The enduring impact you leave beyond your lifetime is what legacy is
One often thinks about legacy when they are painfully prodded by mortality. With the Covid-19 pandemic, the voracious maw of time devoured moments relentlessly, leaving a trail of lost lives in its wake. As the world grieved, it also brought forth the existential question: What is the point of living?
Martin McDonagh cleverly gets the audience questioning this in the film The Banshees of Inisherin (2022), where its two central characters were fundamentally at odds. One wanted to leave a legacy at all costs, the other just wanted to live life in the moment.
Catalysed by the pandemic, I could write late night monologues riffing on the obvious — living in the moment because #YOLO. A deep introspection however revealed it doesn’t have to be a zero sum game. You could live each day consciously bringing value to others (and yourself) in a microcosm, as well as work towards leaving an indelible mark on the tapestry of history. The argument here is that you become a creator of circumstance and have a rewarding life, leaving the world better than you got it.
A legacy can motivate people to continue the work and carry on the values and ideas of those who came before them but it doesn’t necessarily have to involve grand accomplishments or fame
Small acts of kindness and generosity can also leave a positive effect and contribute to the world. Ultimately, it comes down to our journey of becoming individuals who embody and contribute value. Just like Aristotle’s classical five elements, we could view how we deliver value — tangibly in the form of assets, emotionally through empathy, through serving others with our strengths, through enriching relationships and personally, motivated by one’s guiding principles. Ultimately, it’s up to each individual to define what leaving a legacy means to them and how they can best achieve it.
As a digital marketer and CEO of marketing agency Starnode, my curiosity is piqued when considering the revolutionary ramifications of digital technology on the creation, sharing, and preservation of legacies, having explored the various ways legacies can be crafted. Online platforms, social media, and archives have transformed the way we document and pass on our stories, achievements, and values. Every person possesses the capacity to forge a digital trail through their online presence and engagements, which holds the power to construct enduring legacies, granting forthcoming generations a window into their lives, passions, and principles.
Social media platforms, personal websites, and blogs provide spaces for individuals to curate their identities and share their experiences with the world. Technology has democratised the world to expand the reach and influence of one’s legacy. Individuals can connect with a global community, transcending geographical boundaries.
The film ‘Banshees’ adeptly captures the profound sense of isolation, evoking an immediate sensation of being among the scarce inhabitants on a minuscule island
Set today, however, digital technology could alleviate that by providing a platform for voices that might have otherwise remained unheard.
Online archives and digital libraries ensure that valuable cultural artefacts, historical documents, and creative works are digitised, safeguarding them from the ravages of time. Traditional objects and mediums seem like a pinprick of candlelight against the raging sun that is the immortal digital content. Having said that, we need to mentally rehearse for catastrophes and be mindful of the content we create. The permanence is real and can be used for good by being recognisable amidst the noise of the digital realm. This is true for both individuals and brands alike.
Your legacy is beyond an economic proposition and eternally resonates within the collective cultural consciousness.
The time is short and the task is abundant.
I am Shashwith Uthappa, and my name means eternity, reflecting the profound influence I aspire to leave on this world.
Featured image: Kai-Chieh Chan / Pexels