For most of my life, I have been interested in my own ancestry. There is a certain pride that can be had in knowing exactly where the roots are and how deep they go. So much of us is composed by such things. Yet, we must recognize that this only maps what came before us.
It’s easy to allow yourself to be defined by your heritage. In a very real way, we cannot be separated from the echoes of our forefathers. This leaves two questions unanswered though. Who are we as the individual standing before the world? What will our legacy be?
As you can imagine, these can be difficult questions to answer. Those answers can be received on many different levels. What do I mean by that? Throughout history a small handful of people have left legendary marks upon the world. Some positive and some negative, but history remembers them.
Some have held no impact and were content to go quietly into the night. There are those who have been shadowed by another greater than them during their time. History ignored them despite their achievements. Their bloodline though, it holds onto certain qualities in memory.
This is one path to immortality. What you do and what you stand for, are key in answering the question of who you are. They foreshadow and begin forming the answer of what your legacy will be. It’s important to understand that, like your ancestry, your legacy cannot be the sole focus of your being. Even if the destination is within your line of sight, you must remain aware of your footing upon the path.
Imagine if Thomas Paine had been concerned with these things. Would “Common Sense” hold any sense at all? Paine was focused on what he stood for and was sure of who he was. This is a man whose writings poured fuel on the fires of two revolutions. Love him or hate him, he is now “an immortal”.
One thing of note, no matter where he resided he sought to impact the land he inhabited. This is an act of deep patriotism and a testament to the power of conviction. Patriotism is not simply a fidelity to the Nation-State, but to the people of that land. It’s not enough for us to simply think about the future of our children, we must be concerned for the future of our land.
This can be a very complicated matter to digest. Especially when you are born into a festering of rot and corruption. There are no clear or easy solutions for it. To compound matters, just about the time you get your bearings in what might be beneficial, the rebelliousness of youth is slipping away.
In the times of old, this was remedied by radicalizing through indoctrination of the youth. At the pinnacle of the age of enlightenment, we cross over into an age of wisdom. Through years of practical experience and maturation of comprehension, a clear vision forms. It seems only natural that we would attempt to hasten the process of “enlightening” the youth and guide them to action. Often this is in effort to reach for “immortality”.
Therein lies the fundamental obstacle. Great care must be taken in the work. Too much “foresight” is as dangerous as hindsight. To stand alone upon the claim of heritage, is as pretentious as it comes. Merit that is underserved. Too much focus upon your legacy, often leads to delusions of grandeur. Once again merit that is underserved. Instead focus on your footing, remain within the moment. Remain a patriot to the “people of your land”.