To live life fully, one must accept that it ends,
says the existential psychoanalyst.
"Of all the world's wonders, which is the most wonderful? That no man, though he sees others dying all around him, believes that he himself will die." -- Yudhishtara answers Dharma, from "The Mahabharata"
"Do not pass by my epitaph, traveler.
But having stopped, listen and learn, then go your way.
There is no boat in Hades, no ferryman Charon,
No caretaker Aiakos, no dog Cerberus.
All we who are dead below
Have become bones and ashes, but nothing else.
I have spoken to you honestly, go on, traveler,
Lest even while dead I seem loquacious to you."
"Well, did the last 5 billion years bother you? I mean, it seems to me that what happens after we die is not really the problem. It is a kind of peace. The challenge for us is how we live between now and then, whether we have the courage to stop denying it and use our anxieties to live more authentic, meaning-filled and purposeful lives."
The cry of "Hoka Hey" was said to be the battle cry of the Lakota warrior Crazy Horse. It means "It is a good day to die." I may die today but it is good because I fought today and faced my fears head on. It is life affirming stoicism. It is another way of saying that living for a great moment is better than living a life of misery and slavery. Shakespeare's point that it is better to die once with courage than to die a thousand times in a life of fear.
Facing death as a means to a more expansive life in the moment. As Dr. Yalom stated, "To Live fully one must accept that it ends." Quality of life is more important than longevity of life in the Hoka Hey Philosophy. One day as a lion instead of a thousand as a sheep is the metaphor for the warrior philosophy. But it is not a natural drive for the human being who seeks to survive and to be secure. To be a lion may be dignified but it is not romantic or easy. Humans shrink back from the brink of Hoka Hey stoicism and cling to ideologies and systems that promise security. Hoka Hey as a philosophy can have its problems if not tempered with wisdom in that it could be perceived as a martyrdom apology, militaristic propaganda or just plain machismo. With wisdom it can be a positive force to challenge inertia in life and awaken thoughts and ideas that bring greater meaning and greater vitality to your life. Instead of accepting the status quo and being effaced by life this strong stoicism produces more energy and more awareness. Constructive Hoka Hey if you will instead of destructive Hoka Hey. Tomorrow do your worst for I have lived today.
"I fought, and that's a lot. I thought I could win ... but nature and luck curbed my endeavour. But it's already something that I took up the struggle, because I see that victory is in the hands of Fate. In me was what was possible and what no future century will be able to deny to me: what a winner could give from his own; that I did not fear death, that I did not submit, my face firm, to anyone of my breed; that I preferred courageous death to pavid life."
Giordano Bruno, Burned at the stake for his freethinking philosophy in Rome year 1600
"There is no doubt that healthy-mindedness is inadequate as a philosophical doctrine, because the evil facts which it positively refuses to account for are a genuine portion of reality; and they may after all be the best key to life's significance, and possibly the only openers of our eyes to the deepest levels of truth."
"The irony of man's condition is that the deepest need is to be free of the anxiety of death and annihilation; but it is life itself which awakens it, and so we must shrink from being fully alive."
"Death is all that was before us. What does it matter, after all, whether you cease to be or never begin, when the result of either is that you do not exist?...The man, though, whom you should admire and imitate is the one who finds it a joy to live and in spite of that is not reluctant to die."