Memento Mori | Stoic Exercises For Inner Peace

Memento Mori | Stoic Exercises For Inner Peace


Life is short. It’s ticking away and seems to pass by faster
as we get older. Despite of this, many people waste their lives
on trivial things. But there’s an antidote. Thinking about death not only reminds us that
we have a limited amount of time to do the things we want to do; it also teaches us to
accept the reality of death itself and that it’s all around us. In this video, I explore the Stoic philosophy
behind memento mori. This video is animated by the YouTube channel
BD Design. For more philosophy videos like this, you´ll
find a link in the description. Now, let´s dive in! Memento mori is Latin for remember thou art
mortal. On the famous painting by Philippe de Champaigne
from 1671, you see the three essentials of memento mori. The hourglass stands for the notion that life
is ticking away second after second. The rose stands for the truth about vitality,
which is that, at some point, we all decay. The skull represents death. We are going to die. And not only us: the people around us including
our loved ones as well. This means that today could be the last day
you walk the earth. “You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and
think,” wrote Marcus Aurelius in his meditations. So, if you’d die today, what would you do? Well, some people would certainly go on a
hedonistic binge, getting whatever pleasure they can think of before they die. But if you lead your life according to Stoic
principles, that would not be a preferred option. Rather, you’d probably live your last hours
as virtuously as possible. Do you want to show appreciation for your
loved ones? Tell them you love them. Do you have unfinished business? Now is the time to take care of that. So, memento mori is a great antidote to one
of the nastiests habits of mankind: procrastination. Because procrastination can only take place
if we believe that we have an abundance of time. When we take that belief away, we face the
necessity of doing our task now, because tomorrow we might be dead. Now, thinking about death may evoke feelings
of fear and sorrow along with the motivation we get to take care of our business. This isn’t caused by death itself but by our
opinions about death. Here is a quote by Epictetus: Men are disturbed, not by things, but by the
principles and notions which they form concerning things. Death, for instance, is not terrible, else
it would have appeared so to Socrates. But the terror consists in our notion of death
that it is terrible. End quote. When we stop fearing death and we see it as
nothing more than the insurmountable consequence of life, we can be appreciative for the time
that is given to us and not squander it doing petty things. Another dimension of memento mori is preparation. Yes, we will lose the people we love and sometimes
in the most brutal ways. Just look at human history or look at what’s
happening in the world right now: the world is full of death. Not being affected by loss is, of course,
easier said than done. Even though the Stoics propose this ideal;
most of us are still human and will have to deal with grief when someone they love dies. Now, reminding ourselves of the possibility
that we can lose a loved one as we speak, helps us to be less shocked when that happens. For most people I know, losing someone they
love is excruciating. Humans are often so attached to each other
that they cannot bear the loss. But if we are mindful of the truth of death,
we can cultivate a healthier mindset towards the possibility of loss. Instead of clinging to a person, wishing that
we will never get separated, we can embrace the reality that the day of separation will
come. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t grieve
and mourn; it means that we were prepared all along. We can be more functional
and helpful human beings for the community when death occurs. In this case losing someone due to mortality
becomes more neutral. Here’s how Marcus Aurelius puts it: “Don’t look down on death, but welcome
it. It too is one of the things required by nature. Like youth and old age. Like growth and maturity. Like a new set of teeth, a beard, the first
gray hair. Like sex and pregnancy and childbirth. Like all the other physical changes at each
stage of life, our dissolution is no different.” End quote. What happens after we die? Will we enter the eternal nothingness that
frees us of sense-perception, emotional turmoil, worry and rumination and the enslavement of
our bodies? Or will we return to the flesh again for another
life in the realm of matter. No one knows for sure. But what we do know is that mortality is upon
us. When death smiles at us no matter where we
go, is there a better response than to smile back? Thank you for watching.

100 thoughts on “Memento Mori | Stoic Exercises For Inner Peace

  1. Procrastination is solved by death. Living your life as if you could die soon, when you don't know if you will, never works…………

  2. How to think about death has occupied center stage of many a great philosophy. I still hear the words of, "Hamlet." "To be or not to be?" That is the question for all of us.

  3. I am not lying,

    If I get to know that I am gonna die tomorrow, I will do nothing extraordinary at all .
    Will get up in the morning,
    I will take bath, eat breakfast , attend office, return home , have dinner with my family , drink tea before bed, plug ear phones in and will play Chopin Nocturne No.20 C sharp, will leave this earth with out any fear and regrets.

  4. Paradoxically, when you deal with death while alive, you become more alive.
    One lives the life to the fullest, because no fear is holding you back.

  5. As a Buddhist this was especially interesting- death awareness certainly makes our life meaningful, Shrouds don’t have pockets 😉🙏🏼🧘🏼‍♂️

  6. Yes, that's what I thought today, and I went to the cemetery to see my grandfather and paying him a visit. I've thought the exactely right thing that in this video is presented.

  7. Awesome video. Your content is great. I recently began practicing Stoicism and I find your content extremely helpful. Thank you.

  8. This channel tackles some existential elements that would bring anxiety to even the strongest stoics. Thank you for the courage to think larger

  9. Love your videos, I really like to see the notification of a new video by you.
    Keep up spreading the good message 👍🏼

    Ps. If you have any content regarding mental illnesses like anxiety or ocd I would appreciate it 🙂

  10. I've been thinking about death for some weeks, most likely because I've been idle and today I woke up sweating and thinking that some day I won't be here, could only say "stop it" out loud to myself… it was so sad and terrifying :'( it never happened to me before, but then I started to do things and eventually forgot about it. Now your video pops up and even though it's difficult to embrace death as something natural it helped me to put my feelings into words. I'm scared to go deeper into the subject but your words surely helped so thank you. I've been watching you content since the "5 Habits Of The Sigma Male" video and you manage to explain sensitive topics in a simple and understandable way in 10 minutes or less, so thank you again and great work!

  11. in my early 20's I thought I was having a heart attack. I was actually quite happy to go, I was more concerned if the pain was going to get worse just before I bit the dust.

  12. Have You Earned Your Tomorrow
    By Edgar Guest

    Is anybody happier because you passed his way?
    Does anyone remember that you spoke to him today?
    This day is almost over, and its toiling time is through;
    Is there anyone to utter now a kindly word of you?

    Did you give a cheerful greeting to the friend who came along?
    Or a churlish sort of "Howdy" and then vanish in the throng?
    Were you selfish pure and simple as you rushed along the way,
    Or is someone mighty grateful for a deed you did today?

    Can you say tonight, in parting with the day that's slipping fast,
    That you helped a single brother of the many that you passed?
    Is a single heart rejoicing over what you did or said;
    Does a man whose hopes were fading now with courage look ahead?

    Did you waste the day, or lose it, was it well or sorely spent?
    Did you leave a trail of kindness or a scar of discontent?
    As you close your eyes in slumber do you think that God would say,
    You have earned one more tomorrow by the work you did today?

  13. “However much my face clouds with sombre vanity, or vulgar vengeance, or contemptible contempt, the bones of my skull beneath it are laughing for ever.” – G.K. Chesterton

  14. 'Yesterday This Day's Madness did prepare; To-morrow's Silence, Triumph, or Despair:
    Drink! for you know not whence you came, nor why:
    Drink! for you know not why you go, nor where.'

    Omar Khayyám

  15. "If you gave more frequent thought to your death than to a long life, you would unquestionably be more eager to amend your life." – Thomas à Kempis

  16. 5:11 "When death smiles at us, is there a better response than to smile back ?" I kind of like the idea on which I'll meditate – thank you !

  17. I love the aesthetic vlog style….this animation is a bit too cartoonish for the topic discussed. Its only my opinion. No offence ❤

  18. For many years now, every-time I pass by a graveyard I always whisper under my breath "Memento Mori".
    My own personal nod to those who endured mortality and have passed on. And as they are; so too shall I be.

  19. “I have to die. If it is now, well then I die now; if later, then now I will take my lunch, since the hour for lunch has arrived – and dying I will tend to later.”

    – Epictetus

  20. i understand what you meant that no one knows what is going to happen after death but buddhism stand point of view , i have to trust other lives exist after death which is based on cause and effect , what we're doing ( good or bad) now will become in next life

  21. there's only way to escape of death , old age ,reborn cycle which is to do vipassan medidation so will reach nivrana and will free completely cycle

  22. If I’ll be dead tomorrow then I should not care about my assignment deadline… might as well not want to spend my last moments doing stupid uni assignments.

  23. As always, thought provoking & meaningful, thank you! I DO like the new vid style, guy has talent & I personally prefer graphics not be as deep as the content, if that makes sense. I prefer previous vid styles, no offense to anyone! Keep em coming

  24. I just wonder… What happen if you welcome death so cheerily that everything seems so pointless to do and stop caring what happen to others because of the fact that death is just a step behind us, I don't mean in it in a depressive state but kind of in a more neutral way? Am I being to selfish? I'm a lil bit confused…

  25. This is unprofessional and terrible animation. Feel free to compare it to other similar educational channels that uses animation.

  26. Stoicism is a coping mechanism to the inevitable. Most people think that life will go on forever, but we know the simple truth…..Memento Mori….

  27. Out of 17 000 of people who already watched this, I guess that at least a few hundred have cancer they don't yet know about.

  28. I;m a bit confused. Why would stoicism disapprove of hedonism in a last day of your life situation. After all wouldn't the stoic virtues force you to do everything meaningfulyl and purposefully? What meaning would there be in spending your last 24 hours according to any code of virtues? Those codes are all for long-time prosperity and well-being. If you are certain your demise is fast approaching, why not make the most of it and enjoy everything with disregard for the future that you will not experience?

    Ofc, the caveat here is, if you do care about the reputation you leave behind, the mark you leave on the people you meet, your family and friends, you wouldn't do anything to disadvantage them, but otherwise, I say it would be perfectly stoic to spend your last 24 hours engaging in the pleasures of the flesh, or even in those of a lazy mind. I think the last 24 hours should be spent seeking peace and acceptance, not worrying.

    And once more, if you do follow a faith, you should stay within the bounds of its principles. Indulgence should be fine, but not at the expense of the principles and comitements that are at the core of your identity.

  29. Hey, man can you just go back to making videos just like old ones without this animation. I am not criticizing just saying that I just miss yours without animation videos.

  30. The thing about where you go I think is this… a lot say you see the light in the end of the tunnel. The question is if you should follow the light or no. The answer is in all of us. Are you living by your heart? If you do, you follow your intuition and you always know deep down where you should go and follow your gut. The true knowledge flowing free from fear or outter influences.
    Or are you always in your mind?

  31. My challenge is to balance memento mori with trusting my instincts. There are people I feel such a desire to talk to, but don't for fear of opening myself up too much to them (or, telling them I like/love them and not being able to sustain that from my point of view).

  32. Is living a stoic life in this manner as described by Marcus Aurelius consistent with the notion of living in the present or "now" and that time is but a human construct? Humans constructed the notion and computation of "time" but that doesn't apply to the rest of the universe.

  33. To add to the philosophy I would recommend perceiving death as the passing of your "body" and not necessarily the end of YOU. -We do not know for sure but this put you into a optomistic perception of death. Furthermore, to avoid living in fear and desperation for the grim reaper but motivation.

  34. Easy said than done. We are connected to everything surrounding us, it affects our thoughts & our feelings. Unless we are disconnected, otherwise we will be affected regardless how powerful our mind are.

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