According to Cicero, the Roman politician and orator, philosophizing was nothing but preparing for death. During his life (106 – 43 BC) people were concerned in the same way with death as we are today. The old Romans didn’t use blogs, but you can bet that they turned their thoughts into correspondences and writings!
Cicero treats in Tusculanae disputationes with a stoic bias topics as enduring pain, coping with setbacks and the contempt of death. I have to admit that I didn’t struggle through the book myself. Michel de Montaigne I mentioned in an earlier post, took the trouble in the 16th century. And now I’m reading about this in the beautiful assays by Montaigne. It moves me a bit. The idea that all those great guys from the days of old, when they would have lived in our time they could have been fellow-bloggers on www.jouwrouwverwerking.nl .
Because here we can freely philosophy about death which we know as inevitable, approaching or as an accomplished fact.
My granddaughter of almost four loses step by step her toddler’s carelessness. Since a year or two she has to share her daddy and mommy with a younger sister and soon a third child will be borne who will also hijack attention. She has already experienced a child’s quarrel at the nursery. She’s going to the primary school shortly. She knows by now that grandpas and grandmas are in hospital once in a while. And yes, she also knows that ‘death’ exists.
Fortunately, death is for her pretty abstract. The Ladybug on the window sill is dead, because it doesn’t move anymore. And when the battery of her toy Shakira-microphone is empty, then it broke down.
This week she walked to me in triumph. “Grandma, you know… death… that’s just broken!!!” She had reasoned this for herself. She understood. I couldn’t anything else then agree, she was right. And then came the story. The grandfather of child at the nursery had died and apparently the children had talked about this with each other. Cicero’s theory also applies to four year olds! You cannot start young enough with the preparations for death.
Moments later it sounded cheerful from the play corner in the living room: “Grandma, you will break down later too, huh? And then you’re dead too, huh?” Darn, she was correct again, but did she had to do this so cheerfully?
All of a sudden I had to laugh terrifically. What was this about? Do I feel myself pathetic all of a sudden? Definitely not!!! Didn’t many philosophical views agree that we were on Earth to enjoy, as a preparation to be at peace? My little girl didn’t have no fear for the future or death. And I, who might certainly have this fear, decided not to give a hoot.
The Sun was shining. And the still not broken grandma took her two granddaughters outside to have good fun. First feeding the ducks and then eating ice-creams,
Would the girls maybe, over a really long time, say to each other: “Hey, do you still remember… grandma… grandma who is now broken… that grandma took us to feed the ducks and eating ice-creams! Fun was that, huh? And that is as it should be.