What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.
Virtues like selflessness and benevolence are unique to and yet so rare in human beings. Only human beings are known to help each other and other living beings without expecting in return, and yet people rarely extend such altruistic aid. The things we do – and the intentions with which we do these things – between the time we are born to the moment we leave this world for our heavenly abode are what define if and how we shall be remembered for the times to come.
Consider this: There are about eight billion people on this planet. How many of these shall be remembered by, say, someone who is born a couple of centuries down the line? Probably just a few hundreds, right? This is because an astounding majority of people live for themselves; everything they plan and achieve is centered on the aspirations and hopes they have for themselves and their near and dear ones. It is extremely uncommon to run into someone whose actions are aimed at making the world a better place. Ask yourself this, who would you rather remember and idolize: an entrepreneur who made billions of dollars during their lifetime and bequeathed them to their kids, or a scientist who made some groundbreaking discovery but died relatively poor?
Blessed with an unparalleled intelligence, humans are capable of extraordinary feats. The fact that we fritter away this remarkable intellect on materialistic, selfish goals is unfortunate. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to figure out what a great place our planet would be if even a tenth of its population began to lead benevolent, charitable lives.
Albert Pike was a well-known American author, poet and jurist. A staunch proponent of philanthropy, Pike once commented: “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.”