How to achieve immortality?

[Unrelated aside] Wow … there was a lot more activity back then. I count 50 topics bumped in a span of ~6.5 hours, while the last 50 General Questions topics bumped since the latest one today, covers a span of over 3 days!

It really gives a new perspective on that thread discussing the SDMB’s declining membership. Although, speaking personally, I actually prefer the slower pace of today, because there is no way I can keep up with that velocity of topics/activity back in 2001.

How long might someone expect to be remembered in the best case? What historical human is the most ancient one still widely remembered for their deeds? (In other words, not someone famous only for being found as a fossil.) If humans or post-humans are still around in 10,000 or 100,000 years, will our civilization still know who Einstein was?

I’m sure that it is possible to compile a list of such people (though, as Wikipedia is wont to say, it “may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness”).

The sad part is, though, that the oldest people on that list are often subject to debate on whether they were real or just myths. Imagine the conversation:

A: “Look at that! Five thousand years later, and they still remember what I did! I’m immortal!”
B: “Ummm, yes, but 90% of them think you’re just a story and never existed.”

  1. Make a bajillion dollars

  2. Use it to endow buildings at universities, hospitals, libraries, parks, etc. With a little luck, you can be the next Robert de Sorbon.

Jim Theis achieved immortality (of a sort) when he wrote The Eye of Argon

Maybe there’s hope for the rest of us.

Write something like “Johnny B. Goode” and hope NASA puts it on a record and launches it into the Cosmos.

Slaughtering millions of people has been a pretty reliable way in the past.

If you’d prefer a more benevolent path try to invent something which permanently changes the world, a singularity type of event.

I’ve got it! Start a religion. Members have to read your book or go to Hell.

Very much the former. I have no control (short of persuading Random House to publish it) over who reads it, if anyone.

This is a useful thread to me–some funny responses, but also some ideas that may work out, especially those from filmore, which sound like what I’m looking for.

My kids have zero interest (as I did when I was their age–now I’d kill to read my dad’s memoirs) and they might not have kids, so that’s really not an encouraging route to take. I guess this is so I can tell them where to find my memoir if they ever do show interest.

Be the first human to step foot on Mars. Guaranteed immortality.

You’ll never be forgotten; just like Neil Diamond.

Write your memoir on some extremely durable material (like a clay tablet, but be sure to fire it) and bury it in a place where someone might reasonably be expected to unearth it in a few thousand years, but not sooner. It will be of great interest to scholars then.

All the more so if you inscribe it in three languages.

  1. Write your bio.
  2. Publish it in the vanity press.
  3. Donate a copy to the local library.
  4. Pay for an obituary in the city newspaper, mentioning your published obit.

Although I would suggest waiting for another Republikan president. Especially if Chump manages to weasel his way back in.

Disclaimer: Shooting presidents is bad and not recommended in most situations.

In a sense we all achieve immortality even if we can’t see it. The world is a chaotic system. And every action and inaction you make has knock-on consequences. Maybe most, or even all, of those consequences are small in your lifetime. But eventually the world that had you in it will look very different to the world in which you were never born.

Meanwhile wanting to make your mark with a popular novel or whatever is just based on instincts of desiring social approval, which you’re not going to see after you’re dead anyway. It’s nice to express yourself, and achieve goals, but I don’t think this kind of immortality is a useful goal.

Not really. Who is he?

My guess is that immortality will be digital. Somethng of what we have written online will preserved and archived, somewhere. Maybe immortality will be when some social studies researcher a couple of centuries from now decides to do a PhD thesis on some aspect of the Internet at the beginning of the new millennium and your name pops up.

Academics really do go for some obscure things. One of the things I have translated lately has been a series of academic presentations concerning the beginning of the era of printing, and the names of various book dealers and printers get aired. Apart from some old archives listing some of their business dealings, or some personal correspondence, that is all we know about them. You would not even be able to find a gravestone for them these days.

Physical evidence disappears rapidly. When someone dies, their possessions and clothes get given away. Few people actually make something that future generations will bother to keep. The bowl that your aunt made in pottery class? Would she really ant to be remembered for that? Otherwise, your legacy is the family photos. It is something I am working on, as I have no children of my own. My stepchildren will cherish the photos, maybe their kids as well, but their grandchildren? Once people are out of living memory, they are just names, or ciphers.

Your local library will probably put it in their sale books pile, and then recycle it when no one buys it. So that won’t work very well.

Burn the Temple Of Artemis?

John Harvard did pretty good for his £400.