each second lost inversely increasing in desperation.
Yet, like so many before us, we aren’t bound to create chaos to be remembered, but rather as Jason Silva so eloquently expresses “[A] solution to the problem of death is the creative solution, of course involves wanting to create a work of transcendent value that will outlive you symbolically and grant you that immortality, in a metaphorical, symbolic way”.
There are names in history that connect themselves not with war, destruction and selfish desires, but with works of beauty, timeless classic, ideas and innovations that immortalized their passions, their ideals, and their genius. Michelangelo and Raffaelo, Mozart and Beethoven, Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton, people who took what they knew, what they wondered about, and created something that resonated with humanity, which created a legacy to inspire, to aspire to be.
There is no definition to life, to how one is supposed to live a life. We all leave our mark on the planet in different ways, but to leave a mark that will be honoured eternally, you must live life with everything you have, use your imagination and creativity. We must not be barred by the norm from being who you are capable of being, just because of the fear of censure, because the greatest minds became great only after accepting the criticism that came with their genius, but continued to try and reflect their ideas and reveal it to the world.