A lot of times we tend to compartmentalize our being. We have two feet, two hands, two eyes, two ears, one mind (or maybe two), one soul, one nose, ten fingers, ten toes, 206 bones, numerous muscles, billions of cells. In truth these individual components only exist as elements of the whole. Without the whole, they serve no purpose.
Should we lose one of these components, we still remain whole, and the ear, the eye, the litre of blood is returned to the earth to be broken down into its composite elements, which are then recycled into the building blocks for future life.
So while we like to think of ourselves as a whole, we are really just components of the world. Without us, the world lives on. Without the world, we serve no purpose. And when one of us dies, we are broken down into our composite elements, which are then recycled into the building blocks for future life.
Whether our intelligence lives on (or not) in some form or other, be it heaven, reincarnation or legacy, is the question that keeps us striving to do good, to build karma, to excel in our chosen field. With that said, what good can come from a book or a painting or a song, if none remain to enjoy it? When the world is gone, does the song still remain?