“They say you die twice; once when they bury you in the grave, and the second time is the last time that somebody mentions your name.”
Dr. Irvin D. Yalom
Wikipedia will define a legacy as something that is handed down from one period of time to another; a sort of ancestor-down-to-predecessor agenda.
In more loose terms a legacy is widely understood as a personal heritage established throughout one’s life by virtue of their actions and achievements; a living entity of sorts, of someone that is left behind beyond the doors of dead to be revered and remembered with fondness and respect. The concept of ones legacy is a deeply rooted aspect of our society today, across a multitude of cultures. You will often here people say, “What will people remember of you when you die?”. Whether its East Africa or South East Asia or Europe, human civilizations have help value in the need to lead a life deemed honorable and be remembered.
World over, a diverse list exists of individuals who have left a great legacy not only on their communities but also the world at large and the list can be accumulated at a moments noticed by many. Nelson Mandela is remembered for his contribution to the end of Apartheid in South Africa as well as his humility and his call to reconciliation of a deeply divided multi-racial society.
Albert Einstein is remembered for his contribution to physics in aspects that have made many of today’s scientific breakthroughs possible, most fascinating and popular being being his Theory Of Relativity. These and many others are figures highly respected and adored by many communities and act as role models to ensuing generations.
It is the general norm that living a life worth remembering means upholding the morals of the society and engaging in ‘good deeds.’ Values such as kindness and generosity are highly valued by the society as well as bravery and courage in the face of adversity. Great achievement in one’s field of profession or other aspects is also commendable. One’s legacy is also a spiritual matter, especially for communities that practice the belief in the afterlife, whereby a worthy life led and legacy left guarantees happiness beyond death while the opposite means suffering in the life hereafter.
I believe the concept of a legacy is important in the sense that it sets a bench mark for people to try and live their best lives in which they fully realize their potential and and at peace with one another and the community. In the effort to leave a good legacy, individuals and civilizations alike act as fruitful role models to subsequent youthful generations to act upon.
However, I feel that many a time the tight knit presumptions of society may not be the best guidelines to deem one’s actions and efforts towards causes they believe in as honorable. Therefore I deem it essential for one to have , to a certain extent, a sense in individuality and willingness to discern for themselves what is honorable and what is not.