The year is 3855.
A 17-year-old girl named Alexa and her younger brother, Asher,
are at a museum of history and technology.
In one of the museum display rooms,
there is a collection of ancient computers,
laptops, tablets, smartphones,
手提电脑 平板电脑 智能手机
and other early smart devices.
A few of which have been maintained and restored
in order to still function.
Specifically, one laptop on display is set up for visitors to use.
On it, there are old digital tools
used for things like information storage,
digital art creation, communication, and personal upkeep,
as well as browser applications used to access early forms of the internet.
As part of the experience,
the laptop has a sequence of default, archival web pages
that pertained the exhibit,
which is about early stage digital content creation
and internet communication.
Alexa and Asher play around on the laptop for a little,
while their parents participate in another exhibit.
While scrolling through the internet pages,
they come across a webpage of a video sharing platform
with a video titled “Internet Video of an Animated Voice Over”.
The description of the video reads, “This video is an excerpt
from what is believed to be an interview, speech,
podcast, or self-produced video essay,
created between the late 20th and early 22nd century.
It simply serves as a sample
for how individuals sought to use the internet to communicate
during its early stages of development and integration.
The source of the video is unknown
due to digital dissemination, false attributions,
synthetic media replications, and possible intentional anonymity.”
Alexa clicks play and the video starts.
One last question.
When it’s all said and done,
how would you like to be remembered?
It’s sort of a funny question, isn’t it?
Asking how you want to be remembered after you’re gone.
No one ever knows how they’re remembered,
nor does anyone ever experience it.
And yet, for some reason,
we still ask ourselves these sorts of questions.
It’s a paradox, really,
to want something after I’m dead,
but only be able to want anything while I’m alive.
The question is really more about
what I want to imagine while I’m alive then, isn’t it?
What I want to convince myself,
my life can be for beyond my own life,
seeing as how I can only imagine beyond my own life,
while my own life still exists?
If I were to humor the question, though,
I don’t think I would want to claim any sort of banal, grandiose answers.
I don’t think I would want to say that I want to be remembered
as significant, or influential, or smart,
因为我很重要 很有影响力 很聪明
or famous, or wealthy, or powerful, or successful,
很有名 很富有 很有权势 或者很成功
or that I changed the world in some way.
All of that would suggest that
I can know what any of that even means in the bigger picture.
In truth, I don’t know what it means to be influential
in a world that lacks clear direction.
I don’t know what it means to be wealthy
in a world filled with poverty.
I don’t know what it means to be powerful
in a universe that trumps everyone and everything.
And I don’t know what it means to be smart
or successful or to change the world,
as a member of a species that’s restricted from understanding
what anything might really mean or cause.
I suppose I’m attracted to these things as much as the next person,
but I cannot say with certain honesty that
I believe that, in the end, any of these things are worth being remembered for.
I guess the next answer would be that
I want to be remembered as someone who tried.
Someone who tried their best to care, to help, to love, to be OK,
我会去关心 去帮助 去爱 去与人为善
to air on the side of sympathy and compassion as best I could,
to be a good friend, good son, father, and husband.
我是个好朋友 好儿子 好父亲 好丈夫
Someone who lived honestly,
with both conviction and a willingness to adapt in
what they think and believe.
Someone who contributed towards something they enjoyed and believed in
simply because they could.
I am not entirely sure how good I was at any of these things, though,
and I know this answer might sound equally cliché,
but if anything is an answer to how I want to be remembered,
I think it’s that.
But the truth is, history is coated with innumerable amounts people
who lived with these qualities,
and mostly none of them are remembered by anyone at all.
Perhaps being remembered isn’t all that important then,
if most people aren’t remembered for what’s important.
Of course, some people are remembered long after they’re gone
for things that do currently seem important or useful.
But even then, if one is remembered because
they’ve done something that’s considered useful,
isn’t it the useful thing that is truly being remembered,
and not the person in it of themselves?
I mean, how does anyone know Albert Einstein
if not in terms of scientific contribution?
It’s not as if the world likes Einstein inherently.
The world likes his contributions,
or him solely because of his contributions.
Any exploration of his character and life
is always contextualized and confined within the borders of science genius.
In the eyes of history,
Einstein would be no one if it were not for his scientific contributions.
But of course, Einstein was not no one, regardless of his contributions.
显然 不论他的贡献 他也并非平庸之辈
His contributions deserve celebration, of course, and so does he.
But does our celebration of him now change anything for him then?
I don’t know if Einstein was happy,
or if he wanted to be remembered in some grand way,
or if he just wanted to understand more than what was understood at the time.
But isn’t it possible that
his contributions are a byproduct of his experience of life,
and not the source?
And isn’t it possible that this is the case for all people
另外 有没有可能 历史上所有
that are remembered as great throughout history?
I’ll certainly admit that there’s some longing inside me
to be remembered or thought of long after I’m gone.
I believe it probably comes from the same place
that yearns to live forever and lose nothing.
But nothing lives forever, and everyone loses everything.
To live for or care about being remembered
is like planning your own birthday party on a day that you can’t go.
If I want to celebrate my life, I can only do it now, while I’m still here.
I believe everyone should
still dedicate themselves to the something or some things
that they want to be remembered for,
be it a cause, a passion, a good heart, or all of the above.
它们也许是事业 热情 善良 或者以上都是
But not because it’s something that they’ll be remembered for.
But because it’s what they want to imagine their life is for.
And what you imagine your life is for
is what your life is for, isn’t it?
Whether one is remembered for it
for 500,000 years or 5 minutes after they’re gone,
makes no difference to the person who lived for it.
Ultimately, I have no illusions that
I will last beyond the minds of a couple generations after me, at best.
And so, what I do now,
what I dedicate myself to,
what I experience behind the eyes of my own self, must be enough.
If it isn’t, nothing is.
The video fades to its end,
and the screen prompts an arrow pointing to the right
with text that reads, “Next Page.”
Before clicking, Asher says,
“Well that’s five minutes we’ll never get back.”
He pauses and says, “And who’s Einstein?”
“Yea. I don’t know.” Alexa replies.
“I think he must have been a scientist, or something.
I think I’ve heard his name before.
That’s what it said, at least.”
“Mmm.” Asher murmurs.
“Alright, well do you want to go check out something else now?”
Alexa agrees, and they walk away from the laptop,
and onto the next exhibit of a different time in history.
The year is 3855.