Religion attempts to assuage our fears of our mortality; and it attempts to reassure us of our humanity. I believe it has served as a useful comforter for our society.

The reality of mortality, if it can be said, literally fell into my hands a few years ago. It was in the anatomy dissection room that I removed this gentleman's brain. Snip, snip and a few more snips, and we had cut all the cranial nerves and spinal cord and removed the brain from the cranial vault. We were about to peel apart sections of the brain, when the hammer struck.

The entire life's experience; thoughts, feelings, beliefs, knowledge, memories, associations, of this one person was enclosed in this grey lump. Nobody else in the word can possibly duplicate the processing centre of this one person's life.

Mortality was in my hands. And all the neuronal connections ever made in this brain was lost to us.

Do you still believe in religion?

Mortality is being an adult.

Most children don't understand the concept of mortality.

Why should they?

When you are so young and everything is new, you are growing, learning, always expanding your boundaries and never knowing your limits, mortality doesn't fit into your world. It takes experience to grasp the concept that you won't live forever, you won't always survive the bumps and knocks, you'll never get the chance to do everything or to know everything.

There's so much more to the universe than one person can grasp, and to be unable to hold it all, to realise it's not even possible, is to be mortal.

Mor*tal"i*ty (?), n. [L. mortalitas: cf. F. mortalit'e.]

1.

The condition or quality of being mortal; subjection to death or to the necessity of dying.

When I saw her die, I then did think on your mortality. Carew.

2.

Human life; the life of a mortal being.

From this instant There 's nothing serious in mortality. Shak.

3.

Those who are, or that which is, mortal; the human cace; humanity; human nature.

Take these tears, mortality's relief. Pope.

4.

Death; destruction.

Shak.

5.

The whole sum or number of deaths in a given time or a given community; also, the proportion of deaths to population, or to a specific number of the population; death rate; as, a time of great, or low, mortality; the mortality among the settlers was alarming.

Bill of mortality. See under Bill. -- Law of mortality, a mathematical relation between the numbers living at different ages, so that from a given large number of persons alive at one age, it can be computed what number are likely to survive a given number of years. -- Table of mortality, a table exhibiting the average relative number of persons who survive, or who have died, at the end of each year of life, out of a given number supposed to have been born at the same time.

 

© Webster 1913.

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