Memento Vivere

Remember what life can do. #reflections

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“When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That's a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it… Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again.”

— Steve Jobs

The common reminder, "Memento mori", is often interpreted as a call to withdraw our ambitions and not take pride in our achievements.

I worry that this makes us too fatalistic, nihilistic, and self centered. "Nothing I do matters, so why should I bother?"

Memento mori is no guide to life. Fortunately, I've found it has an opposite:

Memento vivere. Remember that you must LIVE.

The way things are is often how we think the way things will always be. But nothing could be further from the truth:

  • The iPhone was introduced in 2007, 14 years ago.
  • The World Wide Web was invented in 1990, 31 years ago.
  • The Personal Computer revolution started in 1977, 44 years ago.
  • Richard Nixon took the US off the gold standard in 1971, meaning the current international financial system is only 50 years old.
  • Color TV first aired in 1951, 70 years ago.
  • Nuclear bombs were developed in 1945, 76 years ago.
  • Automatic washing machines rolled out in the 1930s.
  • Home radios and refrigerators were first introduced in the 1920's.
  • Henry Ford first sold the Model T automobile in 1908.
  • Thomas Edison started the Edison Electric Illuminating Company in 1882.
  • Alexander Graham Bell made the first telephone call in 1876.

What are we doing today that will find its place on a list like this, 100 years from now?


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