“I remind myself that it’s all right to die. This willing and even exuberant interfacing with one’s own mortality has ancient roots. The Stoics of ancient Greece and Rome implored people to keep death in mind at all times, in order to appreciate life more and remain humble in the face of its adversities. In various forms of Buddhism, the practice of meditation is often taught as a means of preparing oneself for death while still remaining alive. Dissolving one’s ego into an expansive nothingness- achieving the enlightened state of nirvana- is seen as a trial run of letting oneself cross to the other side. Even Mark Taiwan, that hairy goofball who came in and left on Haley’s Comet, said, “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” -pg. 203-204
“While most people whittle their days chasing another buck, or a little bit more fame and attention, or a little bit more assurance that they’re right or loved, death confronts all of us with a far more painful and important question: What is your legacy?
How will the world be different and better when you’re gone? What mark will you have made? What influence will you have caused? They say a butterfly flapping it wings in Africa can cause a hurricane in Florida; well, what hurricanes will you leave in your wake? ” -pg. 205
“Without acknowledging the ever-present gaze of death, the superficial will appear important, and the important will appear superficial. Death is the only thing we know with any certainty. And as such, it must be the compass by which we orient all of our other values and decisions… the only way to be comfortable with death is to see yourself as something bigger than yourself; to choose values that stretch beyond serving yourself, that are simple and immediate and controllable and tolerant of the chaotic world around you. This is the basic root of all happiness. Whether you’re listening to Aristotle or the psychologists at Harvard or Jesus Christ or the goddamn Beatles, they all say that happiness comes from the same thing: caring about something greater than yourself, believing that you are a contributing component in some much larger unintelligible production… this is what people go to church for; its what they fight in wars for…” -pg. 206
“We are so materially well off, yet so psychologically tormented in so many low-level and shallow ways” -pg. 207