Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Google Finds

The other evening I got stuck for a while on a clue for my crossword puzzle. As I happened to be sitting in my office by the computer I turned to Google. About an hour later I had completely lost track of my original motivation for sitting down at the computer. Instead I got side-tracked reading biographies of a dozen or more folks who were apparently pretty big stuff in their day. Dictators, dancers, composers, spies, politicians, actors. The problem was that I had never heard any of their names before. These were folks who had lived their allotment of days within the last hundred years or so and died within the last couple of generations. Now their stories are essentially lost to the ages.

When I came back to myself and remembered what I had originally intended to search for, I began to ponder my own mortality. Is there anything that I have done or could do that would make my name or my accomplishments linger? I am pretty certain that the answer is no. Sure my daughter will hold my memory after I am gone, and maybe if she has children, then they might get to know a grandfather and have a relationship with him. Possibly too some element of my research work might be cited by some future scientist, although I cannot imagine that to be the case. I have heard of famous people that expend countless energy worrying about their legacy. It becomes something that haunts their thinking as their careers begin to wind down. In truth, I am not particularly concerned with such things. I don't say that in any sort of defeatist tone, it is just that it is not important to me. Fifty years from now I am reasonably sure that some database search engine likely might pop up my name due to some query, but it will in no way capture anything personal about me. As I said, that is fine with me.