How Long Will You Be Remembered?
It’s a sobering thought for many, but the reality is that after you die you will most likely be totally forgotten after three generations. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Those who enjoyed fame or notoriety during their life may be written about or discussed for longer, but for most of us the generations to come will have no idea that we ever existed.
I have a six-year-old grandson who will most likely remember me, at least until he reaches old age. Chances are that his memory of my wife, his grandmother who recently passed, will fade as he gets older. I am sixty-eight years old and of course I remember my parents. I remember my grandparents as well, although many of my supposed memories are most likely remembrances of stories that were told about them. That is where it stops. I have no knowledge of my great grandparents or all the generations before them. Not their accomplishments or failures, their personalities, or the love they had in their hearts. It is as if they never existed, and the same will happen to us all.
This is a frightening concept to embrace and integrate into our psyches, and there are different psychological approaches that we can take. Physical life often fosters the concept of permanence, and the possibility of extinction is something that we avoid acknowledging or discussing. The fear of disappearing forever is horrifying to some and often has profound debilitating effects.
The materialist thinkers who believe that life ends with physical death might fear being extinguished forever, so they live their lives to the fullest. Not such a bad thing, is it? Living in the moment and making this world a better place makes a lot of sense. On the other hand, the same thinkers often choose to live their lives with disregard for the well being of others and the planet on which they reside. They believe that if they will truly be no more after death, engaging in self gratification only is the way to go. And, if there are no repercussions for bad behavior, how can we argue that they are wrong?
I think that the way in which we perceive memories and being forgotten may be wrong. Physical memories likely morph into something entirely different once we are beyond the body. I have been researching and writing about the evidence for life after physical death for many years. It is not my intention to dwell on the evidence now but suffice it to say that it has convinced me that we are more than our physical bodies. In physical terms there is no dispute that we will die and be forgotten. It is just the way it is. However, I believe it to be true that our memories and personality survive physical death. So, you might ask, “what good is memory survival if there is nobody left to remember me”?
This question assumes that we exist on this planet as sole operators, disconnected from each other and the universe in which we reside. However, if we think of thoughts and memories in non-physical terms and as something that connects us all and can never be destroyed, the linear progression of time in this realm is an illusion. I may not know anything about my great-grandfather on a conscious level, but we remain connected, nonetheless. My guess is that when we enter the next realm all these connections become apparent. Not only do our memories remain intact, but we are connected to the memories of all who are important to us.
In essence, memories are thoughts, thoughts are energy, and although they fade from the physical bodies, they remain vibrant and very much alive once beyond the body. The concept of being forgotten is simply a persistent illusion.