Death is not the end of your influence on the world, it is only the end of your body’s biological functioning.
Take Robin Williams, for example. That guy was in so many movies and has done so much good stuff – and he’s still doing it. He’s not using his body anymore. It’s true. He’s given that ability up. That phase of his life is gone. But he’s still influencing the world. As long as people still watch those movies, and still feel moved by them, that’s still him doing that. He’s doing it through a recording, yes, but for most people, that’s all they saw of him anyhow. The fact that he’s still able to make us smile, just by having done what he did – that means he still exerts causal influence on the world. Robin can still make things happen. He’s just lost the ability to make specific things happen to his body.
If the thought of passing on scares you, think of your ancestors. There are billions of years worth of them, their life history written all over every cell of your body. The single-celled organism that first said “hey! being a photosynthetic organism in an environment free of predators is pretty awesome! I should keep doing this forever!” – that little guy is still in you. You are a direct result of that tiny thing doing the best it could. If that little thing thing lead to you – directly to you – and everyone you see around you – what grand things will you lead to?
Robin was tired. That’s a lot of smiles to have given people. He’s not tired anymore, but he’s still working hard, in countless depictions – to bring us more smiles, more calm, and more joy. Being alive is having the ability to direct the flow of matter in a small space, to create some F to make some m undergo a little a. If you keep pushing matter around while you’re alive, the matter keeps moving in the direction you set it in, long after your body stops doing the ol’ aerobic respiration game. So take a deep breath and know you’ll keep on going long after your body starts feeding your cousins from the worm family.
If it bothers you that a man who brought us such joy still lost the battle against the depression, try turning that ‘upside down smile‘ upside down! A man who suffered such intense depression still found a way to bring joy to millions. If you’re not so depressed that you want to take your own life, couldn’t you do that, too?