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How many famous people in history

  1. Dec 16, 2012 #1
    The other night I was contemplating my own mortality, as you do, and became rather depressed by the thought that in two or three generations after my death I'll be forgotten, after a couple of large perspective modifiers, I came to the conclusion that I'm in the same boat as the vast majority of the human race. So how many famous people can you name without having to do any research, just the ones that you can sit down and list? Not passing "celebs" but people who's name endures decades or centuries after their death. My personal definition has been they must be dead and have become famous before the 1960s. After a week of thinking about it about 30 minutes per day my total is about 500.
    Please don't post your lists but just the number you can come up with.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 16, 2012 #2
    Famous people I can name. Most of the US presidents and founding fathers. A grip of philosophers from Aristotle to Nietzsche. Plenty of scientists and mathematicians. The list goes on and on.

    But hey, cheer up! The majority (though not the 'vast' majority) of the human race is still alive! There are more humans living right now than have lived and died before them!
  4. Dec 16, 2012 #3
    Why are you so obsessed with being remembered?

    I cba to start counting but I think the average person with a high school diploma could name at least 100 people from history. What does it matter though? That won't bring them back. What we need to focus on is how to integrate human minds into supercomputers so that we can live on forever.
  5. Dec 16, 2012 #4
    On the Vanity of Earthly Greatness by Arthur Guiterman

    The tusks which clashed in mighty brawls
    Of mastodons, are billiard balls.

    The sword of Charlemagne the Just
    Is Ferric Oxide, known as rust.

    The grizzly bear, whose potent hug,
    Was feared by all, is now a rug.

    Great Caesar's bust is on the shelf,
    And I don't feel so well myself.
  6. Dec 16, 2012 #5
    Even that won't matter unless we find a way to get off of this planet. In about 4 billion years, the Earth will either be swallowed up by the sun or be orbiting so close to it that everything is fried.

    Even that won't be enough to last forever. Even if our supercomputers find a way to another planet orbiting a new star with many billions of years left, eventually that star will die out. In fact, eventually no new stars will be born as the universe trends to a state of maximum entropy. Then, everything will truly be forgotten.

    Sweet dreams!
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