Any idea what the phrase “memento mori” or “ars moriendi” mean?
It’s a bit morbid, but knowing about these concepts can help us live in the moment, and free us from worrying about all the time we don’t have.
I found it fascinating…and oddly comforting…when I was introduced to it a few days ago.
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Hope this helps!
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GREAT subject David, albeit one that most are uncomfortable with. Personally, I welcome death. No hurry for it, yet I look forward to that eventual last breath after a life well lived. This is because I believe that my physical passing is the only route to receiving my much deserved spiritual promotion. Again, no rush for this inevitable event, yet, because of this belief I choose to spend this time here doing everything I can to richly deserve what is coming next.
Pace e Amore,
Spiritual Promotion…. I love that!
Wow. Not three minutes before watching this video, I was reflecting on the passing Sunday of an old friend, my first agent in LA, and the fact that I’m becoming more and more aware that people I knew rather well are passing away. I don’t feel old, even though I’m now considered a “Senior” by many standards. This last year has been a huge struggle for me, as we (my hubs and I) navigate the waters of change and anticipate what the next phase will be. Will our move be to our last stop on the highway of life? Or is there more to come? In the midst of the considerable stress I’ve been feeling I’ve tried to remind myself that really, all I’ve got is today, and no matter how long this transition ends up taking, it’s foolish to let the stress of it rule my thinking. It’s a struggle in itself to change my mindset, but I so agree with your feeling that we all need to live the moments and enjoy the fruits of today’s labors. Some call it gratitude, but I think more contentment. I know I’m good right now, today. And who knows… tomorrow I could get hit by a bus!
Memento Maury! HA! Brilliant.
Facing one’s mortality is a trepidus subject; more for some than others.
Everyone has Eureka moments in their lives—that instant when a surprising (for them) realization of life, or crystallization of of a particularly troublesome conundrum suddenly becomes conscious. The more modern take is an “Ah ha!” moment. But a true Epiphany or epiphany may never come.
Epiphanies used to be exclusively religious—a particular biblical one survives to this day in religious rites. Later Epiphanies were those life-changing events the religious point to as the personal intervention of God in their lives. But non-believers and even unbelievers have epiphanies—some never have them and some never acknowledge them.
I have been fortunate to have had two. One as a preteen which changed the shape of my life and formed the foundation to build the man I am today with a lifetime of public service to show for it. The other laughingly showed me my mortality (slapped me in my face with it to assure my attention, actually) at a rather young age, then whisked it away; leaving the very clear impression I would have it later at an undisclosed time along with its no return, no exchange guarantee.
You might even be able to imagine hitting a muffler, on the freeway, on a motorcycle, at over 60MPH, in heavy traffic.
They say that at the moment of realization of certain death, one’s entire life is replayed in an instant. I can tell you that it is true and it’s all well and good. The problem comes when your brain returns to the moment and has several seconds to gain full understanding: you are no longer in control of your existence. Then another five to ten inexorable, interminable seconds to savor what’s left of it.
Most of us have thought that or felt that at one time or another in their lives—there is a mental health industry built on it. But I can tell you that it is a bit different when it is real. Fatalists will say that we are all along for the ride. They have no freaking idea.
I could describe the ride; there isn’t enough space. I could describe the feeling; there are no words.
So, David and dear readers, I raise my glass to you and toast: I missed my bus but caught the message. I have done and will continue to do my best as we all continue our long (or short) slide into oblivion. Make it good or make it bad; just make it memorable.
Very interesting, thoughtful video, David, and fascinating despite the “morbid” topic. Bravo, thoroughly enjoyed it.
I appreciate your candor David. I’m in my mid-forties and I think about death more than I used to, sometime too much. I think about all that I haven’t done, but then I start thinking about all I have done. I remind myself of my victories and the wonderful state my life is in now, and then I feel more positive. I think about all that is to come and it makes me smile. When I get all worked up about something that upsets me I sometimes calm myself down by reminding myself how fortunate I am to have all the great things that I have. I sometimes think to myself that I could be gone tomorrow so enjoy every day and really appreciate each day. Thanks for the video David.
Thank you David. An interesting subject that gets a very bad rap. I am not at all afraid of death, and actually look forward to it (though not today, thank you!) because I am confident about what comes next. The older I get, the more I want to accomplish before that day, because I see that the time is shorter than ever. Like you, there is so much I still want to try, though living in LA is definitely not one of them… :) Life is so much fun when you can see the potential, and living each day as if it might be your last can be rather exciting for adventure-lovers (yes, I am one).
Wow. Tears flowed.
I first got present to my mortality when I was my MIL’s person / advocate for a few years. It scared the shed out of me. As time passed that experience receded quietly into the background, only coming out for a quick check-in every now and then. More recently though, it’s moved back in for an indeterminate visit. Health situations spurred it. Plus for decades I have been the helpful one, putting the majority of my time, talent and effort on to others (my therapist has helped sort that out) and it was me trying to grasp on to every piece of life (in desperation), to enjoy, no, to experience life as much as possible, before I could no longer. I just have a broken foot and a shoulder that requires surgery later this year, I am not critical.
I have taken on a LOT of training in the past few years and have been clearly overcommitted. But my justification has been – if I don’t do it now…
I used to say “relaxing is a learned thing for me”; well, it still is. So what would work for me is to truly have balance. Yes, more work to get there, but it would provide me more fun, enjoyment, and satisfaction.
I have recently been rattled by, to my core as they say, a recent suicide of a young man. So I look at what it is to enjoy life, and do my best to do that, more of what works.
I’ve stopped crying now, and I’m not even going to reread this before I submit…
All there is: good topic choice today, David, attaboy.
NB in CA (the northern one)
Ars Vivendi or the Art of Living, and Ars Bene Moriendi or the Art of Dying Well.
I do not worry about death. I try to enjoy each day regardless of what obstacles appear, I handle them and move on..I have handled a lot in my life, and I don’t dwell on the past…just move toward the future.I am 73 and don’t think about death.
Like you, David, I do not find religion much use. And as a (try to be) rational person, I do not find any evidence for life after death. I am fascinated by near death experience stories, but they are far from convincing or even consistent. However I still instinctively feel , “There has got to be more than this”. Since we do not know everything about the universe, or alternate universes, I think there is a slim possibility that life goes on after death in some unimagined way.
It’s a bit like believing in life on other worlds. No evidence, but just realizing how big and unknown the universe is makes one think that there must be life of some sort out there somewhere. Of course the difference is we may someday learn the answer to Life On Other Worlds, but currently no way to ever find the answer to Life After Death.
I guess the best we can do is lead the best life we can and hope for a “good” death and maybe beyond death. I hope for an afterlife, but if not I get comfort from a quote from the Roman poet Horace. ” Vita brevis, Ars longa.” Life is brief, Art is lasting.
Wow. So many thoughts on this.
First, an anecdote. For some reason on this particular day in the past I said “hit by a truck”. “Unless I’m hit by a truck, I’ll be here for lunch with you tomorrow.” Guess what – I was hit by a truck. I got better. It was just a bad bump, but the car was messed up and I was shaken, and I was not at that lunch meeting. I don’t say that any more. Except when I forget, and say it anyway.
Second, a couple of years ago I produced a one-off Improv show “It’s Your Funeral”. Turns out I was the only one who “got” my idea. My friends joined in to support me, but didn’t really get what I was trying to do. That’s how it goes, sometimes. See, I have had occasional fantasies about dying well. My life didn’t go in the direction of the particular fantasies I had long ago, but I still like the idea of it. So the show was that one of us would tell a little about how we would like our end to be, and then the others would enact scenes of our funeral, inspired by our monologue.
Last point and then I’ll leave it here for today. Topics like this make me think I would like to have a nice long conversation over drinks with you someday.
Hi David. I’m in my 79th year so…the last, what – ten/twelve percent of my predicted time here on terra
firma? Can’t say for sure but I do know one thing: there’s lots I want to do before that day comes, most
of which revolves around spending time with my children, grands and great-grands and especially with
my still-beautiful bride of sixty years. What a life I’ve had. Lots of big ‘Attaboys’ and yes, a couple of large
‘Oh Poops.’ That’s life! Interesting that you’d choose today to bring up this topic. Just yesterday I adopted
a new mantra aimed at keeping me thinking young. “Don’t let the Old Man in.’ Stole it from none other
than Clint Eastwood. It’s all explainjed in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xw0NpFdEme4
Have a great day!