(Also known as Memento Mori Day, Remember You Die Day)
Memento Mori is observed next on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023 (224 days from today).
Life is short and seems to pass faster as we get older. Even so, many people still waste time on small things. But there's an antidote. Thinking about death not only reminds us that we have very little time to do what needs to be done, we also learn to accept death and it is all around us. Let's explore the Stoic philosophy of the phrase "Memento Mori".
"Memento Mori" is the Latin word meaning "remember thou art mortal" on the famous painting by Philippe de Champaign in 67, there are three essentials of memento mori. Hourglass means life is passing in seconds. The rose represents truth and vitality, meaning that at some point we all fall apart. The skull represents death. We are approaching death, and so are those around us, those we love. Meaning, today could be your last.
"You can leave life right now and let this define your actions, words, and thoughts," writes Marcus Aurelius in his book, "Thoughts."
If you had to die today, what would you do? Well, some people will dance, enjoy themselves before they die. But if you live by the principles of Stoicism, it is not a good choice that you will live out your last hours as upright and virtuous as possible. Do you want to show your love to those you love? Say you love them. Do you have any unfinished business? Let's deal with it now. So, memento mori is the antidote to procrastination, one of the most disgusting human habits because procrastination occurs when we believe we have plenty of time.
When that trust is lost, we find we need to work now, because tomorrow we might die. Thinking about death can evoke fear and sadness in addition to motivation to work. The cause is not death, but our perception of it. Epictetus once wrote:
"They are bothered, not by things, but by the principles and notions they form regarding things."
For Socrates, death is not a bad thing, but rather scary in our opinion when we think about it. Another aspect of memento mori is preparation. We will lose loved ones, and sometimes, in the most brutal ways. When looking at human history or what is happening on earth: the world is full of death!. Although the Stoic School suggested this idea, most of us are still human and must deal with grief when someone we love dies.
Reminding ourselves, we can lose a loved one right now so we won't be shocked when it happens. Most of the people I know, they are very painful when they lose a loved one. People are often so attached to each other that they cannot bear to lose. But if we understand death well, we can better train our minds about the possibility of loss. Instead of clinging to one person, wishing that we weren't apart, we can accept the fact that the day of separation will come. This does not mean that we should not grieve and grieve, but that we ourselves have long prepared. We know what to do to help the community when someone dies. In this mindset, someone's loss becomes more neutral. Marcus Aurelius once wrote:
“Like spring and old age like growth and maturity like new teeth, beard, first gray hair. Like delivery mating, conceiving and giving birth. Just like the physical changes at different stages, so do we return to dust?"
What happens after we die? Do we step into the eternal nothingness, no more sensory perception or emotional turmoil, no more worries, speculations, or physical slavery? Or reincarnated in another life? Nobody knows. But we know for sure that we are not immortal. When death smiles at you, what better way than to smile back at it?
ObservedMemento Mori has been observed annually on January 3rd.
Sunday, January 3rd, 2021
Monday, January 3rd, 2022
Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023
Wednesday, January 3rd, 2024
Friday, January 3rd, 2025