Most of us focus too much on what we think, and not enough on how we measure what we think.
The children of past read history more than we do today, and read more autobiographical sketches of the great men and women of history.
This contributed to a different view of individuality, more like what one would find when composing a eulogy. Individual lives distilled down to ten minutes of a speech become less a question of sensation, and more of realization and achievement.
When you summarize a life at a funeral, you look not at their everyday experience, but at what they believed in enough to struggle for, and how they made it real. This shows a view of human life that is both unique and feared.
The people who will inherit the future are those who think of every day in terms of their eulogies. How to make greatness out of the mundane. How to find something worth struggling for, and to act like a warrior on its behalf.
Our modern time is the anti-eulogy. Death is offensive, and scares people. So we think in terms of sensation, not struggle and achievement. In doing so, we have lost the sense of what a eulogy bestows: achievement.
Standing over the dead, struggling with emotion and yet a sense that the funeral must go on, we deliver orations that reveal the inner core of a person. What was worth fighting for; what was worth dying for.
This is the only sensible view of human life. It shows us what gave meaning to individual existences, and how the moral character of the person involved allowed them to respond.
At a certain point, everything else is chatter. Obstacles occurred — so what? — they always do. But in the end, we remember people for what they did. Not what they ate, chatted, or bought; what they overcame and how they made their ideals into reality.
Forgetting this level of analysis has made us callow and weak. We live for the now and assume our eulogies will be shopping lists. Reversing that will make us feel great again, as in the sense of significant beyond our mortal bodies.