A Song for Those Who Come Later

If you could leave one song behind, what would it be?

I love doing thought experiments. Here’s one I made up on my drive to work today.

If we knew that the end was coming, that moment when all humanity would be gone from this planet, and you could leave one song behind for the aliens who would explore this tiny blue dot in space centuries later, one song to let them know as much as you could about who we had been, what would that song be?

For me, that’s easy. It would be In My Life by the Beatles. If you are the one person on the planet who hasn’t heard this song, you can listen to it here. And here are the lyrics:

There are places I remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more
In my life I love you more

It’s a simple song, really. But it goes deep into the heart of humanity. Any discerning alien could learn the following from it:

  • We could be nostalgic.

  • We also could be nomadic.

  • We struggled with change.

  • We knew how to love.

  • We cherished our friends.

  • Our lives were finite.

  • We deemed some people more worthy of love than others.

  • We had happy memories.

  • Those memories could be made bittersweet by the passage of time.

  • We liked to tell people when we felt they were special.

  • We were able to move on.

  • We appreciated the past, but we could also appreciate the present.

  • Some of us, a very lucky few, got to experience what it was like to be loved by someone more than that person had ever loved anyone else, ever.

  • The Beatles were one freakin’ amazing band.

I think that all of these things would be worth relaying to future aliens who would never have a chance to meet us in person. By the time they encountered our planet, all our buildings would have collapsed and been overgrown. Our books would have turned to dust. Our monuments would have crumbled. But these things, this stuff, was never the essence of who we were.

We were here. We loved. We thought a great deal about what truly matters. That is all.


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Author: The View from a Drawbridge

I have been a bridgetender since 2001, and gives me plenty of time to think and observe the world.

3 thoughts on “A Song for Those Who Come Later”

    1. I miss Bob Ross so much! But the aliens would think we had metallic voices. I often revisit the Mr. Rogers Remix when life gets too rough. That second one sure describes the current situation. And as for the third, come on, now, a mixed tape is cheating. 🙂

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