Does It Matter How Long We Are Remembered?

It is comforting to think that after we die, we will be remembered by others still living. But if we aren’t, what does that mean?

While human life spans have increased — in fact, more than doubled — in the last century or two, life is still exceedingly short. No one has managed to live past a hundred and fifty years old.

The way to immortality, then, is through our legacy. The children we raise. The work that we did that survives us. The stories and memories that continue to live on.

This is a common message through media. Emotional movies tug at our heartstrings, with characters saying that they feel the presence of a loved one. It is a common theme, understandably, at memorial services.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss a related question: ‘What gives a person value?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What makes you you?’


There are humans who have such an impact that they survive in our collective memory. It is usually through a discovery or artistic creation or a momentous feat of some kind. We know the name and achievements of someone who lived a thousand years ago. It would be nice if we were to have such an impact that we would be remembered or celebrated for hundreds or even thousands of years.

But would it really? It really makes no difference to you, after you die. Your death is not made better or happier if your name goes down in history.

Isn’t it more important to live your life in a fulfilling way right now? The future is uncertain at best, and won’t, barring unforeseen increases in human lifespans, include you?

Alternately, if you are not remembered, or only remembered for a short span of time, did your life, your existence, really mean anything at all?

Does it matter how long we are remembered?

Related questions: What gives a person value? Why are people afraid of death? What would you say to people in the future? How do you want to be remembered? Should we be concerned with legacy?

In What Ways Do You Defy Gender Stereotypes?

Society has some pretty well-established gender stereotypes. In what ways do you not match up with those stereotypes?

Gender stereotypes are pervasive, starting with people’s behavior towards infants. Boys are given blue blankets; girls pink. Young boys play with action figures, while girls play with dolls.

These assumptions continue to adulthood. Men like cars and sports, and are emotionally distant. Women, on the other hand, wear dresses and makeup, and tend to be flighty.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss a related question: ‘What gives a person value?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What makes you you?’


Of course, in reality, each and every one of us is an individual, and so we may find ourselves in agreement with all, some, or none of these commonly-held gender expectations.

Are there any ways in which you feel you don’t fit in with conventional gender roles? How so? And what does that difference mean for how you see yourself, and how others in the community might see you? In what ways do you defy gender stereotypes?

Related questions: How are you a non-conformist? How do you think others see you? Individual or society? What role do sports play in our society?

 

Are There Beliefs About Yourself You’ve Had To Let Go?

It is a simple fact that people change and grow over time. Have you ever been aware of your personal change, and jettisoned beliefs about yourself?

These changes can be something simple and straightforward. For example, later in life you might grow to like a food that you couldn’t stand before. Your belief about yourself (i.e. “I don’t like tomatoes”) might need to be amended, or even dropped.

But sometimes, the belief in question might be quite abstract, or even key to your concept of self. As you age, cornerstone beliefs, like political party, religious affiliation, or career aspirations might need to be tweaked. Some might even require a complete overhaul.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss a related question: ‘What beliefs do you have that might be wrong?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What makes a place feel like home?’


An extreme example of this would be a belief that you felt was central to who you are, one that you swore repeatedly would never change. And yet, over time, as your experiences increase, you attitude might shift subtly at first, and eventually become completely different. Has this ever happened to you?

Introspection can be a valuable tool in your mental health tool kit. Knowing what you believe in, and periodically reviewing those beliefs, can lead to your being honest with yourself. It might also lead to a mo0re fulfilled life.

Do you have any beliefs about yourself that have changed over time?

Related questions: How have you changed? What makes you you? How can we encourage meaningful conversation? What is necessary to change your mind?

 

 

How Have You Been Impacted By The Place Or Time Of Your Birth?

There are many factors that make one individual different from another. One of those factors might be the location or the time of your birth. What do you think about yours?

There is no doubt that each person is unique, set apart from all the others by their experiences as well as by their DNA. It is also true that we human beings like to celebrate birthdays. Are those two things related?

Certainly, fans of astrology like to believe that the stars in the sky at the time of your birth, and possibly the position of the planets as well, determine your personality. That’s why, they say, a Gemini is different from an Aries.

Rationally, it is hard to imagine the mechanism which would allow stars to have that kind of impact. However, there may be a more earthbound explanation. Could the time of your of your birth impact your development? Does a child born in the winter have a different development curve than one born in summer? Is a spring baby different from an autumn baby?


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss a related question: ‘What makes you you?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What gives a person value?’


Similarly, does the geographic location have any sort of long-term impact on an individual? In a very simple way, this must be true — a baby born in a country that has a lower infant mortality rate is more likely to grow to adulthood.

But what about more subtle differences? Does the simple act of being born in Seattle make for a different experience than being born in Atlanta? Is being born in a hospital drastically different from being born at home?

Or are the differences instead due to childhood development that comes later in life? Does it matter more where someone lives at, say, five years old than where they were at birth?

Most of us know, with a great level of certainty, exactly when and where we were born. Do those facts say anything in particular about us as people?

Related questions: What makes a community? Why do you live where you live? How many times did you move as a child? Birthday: Celebrate or not?

How Are Your Body And Mind Intertwined?

We tend to think about our mind as something apart from our body. In truth, the two are linked. Can you think of examples?

It seems natural to separate the mind and the body. If you fall, say, and break your leg, your mind is not overly impacted. You still have your full range of cognitive abilities.

Similarly, as we age, our body and our mind often do so at different rates. A ninety year old who can barely walk might be mentally sharp, while an otherwise healthy older person may be unable to remember the names of people he or she has known for years.

However, this division is arbitrary at best, and actively harmful at worst. The brain is a part of the body. They use the same blood supply. They are impacted by the same hormones. There is every reason to believe that what happens in one has an impact in the other.

This is obvious in certain ways. When the blood sugar drops, for example, it can make it difficult to think cohesive thoughts. Many people know to carry around a candy bar or other source of sugar to ingest in an emergency.

And yet, we may not recognize how the two are linked. Studies have shown that the physical act of making your mouth smile, even if you don’t feel like doing so, can brighten your mood. Changes in diet can be reflected in changes in attitude.

Are there other examples of ways in which you have noticed that your mind and your body are actually two sides of the same coin? How are the two intertwined?

Related questions: Mind or body? What do you do to clear your mind? What does it mean to be healthy? How can you change your attitude?