Live A Shorter Life & Become An Immortal Or Live A Long, Happy, Anonymous Life: Which Is Better?

I watched the movie “Troy” tonight — which I thought was the best movie of 2004 even if it isn’t true to the original story — and there was an exchange early in the movie between Achilles and mother, the goddess Thetis…

Thetis: If you stay here, with me, with your family, you’ll have a long, peaceful life. You’ll marry, you’ll have children, and your children will have children. They’ll love you, and when you’re gone they’ll remember you. But when your children are dead, and their children after them, your name will be lost.

If you go to Troy, no one will earn more glory than you. Men will tell stories of your victories for thousands of years. The world will remember your name.

But if you go to Troy, you’ll never come home. You’ll die there.

Achilles: And you know this, mother?

Thetis: I know it.

A fascinating choice, is it not? If you had a choice, would you rather be Leonidas, the king who died fighting in the Spartans’ immortal stand at Themopolae against the Persians or Xenolas, the unknown Greek farmer who died at 90? Would it be better to be Davy Crockett who died fighting at the Alamo or Phineas Hogenbottom, a banker no one has ever heard off? Is it better to be Bob Wilson, nameless family man, or Nathan Hale who said, “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country” before he swung?

I guess you would never truly know which way you’d go until you actually had to make the call, but right now, I think Achilles made the right decision…

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