Today we will be discussing one of the most important aspects of Carpe Fatum. Our legacy.
The individual who will be helping us to understand the significance of legacy is a man named Thucydides.
Thucydides was a Historian of the Second Peloponnesian War. His work is praised for the insight it gives humanity into the Ancient Greek world, and it proves to be relevant still to this day: https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/06/09/the-thucydides-trap/.
He was the second man in western history to actually write down history1. The first was Herodotus, but he was criticized for not being objective, for romanticizing the actual events in order for them to fit a certain narrative and for blatantly making some things up. Thucydides decided to do something different. He wanted to record reality as it actually happened, or as close as he could get. He also, as you can see, wrote with the intent of being personally remembered.
The absence of romance in my history will, I fear, detract somewhat from its interest; but if it be judged useful by those inquirers who desire an exact knowledge of the past as an aid to the understanding of the future, which in the course of human beings must resemble if it does not reflect it, I shall be content. In short, I have written my work, not as an essay which is to win the applause of the moment, but as a possession for all time.
Pretty intense stuff. And here we are, two-thousand four-hundred and fifty years later, reading what he wrote. Isn't that incredible?
The concept of legacy is as important to understand as it difficult. For some it seems needless and narcissistic, to others it is the indelible mark we leave on the canvas of mankind; necessary and substratal to the furtherance of the species. The paradox of legacy, however, lies in the underlying motivation. Wishing for a legacy solely for the sake of legacy will prove to be vapid and utterly futile. Wanting to pursue a legacy due to fear of death—hoping that part of you can live on posthumously will prove equally futile, for nothing done out of fear can last. Legacy is also not limited to individuals: companies have legacies, generations have legacies, countries, political parties, or even seemingly trivial family events! All will be remembered—how, though, is up to us!
Your legacy is everything you leave behind, intentionally or not. It is the children you raised, and the children they raise. It is your work, your business, your art, your letters, every email you’ve written, every word you’ve ever spoken to another human being. Your legacy is the infinitely intricate web of communication you have created over the course of your life. Your legacy is the way your friends will speak of you after your death, it is the kindness you share with strangers, the wisdom you give to your children. It is everything you are. To achieve a truly undying legacy you must life your life courageously and intrepidly. You must seize your fate entirely, for only when we’ve seized our life, shall we overcome the inexorability of death.
Carpe Fatum, Examiners of life.
Shall you win the applause of the moment, or be a possession for all time?
The Golden Scribe
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” -Socrates
1 History comes from the Greek word historia, meaning “inquiry.” To write history was to simply record events as a means to understanding why and how things happened and their causes. Herodotus and Thucydides were the first two people in western history to record events with this in mind.