Memento Mori

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.”

-Marcus Aurelius


Memento Mori is a Latin phrase meaning, more or less, “remember you’re going to die.” Though it’s been used since the 5th century to call into question the vanity of earthy life, and to realign focus on the Christian afterlife, I’m referring to it here in a different way, offering a different kind of immortality. To contemplate death for a best possible life here and now – remembering oblivion’s unavoidable approach and letting petty concerns fall away, choosing to be guided instead by desire and self-realization – all in order to live well and to gauge our realization of a fulfilling life by asking ourselves if we’d be willing to accept our own immortality, our own life relived for eternity by us without any changes. Asking this is daunting but also promising; we’re forced to face whatever boredom, lack, or horror has come before and to justify its return by affirming henceforth a life so fulfilling that no prior misfortune would scare us from saying yes to our own immortality.


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