…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?