Today we’re going to revisit Ward Farnsworth’s great book The Practicing Stoic.
It’s on “Death.”
We’ll turn to page 49 to be precise.
With the logical precision of the Dean of a Law School, Farnsworth presents the Stoic’s perspective on how to think about things like life and death.
(I hereby challenge you not to evolve your thinking on the subject after reading this chapter.)
In addition to referencing wisdom from the primary Stoics like Seneca, Epictetus and Aurelius, Farnsworth also draws on wisdom from some of history’s most brilliant thinkers who were inspired by Stoicism.
In his chapter on Death, Farnsworth quotes Montaigne who tells us: “Aristotle says that there are little animals by the river Hypanis that live only a day. The one that dies at eight o’clock in the morning dies in its youth; the one that dies at five in the afternoon dies in its decrepitude. Which of us does not laugh to see this moment of duration considered in terms of happiness or unhappiness? The length or shortness of our duration, if we compare it with eternity, or yet with the duration of mountains, rivers, stars, trees, and even of some animals, is no less ridiculous.”
That’s some strong Stoic medicine.
Memento Aristotle’s Little River Creatures.
This life of ours is preciously brief.
Let’s celebrate it.
And live it fully.