When I look at old or ancient things which we still cherish, I sometimes ask what we are creating today that will endure, not just materially, but in terms of holding value for future generations.
This quotation takes that question a step further; not just what are we building – or planting – today which someone might happen to enjoy in future centuries, but what are we planning and creating now which will take a century or more to reach its full potential. A gift to the future rather than a legacy.
It takes a mental and emotional stretch to project so far ahead, and while I enjoy the outreach of previous generations, the things they specifically addressed to posterity, I find it harder to imagine that I could bring such pleasure or insight to those distant, unknown people. Instead, I find myself asking if ‘people’ will still be a going concern.
‘All this had been planned and planted a century and a half ago so that, at about this date, it might be seen in its maturity.’
Source: Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968 (1945)), p. 22
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