While life is meant to test, challenge, and strengthen us, if we are attempting to negotiate the twists and turns and ups and downs of mortality alone, we're doing it all wrong. Mortality is a test, but it is an open book test. We have access not only to the divine text but to Him who authored it.
Sheri L. Dew
I am not what I ought to be. Ah! How imperfect and deficient! I am not what I wish to be. I abhor what is evil, and I would cleave to what is good. I am not what I hope to be. Soon, soon, I shall put off mortality, and with mortality all sin and imperfection. Yet, though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor what I hope to be, I can truly say, I am not what I once was""a slave to sin and Satan. And I can heartily join with the apostle, and acknowledge, 'By the grace of God, I am what I am.'
Poetry at least in my own life, is really about your own mortality. Everything in poetry makes me think of my mortality. It is not a dark thing in life; it prepares you for the graceful things that happen in your life. It gives me a license to make any kind of picture I want with great courage.
In these days before antiseptics, doctors themselves also suffered high mortality rates. Florence Nightingale, a nurse during the Crimean War (1853-1856), watched one particularly inept surgeon cut both himself and, somehow, a bystander while blundering about during an amputation. Both men contracted an infection and died, as did the patient. Nightingale commented that it was the only surgery she'd ever seen with 300 percent mortality.
The great triumph (or horrible tragedy, depending on how you look at it) of being human is that our brains have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to understand our mortality. We are, sadly, self-aware creatures. Even if we move through the day finding creative ways to deny our mortality, no matter how powerful, loved, or special we may feel, we know we are ultimately doomed to death and decay. This is a mental burden shared by precious few other species on Earth.
I'm pretty well. So's the family, and so's the boys, except for a sort of rash as is a running through the school, and rather puts 'em off their feed. But it's a ill wind as blows no good to nobody; that's what I always say when them lads has a wisitation. A wisitation, sir, is the lot of mortality. Mortality itself, sir, is a wisitation. The world is chock full of wisitations; and if a boy repines at a wisitation and makes you uncomfortable with his noise, he must have his head punched. That's going according to the Scripter, that is.
It was a part of myself that was my enemy; I still had a childish illusion that the flesh on my own bones was somehow unique and precious to the universe, in some obscure corner of my mind I wanted the others to love me and make exceptions for me simply because I felt heat and cold, pain and loneliness as they did. Now this was gone once and for all, and I understood there were no exceptions and on one was invulnerable, we all had to share the same conditions and in the end this was simply mortality, the mortality of things as well as ourselves. After that I didn't expect anybody to love me...
Reports to the Surgeon General... represent the final word upon the efficient and devoted sense of responsibility of our people in this obligation to our fellow citizens. Overwhelminglythey confirm the fact that the general mortality rate, infant mortality rate, epidemics, the disease rate-are less than in normal times. There is but one explanation. That is, that throughan aroused sense of public responsibility, those in destitution and their children are receiving actually more adequate care than even in normal times.
Studies indicate that vegetarians often have lower morbidity and mortality rates. . . . Not only is mortality from coronary artery disease lower in vegetarians than in non-vegetarians, but vegetarian diets have also been successful in arresting coronary artery disease. Scientific data suggest positive relationships between a vegetarian diet and reduced risk for obesity, coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and some types of cancer.
In the humanist world following Erasmus, man is at the centre of the universe. Man becomes largely responsible for his own destiny, behaviour and future. This is the new current of thought which finds its manifestation in the writing of the 1590s and the decades which follow. The euphoria of Elizabeth's global affirmation of authority was undermined in these years by intimations of mortality: in 1590 she was 57 years old. No one could tell how much longer her golden age would last; hence, in part, Spenser's attempts to analyse and encapsulate that glory in an epic of the age. This concern about the death of a monarch who - as Gloriana, the Virgin Queen - was both symbol and totem, underscores the deeper realisation that mortality is central to life. After the Reformation, the certainties of heaven and hell were less clear, more debatable, more uncertain.