Brain Food #661

We do not get to choose how others will remember us

Thoughts of the day

The much-beloved Winnie-the-Pooh characters and their stories entered people’s lives on this day, in 1926. Much of the beauty of Pooh lies in the simplicity of its main character, an endearing, lovable, yet slow-witted bear, with the occasional moment of deep wisdom.

Interestingly, though Pooh’s creator, Alan Alexander Milne, is mostly known for the children’s books he wrote, he was also a prolific playwright, poet, and non-fiction writer, and annoyed at the fact that the larger body of his work was overshadowed by a cuddly bear. He did not want to be known, or remembered, as a children’s book author. Referring to the end of Winnie-the-Pooh, which he had created mostly for his son, and not for fame, he “said goodbye to all that in 70,000 words”. Sometimes, however, the world has other plans. And often, we do not get to choose what others will think of us. Maybe it is just about giving them options, and letting them choose.

In fact, one of Pooh’s more famous quotes is that “Love is taking a few steps backward, maybe even more… to give way to the happiness of the person you love.”

Perhaps the same can be said of one’s work: taking a few steps backward from it, to give way to what others make of it.

And perhaps, in the end, Milne got what he wanted:

"I suppose that every one of us hopes secretly for immortality; to leave, I mean, a name behind him which will live forever in this world, whatever he may be doing, himself, in the next."

—A. A. Milne

Thank you for reading today’s Brain Food. Brain Food is a short daily newsletter that aims to make you think every day, without taking up too much of your time. If you know someone who would like it, why not forward it to them? Brain Food is, after all, alive thanks to you, its subscribers.

Share Brain Food