How to exist for many centuries.

The nature of existence

'Life is a journey, not a destination.' There is a bit of controversy over who should be credited for these words of wisdom. The method used to determine who gets credit, involves checking for the oldest known text, where someone has written it down. So the fact that my great, great, great grand father said it so many times to his kids doesn't count. Even if he did write it down, and the 'right people' never see it, he will never get the credit for it - he will never be remembered for the quote.

The interesting thing is that I only intended to use the above quote as a prelude to make a case for why the story of everyone's life journey, needs to be captured and shared. In the process of researching the quote, I discovered that the story behind the quote itself, presents a strong case on its own.

If we accept the proposition that life is a journey, then our natural inclination as we go through that journey, is to be able to recount what we experienced during that journey, to others (especially our loved ones). If we don't share our stories, it will be like it never happened. It will be like we never existed, just like my great, great, great grand father and his wise quotes.

Cueva de las Manos is a cave or a series of caves located in the province of Santa Cruz, Argentina, 163 km south of the town of Perito Moreno. It is famous for the paintings of hands. The art in the cave dates from 13,000 to 9,000 years ago. The people that made these imprints where attempting to immortalise their stories. They were crying out for recognition, to be remembered and to live on through their imprints. Sadly, they didn't leave any pictures of themselves, or even just their names. My great, great, great Gran could have been among them. But we will never know, because they never existed. They never existed because we have not discovered any other story they left, besides their hand prints.

Cave of Hands

A person only truly exists, in the grand scheme, when others recognise that person's existence. That recognition comes through the sharing of stories. Stories are how we live on through time. Our stories help us give meaning to an otherwise meaningless existence.

Once upon a time

'Every experience is moment in time', is my family saying. I came up with it, after some deep philosophical thinking. I don't care if anyone has said it and written it down before me. Someone else probably said it before them, because it is a deeply fundamental and universal truth about our existence. For what it's worth, I have written it down and I'm sharing it with you, so I better get credit for it.

Didn't mean to rant, just needed to get that off my chest. The main point about 'time', is that we recount our life experiences through time. Our lives are an accumulation of all the moments in our lives, from birth to death.

A moment in time byy Brian Odike

As we journey through life, every moment is story. We can immortalise any moment, if we capture its story. And there are two main ways to capture stories:

1. Words - both written and spoken. Spoken words can be spread through word-of-mouth and passed on through generations. And given the human tendency to exaggerate, spoken stories can quickly become legendary. Spoken words can also get lost as human memory fades.

Written stories externalise the human memory. They are more likely to survive for many centuries. They could even skip several generations and still remain alive. If my great, great, great Gran had captured some of his moments in written form, his memory will still be alive today.


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