Staff Column: Joe Braun

Memento Vivere

Joseph Braun, Staff Writer

Graphic by Joseph Braun

Some time in my sophomore year, I came to believe that it’s better to do a given thing you might regret, rather than regret not doing any given thing. Since I came to that realization, I have done some things that I regret, yes, but the enjoyment I find in my life has increased dramatically. By declaring that life exists to be lived, I discovered experiences which threw additional ponderings into my usual late-night philosophizing.

In my opinion, wickedness, or the quality of being morally wrong, is an abstract concept spoken of by priests and politicians until it is experienced: both in the encountering of wicked people in the flesh, and in the guilt and shame of wicked actions. Goodness can scant be recognized, except as the light amidst the darkness of wickedness. It’s for this reason that I believe that Paul said in his first letter to the Thessalonians 5:21-22 to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good, Abstain from all appearance of evil.” Evil is very real, and should be opposed, but it can’t be done from the safety of castle or chapel.

My mission in life is to live as my faith directs me, which is to live life to the fullest while shunning and opposing evil where it is found, and to be a proper, honorable man while doing so. I believe I should seek out experiences and fun, but not to profound moral detriment, and I should not allow harm to come to myself or my friends in this process. This is because I believe that loyalty is the highest possible virtue, capable of redeeming those of otherwise questionable morality.

People get to decide what or who they’re loyal to, but once that decision is made, I believe loyalty must be retained. I believe good deeds must be repaid in kind. Those who help me along my way in life are people who have earned my respect and loyalty.  This principal extends to the people I consider my friends. It’s essentially the tribal mindset. A friend of the tribe is a friend of mine. To me, this is what being a man is about anyways: adventurous, and honorable.

A common motif in Christian art is that of Momento Mori, which is Latin for “Remember that you must die.” Puritans were especially fond of this, it being the only form of art, aside from portraits for the sake of historical record, that they permitted in their colonies. The purpose of “remembering that you must die” was to remember to not waste a moment.

In the puritan form, it meant to remember that all is fleeting and that a well-lived life is futile in the face of God. The sentiment, to not waste the short time we have on Earth, is valuable. I think that there’s another essential part missing from the Puritan equation. Memento Vivere“Remember that you must live.”

I don’t want to waste what time I have on Earth living in misery, in hopes of a better afterlife. Eternity starts now, and I strive to make things better, to make life worth living, now. Yes, I’m going to die, someday, and because of that, I have no choice but to live today.