If you want to lead a good life, a good rule of thumb is to live a life that is not merely the product of your age. Your life shouldn’t be reducible to the dominant forces and trends of your surrounding culture.
In other words, your life’s footprint shouldn’t be easy for the archaeologists and anthropologists of the future to understand.
Nonconformity is a lifelong task. But there are simple ways to bootstrap uniqueness, break out of your culture’s “zeitgeist”, and make some future historian’s job exceptionally hard.
Listen to music, watch movies, and read books from different ages and people and perspectives. If you have a cultural palate (say for music) that ranges from swing and bossa nova to bluegrass from several different decades, you’re going to be harder to stereotype (when you’re dead) and harder to manipulate (when you’re alive).
Integrate into your life the best customs and manners of the centuries and the cultures of the world. If you’re hosting dinner parties and corresponding via letter in 2019, it’s going to be much harder to place you. You’re also going to have much more interesting interactions and relationships with people.
Live with the best values of the many ages and places of humankind. Embody the heroism of the Norsemen, the hospitality of the Arabs, and the independence of the Americans. Live with the social liberalism of the 21st century and the devoutness of the 11th.
In short, use your mind to follow the best that all of time and human culture has to give you. Find the things that give life.
By absorbing and remixing all of these different influences, you’re going to find yourself making original connections and having more original thoughts. And while this may confuse the historians of the future, it certainly will interest them.
Photo by Jacob Campbell on Unsplash