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Death Alone Is Certain

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If death alone is certain and the time of death uncertain, what should I do?

Buddhism Without Beliefs, by Stephen Batchelor


It’s an interesting coincidence that I find myself pondering death at the approach of Halloween. I’ve never taken death seriously, and have been (un)lucky enough so far as to never have looked death in the face. Despite my instinctive reservations to all strands of human thought that acknowledge or contemplate death, I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that acknowledging my own mortality and counting on death as an integral part of my everyday life may be the most important task ahead of me right now.

It’s hard to explain exactly the path that took me here, but it made me realise that acknowledging one’s own mortality is the stepping stone to taking responsibility for one’s own life. For, just as I was careless about death, I was careless about the future, and I think a lot of us are guilty of the same misdemeanour. Paradoxically, thinking about death may be the key to living a fuller life.

So slowly, very slowly, instead of thinking about any mention of death as unnecessarily morbid, I’m working on making the consideration of death a part of my philosophy. After all, it is the only thing that’s certain.


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