But there is a moment in life when one thinks about the legacies one leaves as they exit the world. How could one join this pollution—it’s only acceptable form—of intelligence, existence’s “cognitive database”.
Let us consider the dead at this moment. Of this, I would focus on the distant read—those who have been dead a long time but have their histories imprinted in popular culture. Once in a while, however, I will consider the recent dead. Humans, poor1 in spirit, consider the last words of a great to be his legacy. This is not the legacy left by people and should not be taken as a legacy as there are many factors which surround the last words of a human; one and the most obvious being his realization that his/her time as human is coming to an end—consider the emotional mayhem! So, for purposes of this write-up, I shall term this act—rather ludicrous in nature—of assuming the last words of a human to be their legacy as LWegacy—i.e. L. W. Legacy i.e. Last Word Legacy.
Einstein: His theory of relativity2 has left the world in shambles. It broke the ground on which modern day physics was studied. Science, you see, is only but a means of understanding. But to understand, one must assume3. Therefore, it can be said of science that it is merely an understanding of assumptions. Einstein’s last words fell on deaf ears ears which were not properly attuned to his speech and a mind whose understanding is not trained in his linguistics. Thus Einstein’s lwegacy was lost. But his legacy, that which opened this paragraph, not only stands, but runs; thanks to the feet of recent geniuses.
Steve Jobs …or as he is better known to me: “the one who took the bite off the Apple”. Some called him a shrewd businessman, others called him amoral. Apple fanatics know him as the face of the company, and because of this, the WWDC speeches slowly rose to power levels of ancient religious rituals. Steve, while laying on his bed, according to his wife’s account, uttered these last words before he passed on: “oh wow… oh wow… oh wow…”. Now, there are many theories which this can give rise to. But I am not in the business of closing minds to assumptions. You may leave whatever you think his lwegacy was in the comment below. His legacy however, in my opinion, is a brand whose—in look and feel, usability and theatrics—is ever so intricate that it needs no functionality to sell.
Jean Blaise Pascal. Another mathematician hailing from the Christian church. The Christian chur… the Chri… hmm… the Christian church reeks! of this disgusting!! habit of looking down on the select group of its people who happen to be intellectuals, then raising their hands to God asking for intellect while wallowing in disgust rooted in the illusion that the church, in its sacrosanct-ity, lacks intellect. Phew… sorry about that very necessary tangent.
Jean Blaise Pascal was an intellectual from the church. He is known, among many other things, for his wager: a reason to believe in God regardless. Many interpretations of this wager float around the internet, alongside many adulterations; I choose not to add to these. Pascal came off as a misfit: described by T. S. Elliot as “a worldly man among ascetics and an ascetic among worldly men.” Pascal also contributed in developing the probability theory—the keen-eyed will immediately see why his wager was to believe in God regardless—although his Pascal’s original application of his probability theory was in gambling; what better? Shortly before his death, after a violent illness which perturbed his emotions alongside his physical wellbeing, his last words were “May God never abandon me”. From inference—remember my tangent on the mundane, blindly religious Christian folk?—his lwegacy is one of acceptance, community and togetherness. His legacy on the other hand will be in the areas of mathematics, and the probabilistic nature of the occurence of worldly events; their categorization as chance events.
Bruce Lee. Growing up under the teachings of Ip Man—creator or the Wing Chun martial art style—Bruce learns the antiques of martial art from a very young age. With a curious mind, he quickly grows bored of the “styleness” of the martial art industry and goes on to create a science of fighting, sans style—called it “The Fighting Method”. He objectively studied why we hit, how we should deliver the blow, where the blow will cause the most damage, how to evade blows, and so on. There is no known lwegacy of Bruce. Sources have it that he died in his sleep after taking a pain-reliever: Equagesic. But his legacy lives on in his “Fighting Method”.
Cleopatra: Seduction—that’s all I can say.
Genghis Khan: To begin on Genghis, I must first assert that I know little about this man. All I know is he was a warrior extraordinaire and a conqueror of many lands. I also know of his habit with women which dovetails into the rumor that there is a 5% chance that you are related to Genghis Khan. His last words are unknown; but it cannot be ruled out that a man of war may have died in war. His lwegacy is unknown but his legacy, from history, bellows “Conquer!”
Voltaire: Writer famous for his Philosophical Dictionary—a ginormous epic colossus of a project spanning 2408 ePub pages geared towards defining words in their philosophical essence instead of using quickfire words to define words i.e. dousing flame with flame expecting cool—he was known to observe and share his observations in writing. He is also known for the famous quote below this paragraph. As was the custom in his time, a priest is assigned to a dying man to ensure the soul of the dying man goes to heaven—this is an act that is not unique to Christianity, other belief systems do this in form of rituals and ceremonial burials. When the priest asked Voltaire to renounce Satan, Voltaire replied, “Now now, my good man, this is no time for making enemies.” Thus was his lwegacy.
All that I know is that I know nothing.
These humans left legacies in the world so deep—some contemplative—that humans with life, humans of the now, still mull over their words; irrespective of their death and decay. Some of these legacies have gone on to shape the world view for men, others creeds, others cultures and even nations. At this point, if this was a self-help blog post, I would be trying to answer the question: “how did these people do this?” Simple: there are multiple answers but here are a couple answers you may find useful.
- I couldn’t care less about the “how” as long as the human phenomenological capabilities still encompass their possibilities.
- I am bound by causality to probe and infer—two acts which are in-themselves insufficient in producing concrete answers—only to play around in circles of uncertainty.
Just thought of this — “He is who he says he is”, said the onlooker. “But who I say I am is never who I am” replied the observed. Thus should be the nature of every man. Matter of fact, this is the nature of all men. But the necessary forgetfulness is what allows us to play the role of ourselves as we
know assume it to be.
- by poor, I do not mean wretched, but “less”—sufferers of a certain myopia—either in the life of the deceased or in the gospel of his work. ↩
- Explaining Relativity in a very high and less technical abstraction boils down to “this exists because of that”. A variation of that statement, being “there can be no that without this”, gives rise to the very complex phenomena like The Butterfly Effect, Doppler Waves and Quantum Entanglement amongst others. ↩
- Such is the flaw of our scientific prospects; the bind onto forever refining the knowledge we already know and have. One may argue that insight must come from the external because its enlightenment is necessarily orthogonal to every mode of knowledge hitherto known to the human. This is but a consequence of individualism. ↩