Seneca on the true nature of death

In a letter to a friend, Seneca wrote that death is not an event somewhere in the future. Rather, one should see death in the now, in the permanent progression of time. One could also say that every moment that passes dies in that very moment.

"The last hour in which we cease to exist does not itself bring death; it merely completes the dying process by itself. We are reaching death at this moment, but we have been on the way there for a long time."


At first, this sounds quite sad, since death in this case is an omnipresent event, rather than a single moment at the end of something.

An example to illustrate this view would be that we should not wish to live to be 100 years old, but to say to ourselves "I have already died 24 years", because one cannot live through the time one has already lived through once again.

What is the idea behind this approach?

If we keep in mind that while we can have more money, more luxuries, or more status at any given time, we will never have more time, then we can use our time more effectively.

A similar view towards death, crossed my path years ago. Sadhguru, a wise Indian yogi, once said that when you get up in the morning, give yourself a smile. A smile simply for being alive. Because every night when you go to bed, it's like you've died for the day. The day is over it will not come again and with it the person you were that day has died.

We can go back to the memories we went through that day, but we cannot relive what happened that day. The good thing, however, is that we can recall what we learned on that day based on the memory.

To summarize the whole thing once again: death is not a one-time event. Every moment that passes, death is inherent. We cannot increase the time we have on this beautiful blue planet, we can only use it more effectively.

So think carefully about what you want to do with your day today. But above all, enjoy the time you have here.

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