Are we being good ancestors?
It’s the kind of question that burrows into your mind. The more you consider it, the more it seems to contain.
There’s a question that keeps echoing in my mind: are we being good ancestors?
It’s attributed to Jonas Salk, an American virologist who developed one of the first successful polio vaccines. I encountered it months ago, quoted offhand in an interview.
I didn’t think too much of it at the time, but it’s the kind of question that burrows into your mind. The more you consider it, the more it seems to contain. In fact, that embedded intention—to be a good ancestor—feels to me like the blueprint for a meaning of life.
We are all forgotten, eventually. But to the limited extent that we will each be remembered, it seems prudent to make the memory a positive, impactful one for those who will experience it.
As Auden put it, in a poem remembering W.B. Yeats:
…he became his admirers.
What a beautiful idea to hold onto as we start the new year.
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