When I was young I read Poe – The Raven, The Cask of Amontillado, The Telltale Heart, The Pit and the Pendulum, and such – of my own volition. These weren’t assigned readings. I chose to fall into them in my free time. I recall specifically reading Poe at my desk in third grade after I’d finished my classwork. I always liked the macabre (whether it was scary or not). Poe, The Addams Family, The Munsters, Tales from the Crypt – these were some of the (many) things I enjoyed as a kid, whether they were amusing or creepy to the point of making me glance over my shoulder in paranoia. For a period of time starting in third of fourth grade I considered a future in forensic pathology. There’s a bit more elaborate and fairly interesting depth to that story, but we’ll save it for another time.
I still enjoy intellectual/emotional forays into the ghastly, grim, and dark. I ADORE this month October and Halloween. The season and that day encourage imagination and a healthy exploration of that darkness. And, besides entertainment or the blood rush from getting the willies, what is the value of the macabre to a communicator or leader? Memento mori.
It means "Remember your mortality.“ The macabre make us consider (even if subconsciously) that we must die. We, too, shall pass. If we remember this, we then are challenged with figuring out how best to live what life we have. How should we spend our time? How do we lead? How do we engage each other? Will this argument matter? If I win the argument what kind of person will I become? At what cost? Will/how will this decision harm someone else? Would I do the "right” thing in that situation? Is there a “right” thing?“ How would I feel? Will this decision make things better for someone else? Am I holding back something good (or great) I have to offer? Am I inspiring others to let their greatness show? Am I contributing to a sense of community? In reminding us of our mortality, it challenges us to explore many aspects of our nature and our choices.
Remember you must die. Remember you ought to live.