It doesn’t mean anything to Alexander that Alexandria is still named after him. He can’t feel anything. He’s dead. He has no idea that we still talk about him or that he may have been the greatest conqueror who ever lived. There isn’t much of a chance, however, that he could have missed out on the guilt of killing his closest friend after he’d had too much to drink. In fact, we know he didn’t.
Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.
To Alexander the name of a city is not eternal, separated from this world as he is. A worldly deed is one of the things you can’t take with you.
But there’s something about emotion that’s divine and everlasting, so what he felt when he named Alexandria can never be taken away from him. And neither can what he felt when he killed his friend.
World conquerer or college student, the things we feel ourselves is what connects us to something eternal. It’s a reassuring thought when I feel poor or too rich.
At least, that’s what I got from this.
Can’t be taken away from him? He is dead. There is no eternity.
But even death can’t take away the emotion you felt at some point in your past. Through joy or grief, at least when he was alive he knew it.
He didn’t know when he died that it would forever be called Alexandria, so how could that have meant anything to him? If anything, he felt pride that he had shaped that city and empire, but only a fool would think that it would never change.
Hmm, I was deciding on what to do tonight: Work on getting a city named after me or drinking too much and killing my friend. Thanks to this post, I know I should definitely not drink too much and kill my friend, because it will cause me guilt. Thanks Ryan.
It’s cool, Jay, not everyone gets analogies.
True, working for a great legacy seems a poor way to live your life, but it can also be one hell of a motivator.
Believing in heaven is big motivator too, but that doesn’t make it real.