Lucas Brenner » Articles » Memento Mori

Memento Mori is an ancient Roman expression that translates to “Be aware of your mortality.” It is not about a desire for death, but about humility and humanity.

The Romans had the custom of having a slave hold a laurel wreath over the commander's head during military triumphal processions and chant this saying.

Especially today, it is important to keep in mind that we are all going to die. Technology, modern medicine and increasingly large cities give the impression that we have domesticated nature. Yet, while we have changed our environment, we are just as vulnerable, human and mortal as we were millions of years ago.

We do not control life, but can only move within narrowly defined boundaries.

Memento Mori is not about scaring yourself. You should think of your mortality in order to put your decisions and actions into perspective. Against the backdrop of death, revenge and arguments seem unnecessary.

The fear of death can be paralyzing. Yet dying is as much a part of life as being born. To overcome this fear, one should heed the Stoic maxim: Accept what you cannot change.

Our own death sentence has long since been pronounced. Ever since we first saw the light of day, we have been dying. With each passing second, it becomes less likely that we will live to see the next day.

However, this realization is not terrible, quite the opposite! Only in this way can we concentrate on what is really important and spend our lives wisely.

The perspective that mortality opens up is not devastating, but inspiring. You finally see things in the right light and realize what is meaningful and what has only appeared to be important.

Just because death is life's biggest obstacle doesn't mean you can't use it.

Author Ryan Holiday writes that the obstacle is the path. Challenges allow you to improve and learn. Without death, life would stand still because there would be no reason to evolve.

We should not be afraid of death, but be grateful that we are given time on earth.

Remember that you will die. Memento Mori.