The Grumpy Old Man and I had a conversation last night about why people feel the need to 'be somebody'. It really got me thinking. Of all the people I have known who have died, none of them were 'somebody', in the sense of being famous, or contributing to human existence in a way that is remembered by the masses long after they lived.
They were all good people, they lived good lives.
The Grumpy Old Man was remembering an old friend of his who lived in apparently misery his entire life, and commented that his life was 'such a waste', I countered with the idea that the misery of that men created a benchmark for other people, in as much as if some people weren't miserable all their lives, other people wouldn't have something by which to measure their happiness.
So much of our societal experience is about 'success', and the definition of success varies considerably. Some people believe money is success, and the more you have of it, the more successful you are. Others believe love is success, and the more love people have for you, the more successful you are. For some, being married, or otherwise partnered is a measure of success. For others inventing something that is used in every household is what it takes to be successful. For some, it is saving lives; think doctor, firefighters, scientist, police, and social workers.
For some it is prestige, the admiration of family, friends and strangers.
And all of it is transitory.
I find great comfort in that.
One day no one will remember who I am. My great, great, great grandchildren might come across my name one day when doing a family tree activity at school, but it will only be a name, and will hold no real meaning for them. Because, essentially I am dust.
You see, it reminds me that we are all one. We are then ever moving mass of energy that passes from here to there, intrinsically connected to one another. No matter how we try to assert ourselves beyond that mass, to say, 'Look at me, I'm special!', we will always return to the mass, and we will forever just be.
This means we are never forgotten, really. The good people and the miserable people alike, are worth exactly the same weight in the end. The Mother Theresa, and the child who never breathed oxygen are just as valuable. So are the monsters, they return to the energy as well, and are diluted into insignificance, or at least as much significance are the most powerless person on the planet.
All my adult life I have had the goal of being a Docter of Philosophy, to achieve this goal will make me very happy, but it won't make me more than heroine addicted waif at the train station.
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