Some thoughts on immortality

22.08.2009 | Author: Eric Reiss
My grandfather had a long, good life. He had a successful professional career. He was respected by his peers. He was married for 50 years and raised a fine family.

Carl E. Zibold died in 1965.

Apart from my vague childhood recollections, I have little to remember him by – a few photos and his wallet (I have no idea how I happen to have his wallet). The wallet is a curious microcosm – a driver’s license, an insurance card, a lodge membership, and professional accreditations – the paper ephemera of a distant era.

As is often the case, after a generation or two, folks from the pre-digital age are quietly forgotten, even though they may have impacted on many lives. The artifacts are few, the memories faded. There are only five living family members who ever met my grandfather.

We continue to experiment with social-networking tools, yet I can’t help but wonder what effect this will have on our own “immortality”. Will our digital personae last longer than a human generation or two? Will we be remembered beyond a small family circle? If so, how? And why?

Will we be judged on our number of LinkedIn connections? Or friends on Facebook?

Will we be remembered because of our profile on Crowdvine? Or our musings on Twitter?

What legacy will we leave?

Perhaps some of us will achieve wider recognition because we left the world a better place. Because we contributed actively to moving mankind in a positive direction. Because we understood that personal priorities must ultimately sync with the greater good.

Perhaps immortality depends on the value of our ideas, not the breadth of our network.

What do you think? What DO you think?



"Hi Grandpa! Welcome to cyberspace. Who knows where we'll end up? I miss you."