Memento Mori, a Latin phrase which means “Remember You Must Die”, is a popular practice among ancient stoics to remind themselves of their mortality. This might sound unusual after hearing it for the first time and for some sounds scary but actually it can make one be more appreciative of the present. Seneca, a popular stoic philosopher, said that one of his friends has a daily ritual by sitting aside a coffin with some wine imagining himself dead inside. If you think about it if you know you can leave the world right now, you will try to treasure every minute and second you have left with your time.
Top 10 Quotes About Memento Mori From Ancient Stoics
1. “You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.” Meditations 2.11
2. “Not to live as if you had endless years ahead of you. Death overshadows you. While you’re alive and able—be good.” Meditations 4.17
3. “And what dying is—and that if you look at it in the abstract and break down your imaginary ideas of it by logical analysis, you realize that it’s nothing but a process of nature, which only children can be afraid of. (And not only a process of nature but a necessary one.)” Meditations 2.12
“Death: something like birth, a natural mystery, elements that split and recombine. Not an embarrassing thing. Not an offense to reason, or our nature.” Meditations 4.5
4. “Accepts death in a cheerful spirit, as nothing but the dissolution of the elements from which each living thing is composed. If it doesn’t hurt the individual elements to change continually into one another, why are people afraid of all of them changing and separating? It’s a natural thing. And nothing natural is evil.”
5. “You boarded, you set sail, and you’ve made the passage. Time to disembark. If it’s for another life, well, there’s nowhere without gods on that side either. If to nothingness, then you no longer have to put up with pain and pleasure, or go on dancing attendance on this battered crate, your body—so much inferior to that which serves it. One is mind and spirit, the other earth, and garbage.” Meditations 3.3
6. “Death: something like birth, a natural mystery, elements that split and recombine. Not an embarrassing thing. Not an offense to reason, or our nature.” Meditations 4.5
7. “The wise man is not distressed by the loss of children or of friends. For he endures their death in the same spirit in which he awaits his own. And he fears the one as little as he grieves for the other. For the underlying principle of virtue is conformity; all the works of virtue are in harmony and agreement with virtue itself. But this harmony is lost if the soul, which ought to be uplifted, is cast down by grief or a sense of loss. It is ever a dishonour for a man to be troubled and fretted, to be numbed when there is any call for activity. For that which is honourable is free from care and untrammelled, is unafraid, and stands girt for action.
“What,” you ask, “will the wise man experience no emotion like disturbance of spirit? Will not his features change colour, his countenance be agitated, and his limbs grow cold? And there are other things which we do, not under the influence of the will, but unconsciously and as the result of a sort of natural impulse.” I admit that this is true; but the sage will retain the firm belief that none of these things is evil, or important enough to make a healthy mind break down.” Letters from a Stoic 74
8. “Think of the multitudes of men doomed to death who will come after you, of the multitudes who will go with you! You would die more bravely, I suppose, in the company of many thousands; and yet there are many thousands, both of men and of animals, who at this very moment, while you are irresolute about death, are breathing their last, in their several ways. But you—did you believe that you would not some day reach the goal towards which you have always been travelling? No journey but has its end.” Letters from a Stoic 77
9. “No man can have a peaceful life who thinks too much about lengthening it, or believes that living through many consulships is a great blessing.” Letters from a Stoic 4
10. “Take my word for it: since the day you were born you are being led thither. We must ponder this thought, and thoughts of the like nature, if we desire to be calm as we await that last hour, the fear of which makes all previous hours uneasy.” Letters from a Stoic 4