Philosophy Friday: Be Aware Of This
Imagine you’re living in the 1920s. Picture yourself there, at your current age. You’ve survived the carnage of the Great War and the Spanish Flu, each killing millions. Jazz and the Charleston dance are in vogue. You’re noticing more automobiles every day, and all your friends seem to be buying radios. You’re alive and living during exciting times.
Yet, in 100 years, people will not be interested in the 1920s. This period will be dead to them. These things you know and are familiar with and which are your world will be gone. And you’ll be dead too.
It’s an eerie thought experiment, right? It should feel a bit uncomfortable when we realise that this will be us, now in the 2020s, to people in 2120s or 2220s. We’ll be gone and quickly forgotten. Not just as individuals but our entire culture and way of life will mean little to people in 100 or 200 years.
“Soon, you will have forgotten everything.
Soon, everybody will have forgotten you.”
— Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor & Stoic Philosopher
All that matters is the time we have right now—the present moment. Whether we use it well or not is indifferent to the universe. As soon as it’s come, it’s gone, and we can never get it back. And one day, we’ll all run out of moments to have. Yet, we can leverage the knowledge of our impending and inevitable deaths to inspire us to make the most of the life we have right now.
Know that you will die, and remind yourself of this often to stay aware of this special, present moment.
That’s all you have.
“Don’t behave as if you are destined to live forever. What’s fated hangs over you. As long you live and while you can, become good now.”
— Marcus Aurelius