(Pretext: This is a speech delivered at Smedley’s’ Speakers’ Society – Toastmasters International, Bangalore, which got ‘The Best Prepared Speech Speaker ‘ recognition at meeting no. 556)
Just imagine !!! The speech I’m delivering now has no end at all. I would be speaking to infinity and you are bound to listen to me for infinity. Regardless of how good or bad the speech is, you would naturally expect an end, a climax, a conclusion with a point to carry forward!!!
Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen. Now, is immortality a desire of humanity or a curse? Is it really a blessing to live forever? Let us take an example of a plastic bag as a character. Once a plastic bag had a hope like a fool, that he would meet his Creator again. And if he did, he wanted to tell him just one thing: “I wish you had created me so that I could die.” Eternity is a curse if you have no meaning.
The worst fate possible might well be immortality. Sure, you might like the idea that you get to live forever and see what the world’s like hundreds of years from now, but what’s eternal life compared to the pain of life in general? Isn’t it funny how humans want immortality, but those who have it don’t want to live forever?(just like this plastic bag) It turns out it’s a blessing and a curse. Every man wants to connect his life with something he thinks eternal and that is why all worlds’ religions talk about immortality in a deep sense. We believe in them, thinking that we will be living in eternity or rise from the death and live a life of eternity. Everything passes, everything perishes, and everything falls. People are hungry for stories. It’s part of our very being. Storytelling is a form of history, of immortality, too. It goes from one generation to another.
There is no death. People die only when we forget them, Fr. David (a priest at Holy Ghost Church, Bangalore) explained shortly at a funeral mass. ‘If you can remember people, they will be with you always.’ The life given us, by nature is short; but the memory of a well-spent life is eternal. If a man can bridge the gap between life and death, if he can live after he’s died, then maybe he was a great man. Immortality is the only true success.
Dalai Lama said, ‘Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.’ What is it all about sharing knowledge? Art is simply wonderful. I can’t think of anyone who, to some degree, doesn’t agree.
I’ve always been fascinated by the ways in which art affects individuals, and cultures at large. Whether it is music, film, novel, poetry or play, there’s something truly captivating about art’s ability to reach deeply into our souls.
The average man, who does not know what to do with his life, wants another one which will last forever. But we should remember that what we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. Art is an immortal statement of the mortal. All art is immortal. And artists, the influence of each human being on others in this life are a kind of immortality.
Men are mortal, but ideas are immortal. Feed the body food and drink, it will survive today. Feed the soul art and music, it will live forever.Art is man’s distinctly human way of fighting death. Every artist wants his work to be permanent. But what is? Immortality is a by-product of good work. One of the proud joys of an artist is to feel within himself the power to immortalize at will anything he chooses to immortalize. Insignificant though he may be, he is conscious of possessing a creative divinity Write it, paint it, sculpt it, quilt it, collage it, set it to music, blog it, somehow, in some way, sometimes against great odds, we will tell our tale and leave behind traces of our existence. Each of us is a library uniquely structured, no two alike. We artists have been blessed with a gift to express our experiences for generations to come. Our art tells our story, our growth and of our trying times. The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it. Long after our monuments of brick and stone, vitriol, plastic, and concrete have vanished, our words, our art, our legends and our myths will remain as a legacy. There is only one way to get ready for immortality, and that is to love this life and live it as bravely and faithfully and cheerfully as we can. Since it is not granted to us to live long, let us transmit to posterity some memorial that we have at least lived. Let us live in their hearts and minds and let us make their lives beautiful and world a better place to live.