Friday Notes #18 — What Will be my Legacy?
I often think about the concept of legacy. What will I leave behind when I’m gone besides my two kids. What will they remember of me? On what artifacts will they rely on to remember me? They will undoubtedly be able to look into my numeric photos archive for one thing, provided they can still access it. But then, what else? Not much will survive me, I’m afraid.
It is tempting to think about my father’s legacy in comparison. He recently left this world at the age of 92. As a long-time architect, he left a lot behind him. I can go to the National Archives and ask to see his drawings and diagrams of many buildings he helped imagine, create and eventually build. Those are still there, acting as reminders of my father’s work. That’s his legacy. I’m proud of him.
As much as my father’s legacy lives in the physical world and will be “alive” for years to come, mine lives in the numeric world, and most of it, in the form of binary strings of zeros and ones, is already gone. What’s left is mostly inaccessible to the mere mortal. At a society scale, as we spend so much time on Facebook or other platforms, there is no guarantee our content will endure time. It is troublesome to some extend.
The picture above was taken by my brother-in-law in the seventies. Ironically, the chapel, designed by my father, was demolished in 2019 because of a lack of maintenance. Its design was based on the tents that used to fill scouts campgrounds in the forties. It was sad to see this place disappear because it was the meeting point of a summer camp for kids for four decades. So many people have memories of this place. See, even my father's legacy can be at risk, after all.
JF Martin aka Numeric Citizen