“Since death alone is certain, and the time of death uncertain, what should I do?”
Buddhism Without Beliefs
You may already have an idea of what your life expectancy is, but it’s easy to forget that it’s just an average of a highly uncertain set of possibilities.
Consider the following example. If you are a 30-year-old male in the United States, your life expectancy is 77. That means you have a 50% chance of dying on or before your 77th birthday. That’s the chance of flipping a coin and getting heads.
But what if you flip a coin twice and get two heads? There’s a 25% chance of that, which is the chance you’ll die on or before your 66th birthday. Get three heads in a row (13% chance), and you’ve matched the probability that you’ll die before you turn 57. Four in a row (6% chance), and you’ve matched the probability that you’ll die before you turn 49.
Most of us act as if we’ll live out our full life expectancy. But we can die long before then — it’s not even that unlikely.
The purpose of this website is to help you internalize how uncertain it is when you will die.
This isn’t a gratuitous exercise in morbidity. It’s a way to help you remember that life is short and uncertain. The more we can remember that, the better we can live.
Enter some basic information about yourself to visualize the range of possibilities for when you’ll die.