How Tech Could Help Us Contemplate Our Own Mortality

next day, I was sitting on a park bench in the playground with my son, agonizing over the issue of work. Did I come across as rude on that zoom call? Maybe I shouldn’t have been so strong. I took out my phone to send a quick apology. Just then, a notification popped up on my screen:

Don’t forget, you are about to die.

I stare at it for a second, panicked.

Don’t forget, you are about to die.

I suddenly did not care much about that zoom call. So what if they think I’m pushing too much. In 20 years, I will not even remember their names. I turned off my phone, put it in my pocket, and went to play with my son on the slide.

This serious notice on my phone is WeCroak, an app that reminds you five times a day that, you are going to die. As the app’s website declares, the mission is “to find happiness by considering its mortality.”

The idea of ​​considering your mortality rate will help make your life new. “A lot of religious and philosophical traditions have emphasized that to live a full life, we have to come clearly and consciously with the fact that we will not be here forever.” Sheldon Solomon, a social psychologist and one of the authors The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life. In Buddhism, this practice is called Maranasati, the contemplation of death. For Nikki Mirgafori, a technologist and Buddhist teacher from Palo Alto, California, death contemplation has many benefits. “Number one is aligning our lives with our values,” Mirghorfi said In a podcast interview in August. Other benefits include greater awakening, greater freedom (both in life and at the time of death), less wasted time, and increased kindness and gratitude. “If we have made peace with our mortality, we can be fully present.”

As long as the Internet exists, there are also mortality reminders. You can find the day you are going to die Death clock, Which has been predicting death dates since 2006 Life clock, An app that counts until your anticipated death and lets you know when you engage in activities that can shorten your life span. There is Tikker, A clock that displays the time you have left. and certainly, Wecroak, A simple but elegant app that reminds you five times a day that you are going to die and displays a quote on death.

We spend our lives on our phones; This makes sense that we should also consider mortality. well sort of. “It is right-brained but spontaneously and generally malleable.” According to Solomon, the problem is that we are not considering it. “The monk sat in an empty room all day with a blank stare, certainly staring at the idea of ​​someone’s momentary nature while staring at a skull. The difference is that when you receive an alert on your phone, it reminds of the fleeting death. “

Miragferi says that’s fine. Not only is she an avid WeCroak user, but she also advises students in her death contemplation class. “I think it’s not the same, but there are a lot of different practices.”

Hansa Bergwal, a doctor at Waycroc, says he has never received complaints from 130,000 people who have downloaded the app and 80,000 active users. Instead, she has received countless positive stories: a daughter who is cherishing her last moments with her mother, a young professional overcoming fear of public speaking, a man who tries to avoid opioid addiction Has been doing. His theory is that WeCroak users are those who are deliberately trying to create a death contemplation exercise. “Unless they really want it, people are not going to try it,” he says. “It’s not something you accidentally download to your phone.”