Human beings are mortal. Yet, there is a way to continue to live, long after one’s earthly existence has ceased.
“Publish or perish,” said one of my professors at North South University, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. As far as I can recall, he had heard it during his time as a student, and as a teacher he loudly repeated the words in a classroom full of students. In saying so, the professor wanted to emphasize the importance of writing and publishing. Since then, the words never left my mind.
When I was a small boy, my mother dreamed that I would be a writer. And that is exactly what I am – a writer.
My mother, at various times over the course of my life so far, reminded me that my grandfather (her father) said that a pen is mightier than a sword (Listen to my podcast episode regarding this). That perfectly sums up the power of writing.
Writings of scholars and philosophers, from centuries ago, are still present because of the power of writing – whether those are words and symbols carved on rock or letters on paper. Through their work, ancient philosophers continue to live. Spoken words can be misquoted or erroneously altered. But written words are more likely to remain, unless they are destroyed by natural elements, or the publications lost in the passage of time.
Knowledge is power. The more learned a person is, the more powerful one becomes. And for knowledge to be handed over from one generation to another, writing and publishing are essential.
While writers may die, they may still continue to live because their publications remain for posterity.