Weekly Self-infliction #2: Death (Transcript)


“Death twitches my ear. ‘Live,’ he says, ‘I am coming.’” ~Virgil


Death twitches everybody’s ear. The question is: are you listening? Are you living a half-dead life or are you living your best life? If you are living your life to the fullest, then you are dying well. If you are living a dead life, then you are dying poorly. You alone know where you stand.


But have no doubt, you will die. You will one day be food for worms. Everything is transient. Everything is fleeting. Nothing is permanent. Our species existence on this planet is a flash-in-the-pan compared to the age of the universe.


Death is the ultimate leveling mechanism. It gives us perspective. It forces our head over the edge of the abyss. But, if you listen closely, the abyss speaks. It guides. It oversees and undersees. It asks us the tough questions: “Does your path have heart?” “Are you living your best life?” “Does your life have purpose and meaning?”


Contemplating death pierces the veil between mortality and eternity. It is precisely because we die that life has meaning. Everything is all the more precious because it is fleeting. The universe is beautiful because it is constantly in the throes of transformation.


Death reminds us, more than anything else, that life is for the living. It’s the hard and inescapable truth of mortality. The authentic individual embraces this fact and transforms their life into a work of art. Life is a finite art project and death is the ever-looming borders of the canvas.


Death is our copilot. He’s a reminder that all things must end. He’s the ultimate parenthesis. Everything changes. Life is transitory. The universe is meaningless except for the meaning we give it. But we are the pilot. There is still hope. We can still live our best life by using death to keep things in perspective. By asking important questions. How will I live? How will I love? How will I die?


As Carlos Castaneda advised, “Death is the only wise advisor we have. Whenever you feel that everything is going wrong and you’re about to be annihilated, turn to your death and ask if that is so. Your death will tell you that you are wrong; that nothing matters outside its touch. Your death will tell you, ‘I haven’t touched you yet.’”


Who says we can’t use the prospect of dying to fuel our living? Indeed, it is actually the prospect of death, more than anything else, that makes every moment of our lives precious and meaningful.


Death is a compass. Use the compass to guide you into adventure. Take the ceiling of your heart and crucify it. Existentially crush out. Set your teeth firmly into the pulp of experience. Open your heart and keep your soul’s hand upon the helm as you sail away into the horizon of a new way of being human in this world.