Describe your idea of how you would like to orchestrate your end of life ceremony. You might be interested in these essays on the Modern Stoicism website: https://modernstoicism.com/on-vegetarianism-and-stoicism-by-jeremy-corter/ and https://modernstoicism.com/should-a-modern-stoic-be-vegetarian-by-massimo-pigliucci/. I respectfully disagree. Well, itâs telling us a lot about our attitudes to death. There is not 10 Commandments of Stoicism or single elucidation of the philosophy. But Epictetus has an answer ready: “I don’t mind, provided only that they do good.” If whispering this thought accomplishes something good, then how can it be bad? The government is working on its âexcess death contingency planningâ â ie where to put all the extra bodies. This is why I believe itâs a mistake for people to read Epictetusâ advice and either run away or try to apply it before they are ready. I started thinking about how I could be a brave role model for my kids and show them what is important in life. You might be led to do disgraceful or dishonest things because staying alive is more important to you than being good or wise. The idea has been central to art, philosophy, literature, architecture, and more throughout history. Death is not only an ever-present fact of life, it is also a benevolent natural process that should not be feared. You might think it very strange that Iâve chosen to write about death on Apparent Stoic. But it is also undeniably true. I think I first came across it when I was at school â it is mentioned in the play One Way Pendulum by N.F. They move from an attachment to life to an attachment to death. Should you give in to negative thoughts, or should you work harder to be at peace with yourself and the world? I strongly recommend that brand new 21st-century Stoics do not start by envisioning the deaths of their children. I would venture to guess that many would-be Stoics come across these famous sayings and run away from Stoic philosophy, never to return. So I put off thinking about their deaths for a long time. What a spectacle 2020 has been! Thanks for thought provoking post! I've started going to the gym again after taking a pretty long break. There is nothing but the body. Near death experiences can often be life-affirming, reminding us not to sweat the small stuff, to appreciate existence, to tell those we love that we love them, and to focus on the projects most important to us while we still have life. Say that is is also of bad omen for ears of corn to be harvested, because that signifies the destruction of the corn. In such a culture, it is unsurprising the memento mori has all but disappeared. Personally, while I would love to become vegetarian, I am not committed enough to pull it off. And I also knew, very clearly, that the thing I most wanted to do with the rest of my life was write books. You can do a morning and evening meditation, as Seneca suggests, evaluating your own actions as a Stoic and a parent. A tyrant can force you to do whatever he wants, because you would rather submit than face death. Panic could be more dangerous than the actual illness â a complete freezing of all economic activity for three months would plunge the world into a global recession, which could very well cause more suffering than the actual illness. Stoic exercise cards - Memento Mori, amor fati... Go to cart. See more. This reminder is for yourself, not others. This is an antidote against any excessive vanity over oneâs achievements, or self-loathing over oneâs failures. My family went skiing in Norway, staying at our family hut in the Peer Gynt region in the middle of the country, as we do every year. The ancients used it to accept the natural cycle of life and death, to transcend the self, to achieve harmony with the cosmos, to overcome their pride and egotism. The complete Stoic Ready at Hand Collection - Stoic and Socrates Coin - Stoic Signet Ring - Stoic card deck. Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble, FSP talks with NR's Kathryn Jean Lopez about her new "Remember Your Death: After the Vietnam War, which brought the reality of violent death into American homes and onto their TV screens, armies have learnt to restrict press access and bring home corpses of soldiers zipped up in body bags and smuggled in to secluded military airports. But it wasnât just poets who dwelt on death. Live Urgently â An Exercise Memento Mori Memento mori ( Latin : âremember that you can dieâ  ) is the medieval Latin theory and practice of reflection on mortality, especially as a means of considering the vanity of earthly life and the transient nature of all earthly goods and pursuits. Sister Theresa Aletheia Noble, FSPâ in her recent books about memento mori, and on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube âoffers specific steps while also cautioning readers not to worry about doing them precisely. Memento mori is Latin and means âremember you are mortal.â âWhy would we want to remember that?â you may ask. ð. Some take this literally, and seek scientific means for massive life extension or even immortality â like the transhumanist FM-2030, who froze his body so he could be thawed when we have discovered the means for immortality (thereâs a new documentary about him, by the way, which you can watch here). Itâs a natural process, not something to be afraid of. Today, I want toâ¦ In a dangerous situation, you will lose your courage because you donât want to die. I have a strong sense there is something beyond this life, but thatâs just my sense. If you kiss your child or your wife, say to yourself that it is a human being that you’re kissing; and then, if one of them should die, you won’t be upset.”Â (Epictetus, Enchiridion, 3), “From now on, whenever you take delight in anything, call to mind the opposite impression; what harm is there is saying beneath your breath as you’re kissing your child, ‘Tomorrow you’ll die’?” (Epictetus, Discourses, 3.24, 88). The Chaldeans predicted the deaths of many others; in due course, their own hour arrived. Memento Mori, as a practice during this complicated time in history, allows us to face our fears, flaws, and failures individually and as a country. âDonât worry, Iâm a fighterâ becomes the expected refrain of the critically ill. Death must be resisted, because there is nothing else but life. It manifested physically: my sense of physical feeling and contact became numbed. I was always prone to worst-case scenario thinkingâI frequently thought my kids were about to get killed on the playground or die of a fever. Thereby, we became less like animals, and more like gods. You can still feel a renewed sense of love and appreciation by doing this milder alternative. Should you try to control things you can’t control, or should you focus your energy where it counts? (This is still an area where I have to work very hard to keep my mind in the right place.) You can continue reading the ancient Stoic texts and modern commentary on them. Another exercise is to remind oneself how all the glorious figures of the past, the wise, the beautiful and the powerful, are all now dead and buried. It’s clear from the Discourses that Epictetus realized his advice was distressing, even to his philosophy students in ancient Rome. You can focus on developing good judgment, and on ways to teach your child good judgment. I was at that time still struggling with depression and social anxiety, working for a financial magazine where I felt bored and alienated, and estranged from both my colleagues, my parents, and the human race in general. Eventually, with all these ideas swimming around my brain, I began to unconsciously visualize death for myself and my loved ones. See the interview at https://www.livinginagreement.com/post/making-progress-as-a-stoic, The Quality of Our Minds: Preteens, Teens, and the Online World, Want More Positive Energy as a Parent? Imagine if, on the Oprah show, Dr Phil were to lean forward and say, âYou know, Oprah, thereâs no real point getting worked up about life. It was not a goodbye, but it was a greeting. Instead of accepting death as natural, medicine has taught us to believe that something can always be done to stave it off. This exercise developed into a whole genre of literature, known as the Ubi Sunt, or âwhere are they nowâ. It’s a shocking idea, both then and now. Drawing on smells, sounds, feelings, and sensations the practitioner moves through five steps. We are mortal creatures, and we will someday pass away. The Renaissance aristocrat and essayist Michel de Montaigne, who was deeply influenced by Stoic thought, put it well: let us deprive death of its strangeness; let us frequent it; let us get used to it; let us have nothing more often in mind than death. Human illness and death has been taken from the home and shifted into the sterilised environment of the hospital, where it takes place behind a discreet plastic curtain. Goth sub-culture shows, by contrast, an apparent inability to consider anything but death. Carpe diem et memento mori tattoo is a good go-to if you are not into a typical or simple memento mori phrases or designs. He explains his reasoning in more detail: “But would you describe any word to me as ill-omened if it refers to something that follows the course of nature? The technique was put forward by the Buddha himself, in the Satapathana Sutta, as one of the four techniques for âarousing of mindfulnessâ: [A] monk reflects on this very body enveloped by the skin and full of manifold impurity from the soles up and from the crown of the head down, thinking, âThere are in this body: hair of the head, hair of the body, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, marrow, kidney, heart, liver, membranes, spleen, lungs, bowels, intestines, faeces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, saliva, mucus, urineâ¦. I started internalizing the idea that virtue is the only true good, and that we canât control anything else. Hey there! An introduction about the man's new course of learning how to be himself when he has nothing but existence. Focus on other ways you can be a good parent and grow your Stoic practice. I did not break down into tears or feel anxious, terrified, or crazy. But you couldnât say that the Goth obsession with death is really a memento mori in anything like the Stoic sense. A similar exercise is still used in Buddhism in Asia, in a much more radical form. inspired by the television series and feature film airs with an all-new Wednesday, November 25, 2020, episode and we have your S.W.A.T. Memento Mori, as a practice during this complicated time in history, allows us to face our fears, flaws, and failures individually and as a country. I am curious, to be honest. But even then I myself don’t want to be responsible for an animal’s death because of hedonistic need to satisfy a craving, and would like animals to be treated ethically and not abused. Conventional values teach us to fear death and hate it, as an intrusion of savage nature into our carefully-ordered plans. If you fear death, other people and things will have power over you. Why arenât I more successful, more famous, more celebrated? Modern academics have tended to see Aureliusâ musings on death and decomposition as an indication of his morbid and overly-pessimistic personality. In the ancient practice of asubhabhavana, monks go to meditate in cemeteries, surrounded by corpses, and solemnly contemplate the ten stages of decomposition â bloated, fissured, bloody, festering, blueish, chewed up, scattered about, reduced to bone, and burnt. For anyone who is new to Stoicism, I do not recommend that you try to put this into practice right away. It seemed like a completely natural thing to be thinking about, given all the philosophy I had read. There are several great articles explaining the purpose of the memento mori exercise and how to do it, including The Daily Stoic and Philosophy for Life. Montaigne mentions the example of the custom in ancient Egypt, where during the heigh of a banquet, the Egyptians would bring in a mummified corpse, held up by a man crying âEat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you shall be like this.â. This milder version can still make you stop and think about how much you would miss him, how lucky you are to have him, and how itâs worth all the daily toil so you can share your life with your child. So we need to face this situation like adults. I know where you live. And yet, most of us recoil from any suggestion that we spend time thinking about death. Memento mori was a natural outgrowth of maturing as a Stoic and as a person. If you have discovered Stoicism and you think it is a good philosophy of life, there are many other mental exercises you can do to make progress as a Stoic. Durden replies: âIâm keeping your license. 1. Great points, Wren! The idea of memento mori is that you should think on your mortality. Perhaps the spiritual exercise that has fallen furthest from popularity and common usage is the memento mori, the remembrance of death. The Lenten devotional was designed by Sister Theresa Aletheia Noble to help others meditate on the moments of their lives and ultimately remember Christians hope in the Resurrection -- made possible through Christ's victory over sin and death. Having a true and accurate understanding of life helps us to live in the best, wisest way while we still can. But even here, there seems to be an inability to go beyond our culture of glamour and materialism â Hirstâs famous pickled shark is called, tellingly, âThe physical impossibility of death in the mind of someone livingâ. To help each of us better ourselves, â¦ The Victorians were still fascinated by death. This is a photo illustration depicting memento mori, a reminder of one's death. Charnel houses would exhibit hundreds of skulls and bones stacked up in a grim reminder of our fate. There are several great articles explaining the purpose of the memento mori exercise and how to do it, including The Daily Stoic and Philosophy for Life. Mourning is no longer a public, communal event. They have come back into vogue recently and can be used to nudge people towards better behaviour. "Memento." While the self-help movement may have pilfered many ideas and techniques from Stoicism, it has steered a wide berth around its emphasis on human mortality. Personally, I have found the memento mori a useful occasional exercise, particularly in moments where I am getting down on myself for my perceived failures. Exercise: Hold Your Own Court Case Cato the Younger was a politician and statesman in the late Roman Republic. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave. This is where the majority of the memento mori images and designs came from, however this concept is not limited to Western traditions. 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