Embracing death is the same as embracing life.
We run out of time long before running out of money.
We can’t seem to grasp this.
Distractions rule our lives. Social media, watching sports, binge-viewing, overeating, gambling, and drugs/alcohol take up too many hours.
Why are we trying so hard to distract ourselves?
We suffer from an immense reality deficit. We spend boundless amounts of energy, avoiding thinking about our demise and other unpleasant subjects.
Maybe this stress is a reason Americans have a lower life expectancy than those in other developed nations.
Source: United Health Foundation
This deficit impacts our lives in other ways. We blame, get angry, generate self-pity, and use other distractions all in the name of avoidance. Running from death is the primary catalyst.
We are the only animal conscious of our impending demise, and it shows.
Our obsession with newness flaunts our paranoia.
According to Robert Greene:
We surround ourselves with what is new fresh and trending. Some people have even come to entertain the idea that through technology, we can overcome death itself, the ultimate in human denial. In general, technology gives us the feeling that we have such godlike powers that we can prolong life and ignore the reality for quite a long time. In this sense, we are no more reliable than our most primitive ancestors. We have simply found new ways to delude ourselves.
Our desire for control fuels much of our actions
Though I can’t prove this, I suspect many people try to save a lot of money because somehow, in their subconscious, this helps guarantee them a longer life. “After all, how could I possibly die with so many chips still left on the table?”
We don’t realize a “nobody gets out of here alive attitude” makes wealth accumulation more enjoyable.
Staying in a comfort zone gives us a sense of false protection. Predictability becomes the safety net, and addictions may follow.
Directly confronting death makes us more alive. Imagine if you knew this was the last time you would see a friend or relative. Would you be playing with your cell-phone while she was speaking? You would focus on their every word, listening while applying all of your energy to the present.
The other night I tried this experiment. I imagined this was the last time I would see my garden. An amazing thing happened. The colors brightened, the shapes became sharper, and the sounds clearer. I looked above my head, and a bat flew by. I’m not sure what that was about, but you get the picture.
Thinking this day could be your last isn’t a get out of jail free card for un-checked hedonism. On the contrary, knowing your time on this planet is barely a millisecond in the big picture of things is pure freedom.
What effects might this realization have upon our lifestyle?
Instead of hoarding your money, be more inclined to help others in need.
Instead of mindlessly purchasing the latest gadgets, look to add more experiences and connections to people.
Instead of poisoning your body with drugs and alcohol, be as sharp and present as possible. Knowing the clock is ticking is a game-changer.
A sense of urgency to complete the bucket list takes precedence over protecting what you already possess.
Knowing we’re all destined to the same fate creates empathy. Is it worth fighting over politics and religion when we are all in the same mortality boat?
New connections outside of the tribe become a strong possibility.
Our wealth is supposed to be the ticket to happiness for ourselves and others.
If we don’t accept the party may end much sooner than we think, we’ll never collect the winnings.
Amor Fati- Embrace the love of fate before it embraces you.
Source: The Laws Of Human Nature by Robert Greene