In letters from a Stoic, the Roman Senator and Stoic philosopher Seneca would write to his friend Lucilius to remind him of the shortness of human lives and why we should live it on a per-day basis. To make a point, he would borrow a remark from the philosopher Heraclitus saying “One day is equal to every day.” He goes to explain that “One day is equal to all days through resemblance, because the very longest space of time possesses no element which cannot be found in a single day—namely, light and darkness—and even to eternity day makes these alternations“
To explain the point further, he would narrate a guy named Pacuvius who ends his day with a late-night funeral celebration. He would celebrate with wine and feast and hire “eunuchs to applaud and sing in Greek to a musical accompaniment: “He has lived his life, he has lived his life!” Seneca said that we should live our lives as if we only have one day to live and if ever we wake up the next morning we should treat as a bonus. “And if God is pleased to add another day, we should welcome it with glad hearts … When a man has said: ‘I have lived!’ every morning he arises he receives a bonus. “
Obviously, reminding ourselves of mortality through funeral celebration these days is kind of insane but the story of Pacuvius got me thinking of finding ways to remind myself that death is always at my elbow. As the Roman Emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius famously said “Death smiles at us all, all we can do is smile back.”
Here are 3 simple ways I remind myself of my mortality.
Hourglass is my favorite visual reminder of how fleeting time is. Having one near my table always reminds me to put all my energy into things that truly matter. It helps me cut off all unnecessary emotions and negativities. When you are always reminded how scarce a particular resource is, you tend to value it more.
I wanted a 24-hour hourglass as Seneca would say “We die every day.” in one of his letters but I couldn’t find one. I’m not sure what the technical difficulty is but when you buy hourglass they are normally in per minute/hour range. If you could find a 24-hour hourglass please share it in the comment section below.
Here is the 60 minutes hourglass that I bought online.
2. Mobile Apps
There are actually mobile applications you can use to remind yourself of your mortality. One that I am particularly using is WeCroak. You can visit their website at www.wecroak.com to download the application or go directly to the Apps store or Google Play Store. For iPhone users, you do need to have iOS 13 version or later.
Once you download the app to your phone, it will remind you of your impending death, five times a day.
Other similar apps are Death Cloak, Death Salons, and Death Cafes.
3. Memento Mori Wall Paper
Memento Mori is a Latin phrase for “Remember You Will Die”. I use my phone a lot so I thought having a memento mori wallpaper would be a good way to remind myself of my mortality constantly. There are a lot of free wallpapers you can find just google “Memento Mori wallpaper”. There are desktop versions of it too if you use a laptop or PC quite a lot.
Here is a snapshot of my memento mori wallpaper on my phone.
How about you? Do you have a way to remind of your mortality that is not from the list? Feel free to share it in the comment section below.
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