The idealists dream and the dream is told, and the practical men listen and ponder and bring back the truth and apply it to human life, and progress and growth and higher human ideals come into being and so the world moves ever on.
When I first read this quote by a renowned American civil rights leader, it made me stop and pause a moment. I started thinking about humanity in general and how much we’ve grown. When you look back at all of our technological achievements, our advances in medicine, our understanding of the world around us (and the worlds beyond us), it’s just awe-inspiring. And the cycle just keeps repeating, as more and more people become interconnected and enlightened to the plights and struggles of others, and the fervent desire for things everyone wants -- equality, understanding, peace. And protection. I’ll admit, whenever I saw ads on TV or flyers in the mail offering life insurance, I dismissed it as something “old people get”. But when I first read this quote, I started thinking about progress, growth, higher human ideals and life in general.
It Takes All Kinds of People to Make a Society Thrive
If the first monkey never climbed down from the tree to examine a fallen coconut, nor shared his finding with others, monkeys would still be clattering entirely in the trees while the bounty of life waits below them. Likewise, if the first person to consider the need for life insurance never worried about what would become of his legacy, possessions and fortune after his death, the concept of offering such protection may never have existed.
What Ancient Roman “Burial Clubs” Have to Do with Insurance Today
You may even be interested to know that life insurance itself dates all the way back to 100 B.C., when Caius Marius, a Roman military leader, created a sort of “burial club” for his troops. It sounds macabre, but back then, if a member died, all of the other members would pitch in and pay his final expenses. Romans were big on making sure that burials were done carefully and properly, as they believed the ghosts would return to haunt those who made their burials a shambles. Roman “burial clubs” then grew in popularity - often including a stipend for survivors. After the empire fell, life insurance as we know it didn’t reappear until the 1600s. Edmond Halley, geologist, astronomer and mathematician (not to mention the discoverer of Halley’s comet) made the first “mortality table” - linking life insurance premiums to average life spans. This was reworked in the 1700s when the first life insurance company was founded in the U.S. Major disasters that caused catastrophic losses (such as the Great Fire of 1835 in New York) put pressure on society for the need to protect one’s life assets. After that, insurance surged in popularity and took shape into what we recognize today. But had that Roman general not thought beyond his own well being, and instead considered that of his troops and their families, the very concept of life insurance might still remain foreign to us. It took one man’s dream, a concept brought back to the people, and a need at that time for it to spring into the thing we all recognize today. Even after a period during the Dark Ages when things like the Black Plague sprung up (could you imagine the insurance premiums back then?!), the idea of being able to provide for one’s family and their well-being after death is still always on our minds.
Life Insurance Goes Beyond Protecting Loved Ones
Much like the quote, life insurance is one of those “higher human ideals” we all ascribe to fulfill. What finally motivated me to get life insurance wasn’t all the commercials or ads -- it was one simple quote that realigned me with where we should all be when thinking about our purpose in life. The world goes on as new life is born and old life dies. And life sometimes disappears so suddenly. None of us know for certain what the future holds, and yet we all hold someone dear and want to protect and shelter them. Whether it’s a newborn taking their first breath, or a dear parent or grandparent holding on to their memories just a little longer, taking care of them and valuing them as a person is what makes life so special. Insurance isn’t about just the monetary value of things. It says to them “I love you, and I want to protect you” -- to both the giver and the recipient. And although it’s one of those things we don’t like to think about until we get older, it’s a way of preserving stability and security long after we’re gone. Even if you’re one of those people that put off buying life insurance until later years - there’s still time to give yourself and your family that much-needed peace of mind in difficult times. Even though the world “moves ever on”, it still takes dreamers, idealists, practical thinkers, logical do-ers and all types of people to make it move as smoothly as possible. What you do today could change lives decades or even hundreds of years from now. Could this be the moment that you make that difference?