Title

Memento Mori: Reflecting on Mortality to Inspire Vitality and Meaning in Life

Author(s)

Jodi WellmanFollow

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version

2020

Abstract

The practice of memento mori– acting on the Latin phrase that translates to “remember we must die,” has the profound potential to wake us up and breathe more life into our lives. While focusing on the end of our days may sound more morbid than meaningful, the contemplation of death allows us to appreciate the scarcity of the very time we’re looking to make the most of. In a world consumed with expanding the length of our lives, cultivating a more intimate familiarity with death can help us expand the metaphoric width and depth of our lives as well. We make our lives wider when we fill them with vitality and gusto– expanding the breadth of the pleasurable experiences that life has to offer while blasting us out of our autopilot tendencies. We make our lives deeper when we infuse them with meaning and purpose– elevating ourselves out of empty or mundane existences into lives that feel like they matter. This capstone explores how the field of positive psychology, with its dialectical appreciation of the positive and negative phenomena in life, is uniquely poised to explore the traditionally taboo topic of death. With the heft of all its theory, research, and practice, existential positive psychology encourages us to courageously confront death to live with more meaning and vitality... to pursue lives truly worth living.

Keywords

existential positive psychology, vitality, meaning, positive death, death awareness

Topic

Positive Emotions, Well-being/Flourishing

Format

Thesis

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Date Posted: 22 September 2020