Lasting Value: The value of having lived
Being another one of my early morning writings this topic came to me while listening to a Podcast about Beethoven and his 3rd Symphony which asked the question, "What does music mean?". The question is something I have often pondered and the result that for me is something that I quite like about pure music that has no words and doesn't elude to any theme or topic. Beethoven's Fifth doesn't mean anything in a topical sense but in a musical sense it really is all about those epic 4 notes. The piece is based on those four notes, three repeated and one a third lower that is held. The descending nature of the pattern is used to climb a mountain of inspiration that seems to always rise up higher and higher. But, it doesn't mean anything, literally speaking, and I really like that.
In a sense, our lives are a lot like a sound. It is dying from the moment it is born. We are in a state of passing from the beginning to the end and the exit is often not very nice. So in this act of passing what is it that makes any sort of sense out of living since it will all pass away anyway? Why live at all?
Is life meant for our own enjoyment? Are we to live to make sure we get our 'fair share' of lifes pleasures? Is life about building a family and passing down our heredity from generation to generation? Should we all embark on being the worlds greatest ...whatever? Should ambition drive us? What about love?
What is the point of living or of having lived? Why put yourself out there when fear and pain is the balance of the joys we are given in life?
There are many questions and thoughts pertaining to the value of having lived. The fact is that the result of life, the being born, living, and dying leaves behind a residue, a small residual of matter which lives on and is recycled by the society we leave behind. Like a pebble being thrown in the ocean in Sri Lanka having an effect on the waves that crash the shores in New Jersey, so does the impact of our lives have in the history of the world. It may not be much of an impact, but it is still there and will reverberate forever.
The longer I live the more I get the feeling that our real gift to the world is artistic in nature. Yes, there are the personal relationships and the effect we have on other people's lives that count for a lot in terms of our contribution to the wellbeing of the world. But, what we leave behind is a way for us to extend our hand beyond time to effect all of those who come after us.
Bach was hardly known during his lifetime. He wrote his music in annonymity. But, he "wrote it down" for others to be able to use and probably not for the reasons we deem it so important today. But, today his value is appreciated more and more because of his tireless efforts to write it all down. We no longer have Bach himself, we have his 'residue'. His life was valuable during his lifetime for sure, just like evey person's is. But, his residual value lies in that which he left behind, the destilled result of long hours of work dedicated to God.
We cannot know our own residual value. We cannot know the value of our having lived. We can only live in the now. Our lasting value is the quality of our residual evidence in times past our existence.
There is something to being artistically active that is so important. The body of our work should be recorded somehow and a creative activity can 'eternalize' all we are.
This is part of the reason I write in this blog. I don't want to lose my thoughts into the vast ether of space time. I write for my own enjoyment. I doubt anyone will ever read this stuff. I don't really care. It isn't important to me if it is popular or unknown. This is just part of my living, it is my value in a away, put on paper/webpage.
My writing isn't well worked like a Bach fugue. I doubt I'll ever finish anything in life with that kind of perfection and depth of thought development. But, like a stone in a cobblestone street, my contribution here is of the same importance...the fact that it is there isn't noticeable, but if it is missing, everyone notices and there is a hole in the street of life. So the value of living and creating is much like that single stone in the street...if we exist and don't provide our essence by the way of our artistic work then there is a hole in the street of life that will never get fixed nor replaced because whether you like it or not, you matter.
The value of having lived is in what we leave behind and if there is no other way then writing is what I'll continue to do.