Though I think and talk about it a lot, I am not morbidly obsessed with death – including my own. As a fact of life even more difficult to think, let alone talk, about than the others, it seems to me normal that we acknowledge and accept this inevitable last act of our life, which will have no sequel.
The title of this post is short-hand for what will be left of our lives after the fatal day. Famous people are “immortalized” in the statues, street-names and anniversaries honoring them. Entrepreneurs leave different monuments behind them in the form of corporations and businesses; engineers and architects are remembered for the bridges and other constructions they designed and built. Doctors, teachers and sometimes even lawyers are remembered with gratitude and affection by those they helped. Scientists, politicians, authors and artists have often made memorable contributions to human welfare, progress and culture. The rest of us will continue to exist in coffins and urns, but also hopefully in descendants and perhaps in the memories of people who loved or hated us.
I hope to continue to exist after my death in what I have written. I will know nothing of future readers’ reactions to my book and to my blog. To judge from the reactions I get at present, they will be a mixed bag, including, I hope, an occasional “like”. There is, inevitably, a certain measure of satisfaction if not arrogance in imagining such post-mortem intellectual survival. But I like to think that what I have written will continue to help at least some people to enjoy life – as I have for at least half of mine – free of religious illusions. It’s what keeps me writing posts like this.