(in which I speak of the greatest song ever, MGMT and non-carbon footprints):
I have a relative. Mike. Really cool guy.
Skis hard all winter. Works hard the rest of the year so he can…
I only see Mike once a year. But when I do, we have great discussions about the state of the world, about rock & roll from the 60s and 70s, which is best of the Qatsi trilogy, et cetera.
One of our conversations from several years ago, he made the statement that when he dies, he wants all traces of him gone. He does not want to leave a footprint on the earth. I respectfully disagreed with him then, and still do.
I want to leave a footprint. Not in the carbon sense, but in the sense of leaving something behind that will transcend my own lifespan. When Errol Morris passes away, he will have left a body of work; a series of films behind him that will be watched far into the future.
When Mozart died, he left a beautiful body of work behind him that still has a passionate audience.
The wheel. AC/DC power. The light. Penicillin. Velcro. The guy who invented coffee. And people who move the world in an emotional or spiritual or intellectual sense. Musicians, artists, architects. Filmmakers and craftspeople and writers and puppeteers who move the world.
There are people who inspire change at a massive level. The Gandhis. The M.L. Kings. The Richard P.F. Hughes. The people who, by the power of their leadership, are able to set in motion changes that will affect hundreds or thousands or millions of people for decades to come. I guess I am fascinated by what people leave behind. It can be said that 'you bring children into the world to grow up and become responsible, caring, creative citizens of the world...and that is your legacy, that is your contribution.'
That is certainly a priority. One of the highest priorities for me. But on a personal level, I do have the desire, the mandate to pursue - maybe not to achieve - but to constantly pursue the creation of a lasting contribution, in the manner of those I admire:
Mozart,an Agnes Varda, Frank Lloyd Wright,an Andy Warhol, a Duke Ellington andKurt Vonnegut, aMargaret Meade or Tom Waits,Errol Morris or Alexander Calder or Richard Scarry.
I want to leave something behind that is unique and beautiful enough to survive…me.
Sort of like MGMT's Kids. The Penny Lane of last decade. A song that will survive the passings of its creators. Because: with its gritty, fuzzed-out electro chorus, it is an anthem - one of the first important anthems of this century - that many acknowledge (including myself) as the greatest song of all time. I would like to have my Kids, my Ode to Joy, my gift to the future.
Mike: as long as we keep having conversations, and I keep remembering them and writing bits of them down, your footprint will have at least have a shadow. It will live. You rock.