Courtesy of TheGuardian.com | By Emma Beddington | Originally Published 02.18.2018 | Posted 04.30.2018
A new app, We Croak, notifies you five times a day that you could die at any moment. It’s a memento mori on your mobile, but does it make you feel more alive?
It’s Friday night and after a fraught week I am waiting for pizza. I ordered over an hour ago, but nothing seems to be happening. A notification buzzes on my phone and maddened with dough lust, I snatch it up. “Don’t forget, you’re going to die,” says the message. Suddenly I’m not so hungry any more.
Welcome to WeCroak, the app that reminds you of death five times a day. Created by 35-year-old Brooklyn-based publicist Hansa Bergwall and developer Ian Thomas, WeCroak couldn’t be simpler: a randomly timed reminder you swipe to reveal a death-related quotation, sometimes gloomy, sometimes uplifting. Based on a Bhutanese proverb that to be happy, you must contemplate death five times a day, it’s mindfulness noir.
I can see how the secret to happiness might lie in working out “how to have some element of being aware that life is precious and limited and fragile… just enough to make you value the good things but not to be so aware of it that the fear of that takes over” as Nigella Lawson said recently (discussing the death of her first husband, John Diamond), but aged 43 and wilfully disregarding my own mortality, I lack this awareness. I sweat all the small stuff, prey to piffling anxieties, career envy and rage at minor irritants (my free jazz saxophonist neighbour, my family’s oligarch-style insistence on using clean towels, disregarding the 17 discarded on the bathroom floor). Hopefully a week with WeCroak will leave me calmer, wiser and happier. No pressure, WeCroak.