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Sherlock Holmes: People have died.

Jim Moriarty: That's what people DO!
Sherlock, "The Great Game"

A Stock Phrase that acknowledges our own mortality. Good guys, bad guys and everybody in between will one day have to recognise that none of us will live forever. Even those who do may have pangs of regret because of this trope. If villains say this line, it could be their reason for their disregard of life in general. If it's a hero, except them to be the more cynical, disillusioned type. Depending on where we fall on the sliding scale, we may get a "but not today" rebuttal, or a "but not forever" rebuttal for works that hold to the existence of an afterlife.

See also We Are as Mayflies, Don't Fear the Reaper, Not Afraid to Die and Life Will Kill You. Compare Who Wants to Live Forever?. Do not confuse with Kill'Em All.

Examples of We All Die Someday include:


Comics

Films

  • Fight Club: "On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero."
  • Briefly comes up in The Whole Nine Yards. Bruce Willis has a chat with Matthew Perry about the high suicide-rate of dentists, unaware that Perry knows that he's a former Hitman With A Heart, and is scared shitless about it. Perry comments that "I may hate my life, but I do NOT want to die." to which Bruce responds "Well, get used to it, 'cuz you're gonna." Beat. Perry looks terrified. "...we're all gonna die someday, y'know?"
  • Return of the Jedi: Yoda says "Twilight is upon me and soon night must fall. That is the way of things. The way of the Force."

Literature

  • In Discworld', it's pretty repeatedly states that eventually, Death will meet everyone. Particularly, this exchange between Vimes and Lu Tze in Night Watch. Leads to a No Sympathy moment from the sweeper.

 Vimes: I've been talking to people who are going to die today. Do you know how that feels?

Lu Tze: Er, yes. Everyone you talk you is going to die. Everyone I talk to is going to die. Everybody dies.

 Ponder: Graveyards are full of people who rushed in bravely but unwisely.

The Librarian: Ook. [1]

  • In Sharpe's Sword, Patrick Harper is wounded in battle and asks the priest if he is going to die. The Priest says yes he is, and Harper says he wishes he'd married his long-term partner Ramona with whom he has a child out of wedlock. The Priest then does the quick version of wedding vows with Harper lying on the ground (do you? do you? you're married) and then tells Harper to stand up and kiss the bride. When Harper says he thought he was going to die, the priest responds:

 "We're all going to die, my son."

  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, as a counterpart to the latin Memento mori, there is the Valyrian saying Valar morghulis, meaning "All men must die".
  • Comes up in Troy Rising when Comet has a chat with one of the local AI's about the way they deliberately suppress part of their hyperintelligence to avoid knowing things they know they mustn't know. Such as, for example, the way that each and every one of their human friends will eventually die. Thinking about stuff like that would be too depressing even for an AI, and talking about it would depress the humans even more.
  • Seven Years In Tibet: The Buddhists are shown celebrating the impermanence of all things with statues made of butter and elaborate sand pictures. This is true to life.
  • Harry Potter's ability to acknowledge this is what often gives him the advantage in his confrontations against Voldemort.

Live Action TV

  • Sherlock, between Sherlock and Moriarty, as per page quote.
  • Used twice in Doctor Who, both subverted with the "not today" response.
    • In Forest of the Dead:

 River Song: Everybody knows that everybody dies, and nobody knows it like the Doctor. But not every day. Not today.

    • In A Christmas Carol:

 Amy: Nobody has to die.

Kazran: Everybody has to die.

Amy: Not today.

 Yeah, well, everyone dies. You're born, and you die. The bit in the middle's called life, and that's still to come!

    • The holographic (and dead) Rimmer travels back in time to warn his living counterpart:

 Rimmer: I've come to warn you, in three million years you'll be dead!

Past Rimmer: Will I really?

  • In The Iron Giant when Hogarth is trying to console the Giant after the deer incident.

 Giant: You die?

Hogarth: Well, yes, someday.

Giant: I die?

Hogarth: I don't know. You're made of metal, but you have feelings, and you think about things, and that means you have a soul. And souls don't die.

  • In an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation a historian from the 26th century comes to watch what happens during a crisis on the Enterprise back in the 24th. Picard wants him to tell him what the future says happened, but he's reluctant.

 Rasmussen: You must see that if I were to influence you, everything in this sector, in this quadrant of the galaxy could change. History, my history, would unfold in a way other than it already has. Now what possible incentive could anyone offer me to allow that to happen?

Picard: I have two choices. Either way, one version of history or another will wend its way forward. The history you know or another one. Now who is to say which is better? What I do know is here, today, one way, millions of lives could be saved. Now isn't that incentive enough?

Rasmussen: Everyone dies, Captain. It's just a question of when. All of those people down there died years before I was born. All of you up here, as well. So you see, I can't get quite as worked up as you over the fate of some colonists who, for me, have been dead a very, very long time.

Music

  • The TUNNG song Hands ends three of its six verses with variations on the phrase

 "It's okay, we're all going to end up dead and gone."

  • The Flaming Lips song "Do You Realize" contains the line, "Do you realize....that everyone you know someday will die."
  • Avenged Sevenfold's song "A Little Piece of Heaven" has the recurring line "Cause everybody's gotta die sometime."
  • Lana Del Rey's single Born To Die (and the whole damn album of the same name, too) is based around this trope. Makes sense if you think about it...

Stand-Up Comedy

  • Louis CK had a bit about his six year old daughter asking him questions about the sun.

 "Will the sun always be there?"

"Well no, someday it will explode... (off the horrified look on her face) Don't worry, sweetie, this won't happen until after you and everyone you know have been dead for a very long time."

Theatre

  • A variation occurs in Hamlet: Everyone's father dies, so stop whining, Hamlet. It's been a whole month. You're ruining our wedding preparations.
  • In the last act of The Insect Play, titled "Death and Life," the Audience Surrogate watches all the moths die. He wonders what life is to them if they all depart from it so quickly. The next moment he is dying himself.

Video Games

  • Wynne, the elderly Enchanter in Dragon Age: Origins (and the oldest member of your Player Party, except the golem Shale), is very acutely aware of her own mortality... and embraces it. It doesn't mean that she will just drop dead on you anytime soon, however. It is much later revealed that she is practically Living on Borrowed Time, having already effectively died long ago but kept alive via a benevolent case of Demonic Possession.
  • Acknowledged in Grim Fandango.

 "We may have years. We may have hours. But in the end, we push up flowers."

  • "Memento Mori" (remember you will die) is the Arc Words of Persona 3. Appropriate, given the game ends with the protagonist's death.

Web Comics

 Breya: We're all gonna die.

Fleetmind: Eventually, yes. Are you saying you know when?

 Duane: If you worry over dying, Sette, you conceal it better than the surfeit of stolen coinage in your knickers.

Sette: Well, everyone's got to do it, ain't they? But you'll go cacklin'-crackers thinking of it always.


Western Animation

  • Played for dark humour in The Simpsons when Bart and Lisa are trapped in a terrible summer camp.

 Lisa: ...Bart, I think I'm going to die!

Bart: We're all going to die, Lisa.

Lisa: I meant soon!

Bart: So did I.

  • In one Bugs Bunny short, Bugs says "Never take life too seriously. You'll never get out of it alive!"
  • The Tick, of all people, didn't actually comprehend that people can die; there was a weird disconnect in his mind that "only dead people die" so he had to have it explained to him that everyone dies.

 Tick: Everyone?

Arthur: Yes, Tick.

Tick: ...potatoes?

Arthur: Even potatoes.

Tick:...you?

Arthur: *sad nod*

Real Life

  • The oft-quoted Latin phrase Memento mori is usually translated as "Remember your mortality", "Remember you must die", or "Remember you will die". Its usage dates back to the time of antiquity.
    • Traditionally, when a Roman military leader was given Triumph (victory parade), a slave was assigned to speak these words to him. A reminder that even if at the moment he's being treated like one, the victorious general is not a god, and someday will die just like everyone else.
  • In Herodotus' Histories of the Persian War, Xerxes looks over his army and comments that in a hundred years, every single man there will be dead. Older Than Feudalism.
  • John Maynard Keynes, "In the long run we're all dead."
  • Practitioners of Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and several other religions tend to be very accepting of death, historically more so.

Notes

  1. Sooner or later, the graveyards are full of everybody.
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