How To Die by Seneca
An important perspective on the idea and the inevitability of death and how acceptance of this grants freedom in all other aspects of life.
Death is a necessity in life and is inescapable. Through avoidance of this certainty comes frustration and fear, lessening the quality of your life. By pondering death and accepting that it will be upon you soon enough, you can focus your action on what matters most. You are able to live life unhindered by its associated fear.
In avoidance of death you succumb to regret, for you don’t truly live. In renouncement of death you succumb to foolishness, for you seek to change nature.
The finiteness of life is what fosters beauty. Nothing can be beautiful if it is eternal. Each moment is fleeting, to be experienced once and then never again. You are graced with these moments, but when met with death, you seek more. For what reason? Did you waste those that have passed? Would you not continue to waste them if you were granted extension?
To die well is to have lived well and prepared for death through life. Ensure presence in each moment, so that when you are greeted by death you can say you have truly lived and that this is just the natural next step.
- Meditate on the idea of your death and accept it for the certainty it is.
- Recognize that your tomorrow has no certainty and account for that in your actions today.
- Live well and die well; make the most of life and don’t needlessly extend the period of time in which you are alive at the detriment of your well-being.
Nothing can be of such great benefit to you, in your quest for moderation in all things, than to frequently contemplate the brevity of one’s life span, and its uncertainty. Whatever you undertake, cast your eyes on death.
Whoever is brought into life is destined for death. Let’s rejoice in what will be given, but let’s return it when we’re asked for it back.
Death is the undoing of all our sorrows, an end beyond which our ills cannot go; it returns us to that peace in which we reposed before we were born. If someone pities the dead, let him also pity those not yet born.
Wouldn’t a man seem to you the greatest of all fools, if he wept because for a thousand years previously he had not been alive? He’s just as great a fool is he weeps because he won’t live for a thousand years to come.
It’s of no matter whether one dies sooner, or later; dying well or badly is what matters. And to die well is to escape the danger of living badly.
Which do you think more fair, I ask you: that you obey Nature, or that Nature obey you? What difference does it make how fast you depart a place that must, without doubt, be departed? We ought to take care that we live not a long time, but enough; for we need Fate to help us live long, but our own minds, to live enough.