- Education and Science
When a person departs life from Earth, one leaves something behind. They can be:
Family where one will be deeply missed by the other members,
Friends with whom one shared common ideals and or hobbies,
Works that one did to make a living and or that pleased one’s senses,
Plenty of material possessions that need to be properly taken care of.
Some people’s passing will be:
Remembered by the family members only,
A great relief to the others,
Celebrated in the history book,
A cautionary tale to the future generations.
How a person’s passing is remembered depends on how a person lived. But, the person’s impact to the future of mankind is less obvious and hard to determine when the lives of those people that are changed or influenced by the person are taken into consideration. The legacy of a person can propagate many generations into the future.
Parent and Offspring
As a parent, the person provides one’s children a safe and comfortable environment to grow up, educates them about the culture and tradition identity, and prepares them to live away from home independently one day. But, not every person can be a good parent providing the necessary loving care for the children to grow up. As a result, some offspring will have a difficult time adjusting to a stress and competitive real life both emotionally and mentally. On the other hand, no one goes through life without having to face and solve uncommon problems. What is important is that a parent gives the world a new and unique human being. A parent not only guarantees the continuation of the human species but also introduces change and diversity that are vital to its survival. Who can say whose legacy is more significant – the parent’s offspring or the offspring’s direct or indirect activities that change the course of the human civilization.
Hero and Villain
We are taught to look up to the legacy of the hero and to look down to that of the villain. The hero in the spur of the moment ignores one’s safety to come to the aide of the other in a mortal situation while most people just stand by the sideline and watch the enfolding drama. On the other hand, the villain puts one’s well being ahead of everything else and is not hesitating to use deception and or violence to get what one needs. Heroic act is usually once-in-a-lifetime deal and it is usually not a choice. Not everyone can be a hero. On the other hand, the villain will likely continue one’s disruptive behaviors in the society until one is stopped by the capital punishment. In our more than 7 thousand years of civilization, there seems to be just as many heroes and villains. We have gained valuable lessons from both characters and their legacies - the heroes got mention for their bravery and sacrifice, the villain for their deviousness and selfishness. Both legacies show that we are callable of great things when the situation demands and we are capable of great destruction that needs to be checked.
Teacher and Thief
The teacher gives people something meaningful and useful while the thief takes away from people something valuable and personal. Not everyone can be a teacher. The profession requires dedication, patient, and good communication skill. Not everyone wants to be a thief. The profession risks injury and imprisonment. Both professions change people’s life in a direct way and leave a legacy of contrast in what is good and bad, constructive and destructive, hope and despair. Some of the teacher’s pupils will become a thief and some thieves are more honorable, trustworthy, and compassionate than the ordinary law-abiding citizens. There is bad in good and vice versa. The legacies of the teacher and thief demonstrate that we can only choose to be what we can be. Not everyone will like the role that one gets stuck with. The whole thing makes sense only from afar over times.
Our civilization was and is built from the previous generations’ legacies and the legacies of people from all walks of life. Some legacies are noteworthy, some are infamous, and some are seemingly insignificant. But, they are necessary to make the following possible:
Our schools started with only two subjects of study – Philosophy and Religion. Today, there are hundreds of unique fields of study,
We started with only sign language. Today, there are hundreds of official spoken and written languages,
Our clothing has evolved from animal skins to high fashions made of body-fitting woven threads that came from animal hairs , silk, or synthetic materials,
Our living quarter has improved from cave to temperature-controlled structures that can withstand moderate earthquake and heavy thunder storm,
Our communities used to be ruled by the strong. Now, everyone has to obey the laws, etc.
Human life is characterized by interaction, interdependence, and intermingle. It is impossible for a person not to leave one’s mark during the life time. The result is that almost no human endeavor can go unnoticed – the good will be assimilated, the bad will serve as a warning, and the ugly will be tolerated.