I first heard the term life will out while watching a medical show on TV and was intrigued by its meaning. The origin of the term seems to be a mystery, although the theory behind the expression was mentioned in the first Jurassic Park movie. Many people attribute its first usage to the American mythologist and writer Joseph Campbell.
Your existence is an expression of a cosmic law that says life will out– Joseph Campbell
I am not sure which cosmic law Campbell was referring to but he did believe that life will always find a way to continue itself. Campbell was not referring to an unscripted form of continuation as represented by the Law of Conservation of Mass and Energy, where life is perpetuated through the passing of energy from one form to another. I believe the term life will out refers to a purposeful and intentional set of actions by a biological entity which has, as an outcome, the assurance of its existence.
We have all seen examples in nature where a tiny plant will push its way through a crack in concrete so it may find its way to life-sustaining air. Certain toads have poisonous skin to ward off predators, hedgehogs throw their painful needles when under attack, and jellyfish have been adapting to change for over 700 million years. The Mariana Trench, located in the western Pacific Ocean, is home to sea creatures that have adapted to life over 7 miles below the oceans surface.
OUR DIGITAL AFTER LIFE
Humans are one of the most adaptive of all creatures and as a species we are still evolving. Most certainly the human race will continue to perpetuate itself but how do we, as individuals, ensure that we live on long after our physical body has ceased to be? How do we create our immortality while we are still alive such that we remain a viable part of this world?
It comes as no surprise that software companies have developed services for creating your digital afterlife. DeadSocial is a free online service that lets people live on through their social media accounts. Users can upload an unlimited number of photos, video, audio and text messages which will be sent out on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the DeadSocial website after their death. LivesOn will keep your Twitter feed alive by analyzing your old tweets and using them to predict what you would say. Their slogan: When your heart stops beating, you’ll keep tweeting. This form of digital immortality may appeal to a certain faction of society, probably those with tendencies towards self-adulation, but I believe most people want to leave a legacy that has more meaning than maintaining their Facebook status.
WE ARE REMEMBERED BY HOW WE LOVE AND WORK
The two fundamental areas of accomplishment where we measure the success, or seeming failure, of our lives is love and work. All else, such as whether we were good at taking care of our home, we’re loyal to our favorite sports team, or we’re an avid reader are secondary attributes for which we are remembered.
The life given us, by nature is short; but the memory of a well-spent life is eternal. Marcus Tullius Cicero
Long after we have left the physical world, our life is perpetuated through the memories of those who knew us. Our immortality is created by the nature of our actions. I think most of us want to be remembered as a loving spouse or partner, a devoted family member, and a supportive friend. I am present on a daily basis to how I am interacting with the people around me, and whether I am leaving them with a positive experience of me. This awareness informs me that?I alone am responsible for the kind of memories I leave with others.
CREATING A LEGACY
So often we speak of someone in terms of what they did in their career and their work achievements. Many a person has created a legacy by writing a best-selling novel, developing a new technology, championing human rights, or demonstrating amazing athleticism. Others leave a simpler legacy, perhaps being remembered as the guy who never complained at work or the woman who had a smile for every customer. It is through our work that we have one of the largest opportunities to create our immortality and to perpetuate our existence.
If something comes to life in others because of you, then you have made an approach to immortality. Norman Cousins
The great theoretical physicist and best-selling author Michio Kaku is credited with the expression We should try to leave the world a better place than when we entered it. In the concluding chapter of his book Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos, Dr. Kaku writes: “As individuals, we can make a difference, whether it is to probe the secrets of Nature, to clean up the environment and work for peace and social justice, or to nurture the inquisitive, or encourage the?spirit of a young boy or girl by being a mentor.”
PUT YOUR STAMP ON THE FUTURE
Beyond love and work as a measure of the significance of our life, another way to leave a legacy is by contributing money or the equivalent to a charitable cause that reflects your values. Perhaps leaving money to your alma mater, in the form of an endowed scholarship, or setting up a donor-advised fund to support your favorite non-profit organization. You don’t need to be wealthy to leave behind a symbol of your life. Some people adopt a bench at their favorite hiking area, donate a flag and flag pole to a school, or have a tree planted in their name at a local park. Everyone has the ability to put their stamp on the future. It’s a way to make some meaning of your existence, one that says “Yes, world of the future, I was here. Here is my contribution, here is why I hope my life mattered.”
What will YOU leave as a legacy and a tribute to your life? Please leave us a comment and let us know your contribution to this world.
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