Does it matter to you what people think of you…

…when you are dead? Suppose you have lots of respect when you are alive. People idealize you, your family and friends love you and there are lots of people who aspire to be like you. Then after your death people realize that you were a big asshole. You cheated on your wife (you probably had a harem running somewhere), you never loved your children, you left your family penniless, you sold your country secrets to other countries, you murdered all your close friends and you went on holidays with Osama Bin Laden.

Since we talk a lot about leaving a legacy I’m wondering does it actually matter to you how people think of you when you are dead? You are dead, your body has been burned or buried or fed to the birds so how does it matter to you whether people adore you or abhore you?

Feelings and emotions are related to life. When you are alive it does matter to you how people think of you. You don’t want the person sitting next to you cringing at the mere idea of looking at you. But if people hate you after your death, you are never going to experience that hatred.

I think it has got much to do with the family. We try to create a good name for ourselves because we want the world to look at us in a positive way while we are alive, and look at our family in a positive way when we are dead.

I’m excluding people who are good just because they are good. Some people live virtuous lives because that’s the only way they know or are comfortable with it. I’m also excluding people who do it for the sake of going to Heaven (and avoid the fires of Hell) or for “serving the Lord”. I’m talking about people who want to be remembered as good people even when they’re dead. How does it matter?

6 thoughts on “Does it matter to you what people think of you…

  1. Nilesh

    philosophical questions. i can answer that in 100 times more words than you wrote the question. but i guess you also knows the answer deep down your conscious. and anybody else answering it wont help whether it confirm or oppose your views on that.

  2. Nilesh

    ok, so i will answer in short of what i think
    for me it matters because 1) perception of people of me when i am alive is not different than when i am dead. if people think i am good when i am alive most probably (99.99% of time) they will think same of me when i am dead. and vice versa is also true. they may not “speak” bad for me when i am dead as we have custom but they can not stop hating me in their heart/mind.
    2) i would like to leave my family having respect in society (atleast people should not hate my family because of me).

    again everybody has some answer in subconscious and can not be changed (almost impossible) by someone else thoughts.

    getting good name is comparatively easy. you will get some bad thoughts and you just have to NOT act on them. difficult part is not having those bad thought (becoming a person you describe as “who are good just because they are good”).

  3. Ashish

    I don’t care about what people think after I die, and I am not sympathetic to suiciders as well (mostly). Just wanted to say that you surprise me sometimes with how exactly same are our views.

  4. Incognito

    bharatiya darshana say not to be concerned with what people say even when you are alive- just do the right thing.

  5. dave

    It matters when you’re alive, by thinking about the future your emotional response is the same as if it WERE happening.

    Thinking about different situations in the future would probably have the same effect as rethinking situations in the past.

    Another example is that the same feeling of disgust occurs when you think of doing something bad. Say rape or torture someone. (psychopaths are unified by their general lack of empathy, sometimes genetic in nature rather than a “choice” in living.)

    So perhaps the reason is emotional rather than logical.

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