Top 10 Facts about Death

 Top 10 Facts about Death

This year some 57 million people are expected to cease existence and revert back to their natural state of nonexistence.  Commonly defined as death.  Roughly two thirds will die of a mysterious and, as of yet, an incurable disease known as aging.

 1- AGING   

Well, technically and medically speaking,  old age is not in and of itself lethal but it nonetheless weakens your body so as to make you less capable of combating that which is.  Nevertheless, death as a result of age-related conditions is clouded in mystery as we have yet to discern precisely why we age.  Current understanding implies no singular element commands the aging process but rather a combination of multiple interconnected factors.  For example, the limits imposed by telomeres on cell division implies obsolescence may be programmed into our DNA.  Manipulation of specific genes in other animals  and organisms can have drastic effects on the aging process.  Furthermore, numerous studies have evinced that calories accelerate aging and thus less food could potentially extend longevity.  So stop eating and you'll live forever.  Who eats a burger that way?  On the opposite side of the spectrum, aging may simply be a result of accumulative damage and waste.  While the human body is capable of maintaining and repairing itself, the processes responsible are not infallible.  Over time an accumulation of separately insignificant failures may collectively become significant so as to sporadically degrade various bodily functions.  If gerontologists do manage to isolate the precise nature of aging we may one day be able to decelerate, prevent, or even reverse the process. 

Hanging has been a common method of both suicide and homicide ever since the invention of rope and human necks.  Today, hanging is primarily associated with hanging from a noose but the word may also describe crucifixion, implement, or just a general state of suspension upon death.  At some point, or more likely over an extended period of time, coroners and others remarked that male hanging victims often died with priapism.  Which is a medical way of saying, they frequently died with an erection.  In fact, it is the belief of some historians that not one but two poles were erected upon the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and that some artistic renditions of his divine likeness were more accurately hung than others.  Though thy holy loins were frequently covered with drapes, like the Renaissance version of pixelization, so the state of his majesty can merely be inferred.  In any case, this discovery gradually evolved into a treatment for erectile dysfunction as non-lethal strangulation produces the same effect.  Which in turn evolved into erotic asphyxiation.  The exact physiological cause is not entirely clear but a general inhibition of normal brain activity due to pressure or injury to the brain or spinal cord appears to be responsible. 


The fear of death is known as thanatophobia and fearing the end of our existence can be so overwhelming that many seek any explanation that promises continuation in place of termination.  In other words, an afterlife.  As far as science is concerned death is the cessation of brain activity followed by the natural decomposition of the body.  One could argue that death is merely the absence of life much like a shadow is the absence of light.  But who is this science to tell us what to believe when we could simply ask those brought back to life after death?  Between 10-20% of cardiac arrest, survivors recall near-death experiences.  Memories from when they were clinically dead and thus unconscious.  Revived persons often report similar experiences such as a strong sense of peace, love, and happiness.  The perception of ones dead body from an outside perspective.  A review of one's life experiences.  Interactions with deceased loved ones or supernatural entities.  And the light at the end of a dark tunnel.  Studies have found that these experiences are largely culture dependent.  For example, Christians are more likely to  perceive angles while Hindus are more likely  to perceive gods of the underworld. Entities who escort the deceased towards an afterlife are known as psychopomps.  But you are neither more nor less likely to have a near death experience just because you are religious as NDEs by atheists and others are just as common.  Many find comfort in these reports as they may serve as an affirmation of life beyond but it's worth pointing out that clinical death is not the same as what most of us perceive as death.  The reason you can be revived when clinically dead is that, while your heart and breathing may have ceased, your brain is still active.  It is only once your brain activity stops that you are legally dead and no one has ever returned from this stage of complete cessation.   

4-biological immortality 

 While humans may be stuck with pathetic mortal bodies some animals have transcended this futile existence and exhibit biological immortality.  One such creature is the immortal hydra.  Hydras are tiny freshwater animals that look like miniature octopuses.  While humans and our sad excuse of a body grow weaker with age the hydra is just as strong playing bingo as when it graduated high school.  In other words, they show no signs of aging nor the adverse effects commonly associated with it.  While its regenerative properties are poorly understood the hope is for an improved understanding to aid in our quest for human immortality.  Other creatures exhibiting some form of biological immortality include various species of jellyfish, lobsters, and flatworms. 

There's a unit of measurement known as a micromort (µmt).  The name is a portmanteau of the words micro and mortality and measures the probability of sudden death in any given context.  1 µmt means the probability of death is 1  in 1,000,000.  For example, approximately 1 out of every  150,000 skydiving attempts in the US result in death which means that skydiving is rated at roughly 7 µmt per jump.  In order to be exposed to 1 µmt of risk, you  would have to ride a bike for 10 km,  drive a car for 400 km,  or fly with commercial airlines for 10,000 km.  Doing something as simple as getting out of  bed at 90 years of age will expose you to  a daily dose of over 300 µmt.  The deadliest job in America is said to be the presidency, which clocks in at a staggering  186,000 µmt. 

 6-Grim Reaper  

 In most cultures, death is associated with a specific personification and commonly takes the shape of the Grim Reaper.  A skeleton cloaked in a dark robe carrying a scythe used to reap the souls of the dead.  But some ancient cultures personified death in much less menacing fashion.  For example, the ancient Greeks worshiped a god of death known as Thanatos.  He was often depicted as a bearded man or a child with wings that merely guided the human soul into the afterlife.  In other words, a psychopomp.  The Egyptian god Osiris was depicted as a man with  green skin and was more often revered than feared.  This modern depiction of a menacing skeleton  or a demon can largely be attributed to the  most devastating pandemic humanity has ever  faced, the black death.  This horrifying medieval plague may have reduced  the European population by as much as 60%  and consequently gave rise to a more dismal  depiction of the Grim Reaper as to more accurately  reflect the hopelessness and dismality of this plague.  Well, most depictions at least.  Sometimes Death is just ecstatic to play some mortal board games.  Just look at that face. That is the face of a skeleton ready to play some chess.  Who are you?  I am Death! 
7- Cotard  Syndrome  

 There's a rare mental disorder known as Cotard  Syndrome and persons afflicted often deny  the existence of one or multiple body parts  but in some extreme cases patients deny that  they themselves exist and paradoxically come to believe that they are dead.  Named after French neurologist Jules Cotard,  in 1880 he described a middle-aged woman who believed her body was completely hollow with the exception of her skin and bones.  As such, she insisted she didn't need to eat and eventually died of starvation.  Strangely enough, victims of this disorder often believe themselves to be immortal as from their delusional perspective you can't die if you're already dead.  Can't really argue with that logic.  A more recent case from 2012 describes a man who,  after suffering a stroke, grew convinced he was dead.  He told his doctor:  "I guess I'm dead."  "I'd like to ask for your opinion."  But when asked if he believed it possible for a dead man to speak he recognized the contradiction yet paradoxically maintained his belief of nonexistence.  He further elaborated:  "I feel I am dead [but] I'm talking with you  in this world."  "I do not know whether I am alive or not."  "I am unable to realize that I'm alive."  A few months later his condition fortunately improved and he no longer believed himself to be dead yet he maintained that he once had been.  Oh, and he also believed Kim Jong-il was a  patient of the same hospital.  Naturally.


In 2007, a middle-aged man in Bosnia decided to fake his own death in an effort to uncover how many friends and family members would attend his funeral.  Unfortunately for him, only one person attended  his fake service and that a person was his mother.  The thing is, this is a quite common fear  because no one wants to die alone and if no  one attends your funeral than that's likely  to have been the case.  Actually, I'm surprised there isn't a specific  phobia for dying alone so let's create one.  Okay, thanatophobia is the fear of dying and   monophobia is the fear of being alone so naturally, monophobia is the fear of dying alone.  Anyway, the fear of a lack of funeral attendees  is so common that in the UK you can preemptively  pay a the company, known as Rent A Mourner, to  have random persons attend your funeral and  act as if they mourn your passing.  

9-the existence of an afterlife   

In early 1921, an American named Thomas Bradford decided he was going to prove the existence of an afterlife.  In order to realize such an impossible task,  Bradford reasoned the most logical course of action would be for him to commit suicide and then communicate the existence of an afterlife from beyond the grave.  He began by publishing a newspaper advert in search for a spiritualistic accomplice that would remain alive and wait for the spirit of Bradford to return from the dead.  Thus undeniably ascertaining a different plane of existence.  A foolproof plan or at least a woman named  Ruth Doran thought so as she quickly responded to Bradford's advert.  After a few meetings of what I can only imagine  must've consisted of intense scrutinization  of this ingenious plan, Bradford took his own life on the 5th of February, 1921, with the full intention of returning to this plane of existence and relay any juicy details about the world beyond his lively accomplice.  A week later, Doran claimed she had actually  been in contact with the ghost of Bradford  and this is some of what he had to say:  "I am the professor who  speaks to you from the Beyond."  "I have broken through the veil."  "I woke up and at first did not realize that  I had passed on."  "I find no great change apparent."  "I expected things to be much different."  "They are not."  "Human forms are retained in outline  but not the physical."  "I have not traveled far.  I am still much in the darkness."  "I see many persons."  "They appear natural."  "There is a lightness of responsibility here  unlike in life."  "One feels full of rapture and happiness."  Make of that what you will.  
10-medical science 

As previously mentioned a complete lack of brain activity is, according to modern medical science,  the point of no return.  Once your brain dies, there is no chance of revival.  But some disagrees with this view of death and argues that as long as the brain is left intact it should be possible to restore brain activity at a later date.  At least theoretically.  While no one has ever returned from complete brain cessation it is plausible that future medical advances could allow for that to happen.  And this mere plausibility is enough for some individuals to literally put their body on ice in the hopes that in the future they can be unfrozen and resurrected.  The practice is known as cryonics.  The first person to be cryopreserved was an  American by the name of James Bedford who  in 1967 died of cancer and was subsequently frozen.  Over 250 individuals have since undergone this expensive procedure and thousands more plan on joining them.  The question is, is this a form of suspended animation or a freezer for corpses?  In 2016 scientists successfully restored a  frozen rabbit brain to near-perfect condition demonstrating that subzero preservation is feasible.  But the next issue is a revival.  While some microscopic animals have successfully been frozen, unfrozen, and revived larger mammals, like ourselves, are significantly more complex.  In any case, cryonics is currently one of the most plausible methods of escaping death.  So while there is some tangible hope for the future to save us from the cruelty of nonexistence,  the present will for the time being remain a dystopian netherworld filled with pain, suffering,  Denmark, death, and despair.