Legacies Are Pointless

When you’re gone, you’re gone

Andy Taylor
3 min readAug 27, 2021

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It’s something you hear about more and more. Politicians, sportspeople, business leaders who want to “build their legacy”.

Every time I hear it, it makes less sense to me.

It’s a sign of how it has become increasingly the norm for people to be entirely self-centred with vastly overblown senses of self-importance.

What a legacy used to mean, and still does, technically, is money or property left to the next generation when someone dies. If you could put it into spoken words it might be something like:

“Here, have this, I can’t use it any more, and if it would help you, then go ahead, make the most of it.”

A bit like in the parking lot when someone gives you their ticket with a few hours remaining on it. A lovely gift. Not about them and how great they are, but about how it could be helpful to you. A selfless act.

But the kind of legacy the politicians, sportspeople and business leaders are on about would sound more like this:

“Hey! Don’t ever forget how amazing I was. Look! Look at the this building / statue / scholarship / research institute / annual prize with MY NAME on it. My body might die, but I can still try to control your perception of me. Don’t think you can get on with your lives without being reminded of all the things I DID.”

Not quite the same, is it?

Why do you care what people think of you once you’re dead? You’re dead! Your time has passed, it’s someone else’s turn.

Do these people imagine they will be sitting on their cloud up in heaven (they hope) watching down on the world, going:

“Ooh, look, someone else has just walked into MY building. Ooh, how wonderful they looked up at MY name above the door! Goody!”

Now this may sound contradictory to everything I have just said, but I do believe that when people die, their spirit lives on in a positive and beautiful way amongst those they leave behind.

But here’s the crucial thing. It’s up to the people still alive to determine how their spirit lives on, not the person…

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Andy Taylor

I want to learn. I try to grow. I’d love to help.