flexagon: (racing-turtle)
I had such a nice weekend. Worked and worked on Sunday until I whittled my to-reply-to work emails DOWN TO ZERO briefly, and before that I went to a beach with [livejournal.com profile] norwoodbridge. We squatted in the sun, watching little crabs moving in and out of holes in the sand, for a long time; they were excellent, hauling little balls of darker sand sideways out of their homes and dumping them on the beach, and they were all different sizes. Later we ate fried seafood and agreed that it's good to have a beach day, once every year or so.

We ended up talking about reputation, and how much we care (or don't) about what people think of us. Somehow we came to an interesting thought experiment. Approximately: let's say that AFTER you die, something about you -- something true or false, doesn't matter -- will come to light, such that everyone who knew you will think "oh, yikes, what a bad person he/she actually was all along." Think about this for a while. You're dead and nobody likes you anymore. Now, how much would you pay right now in order to could prevent this otherwise-inescapable fate from happening?

My answer was that I would definitely pay some, to keep my parents and husband, etc, from feeling pain when they thought what a bad person I was. I named a number. But when the question changed to "okay, what if nobody who would be hurt would be affected" then I dropped to zero. The actual good I did in the world would not be undone, I wouldn't experience the event, people would be mildly titillated by the horrible gossip and move on. I think, though, that I'm unusual in this? Norwood would have paid some, even in this situation; he wants to be remembered fondly.

When I think about being remembered (or not... come on, go live your lives, people) I think about a happy drop of water slipping anonymously back into the ocean. Why do I think of this as a happy thing? Who knows? But I do, yes I do. The legacies and park benches can be left to others.

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flexagon

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