Memento Mori Paperweight - SeaThe School of Life
For centuries, artists produced ‘memento mori’, works of art that would remind their viewers of death and usually featured a skull or an hourglass. The point of these works wasn’t to make people despair, but to help them use the thought of death to focus on the real priorities.
Vivid reminders of mortality and the transient nature of life put our prosaic obsessions into question. When measured against the finality of death, the true insignificance of some of our worries is emphasised and we’re given an opportunity to feel a little braver about what we really want and feel.
The School of Life have created a collection of glass paperweights to serve as our own, modern versions of a ‘memento mori’. These objects are both pleasing to look at and should serve as daily inspirations to tackle our most important task: to live in accordance with our true talents and interests and to make the most of whatever precious moments we may have left.
Many of the obstacles we face in our lives are rather like the waves of the sea: relentless, bleak, repetitive and, ultimately, not responsive to our wishes or longings. This is not a cruel fact about one’s own predicament; it is a basic premise of the human condition. Therefore, one should not bring unreasonable expectations and be continually shocked and dismayed when life does not answer to our demands. We should learn to accept all we cannot change and face it with a degree of heroism and Stoic strength, as a sailor battling the waves might. We can also, in the midst of our struggles, appreciate the beauty and grandeur of what we’re up against.