Like all great philosophers Marcus Aurelius the noblest of the Emperors of Rome also pondered death.  Here’s a collection of quotes detailing what he had to say on the subject.

“You boarded, you set sail, you’ve made the passage.  Time to disembark. If it’s for another life, well, there’s nowhere without gods on that side either.  If to nothingness, then you no longer have to put up with pain and pleasure, or go on dancing attendance on this battered crate, your body—so much inferior to that which serves it.

“One is mind and spirit, the other earth and garbage.”

Marcus also felt that quality of experience was important.

“It is not death that a man should fear, but rather he should fear never beginning to live.” 

That good and bad things happen to all, but none are an evil.

“But death and life, honor and dishonor, pain and pleasure—all these things equally happen to good men and bad, being things which make us neither better nor worse. Therefore they are neither good nor evil.” 

That clinging on was not in the nature of life.

“Stop whatever you’re doing for a moment and ask yourself: Am I afraid of death because I won’t be able to do this anymore?” 

That the body is essentially mechanical and inferior to the mind.

“Death is a cessation of the impressions through the senses, and of the pulling of the strings that move the appetites, and of the discursive movements of the thoughts, and of the service to the flesh.” 

And most importantly of all that the present moment is all that we have.

“When the longest- and shortest-lived of us dies their loss is precisely equal. For the sole thing of which any of us can be deprived is the present, since this is all we own, and nobody can lose what is not theirs.”

All quotes can be found in the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, the Hay’s translation is easily the best to read.

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