There is a concept in architecture that buildings can be made to be aesthetically pleasing, even when they are in ruins. This is known as “ruin value”.
The Parthenon in Greece is a good example of this concept in action. Though long abandoned to the elements, the ruins of this ancient Greek temple are still pleasing to the eye.
There’s something beautiful about this idea of ruin value when applied to a broader scope than architecture. One day, we will all die (unless we don’t, in which case you can ignore this post as we’ll have more exciting things to discuss). What we leave behind will be subject the elements of other people’s memories, whether our life’s work is still useful, and whether we made any impact on the culture in which we lived.
When we’ve been dead for as long as the worshipers of the goddess Athena, will we have a Parthenon that other’s can still enjoy? Will the books or blog posts that we write be pleasing after we die? Will our houses have little plaques that say that we lived there once upon a time? Will people remember us or our legacy?
I would like to live such a life that even the ruins I leave behind are worth seeing. Wouldn’t you?