a string of phrases

Tempus fugit

I’d heard the phrase a couple of times. Or, more acurately misheard it as tempest fugit. I figured it was some kind of storm.


Latin phrase for “time flies”. It does. But it does also feel kinda stormy. It’s a bumpy ride.

For some reason, this leads me to memento mori.

Memento mori (Latin: “remember that you have to die”)[2] is the medieval Latin Christian theory and practice of reflection on mortality, especially as a means of considering the vanity of earthly life and the transient nature of all earthly goods and pursuits. It is related to the ars moriendi (“The Art of Dying”) and related literature. Memento mori has been an important part of ascetic disciplines as a means of perfecting the character by cultivating detachment and other virtues, and by turning the attention towards the immortality of the soul and the afterlife.[3]

Then come vanitas

Vanitas themes were common in medieval funerary art, with most surviving examples in sculpture. By the 15th century these could be extremely morbid and explicit, reflecting an increased obsession with death and decay also seen in the Ars moriendi, the Danse Macabre, and the overlapping motif of the Memento mori. From the Renaissance such motifs gradually became more indirect and, as the still-life genre became popular, found a home there. Paintings executed in the vanitas style were meant to remind viewers of the transience of life, the futility of pleasure, and the certainty of death. They also provided a moral justification for painting attractive objects.

Then back to ephemeral. Which all of this is. Creeping in its petty pace from day to day.

One comment

  1. Strange, I once began a blog entry with a quotation from American writer Leslie Scalapino from The Public World / Syntactically Impermanence:
    ‘Not perceiving impermanence’ itself becomes an action, an intention.”
    And followed it up with a string of other words listed in the Wikipedia entry for the Japanese phrase “mono no aware”. And now I offer them here as synonyms to memento mori: lacrimae rerum; mottainai; wabi-sabi; ubi sunt; weltschmerz; sehnsucht; saudade

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