First, congratulations for the website. I'll try to phrase my question in an intelligible way: How do we realise, if we ever really do, that we are mortal? Indeed, until we are dead, at which point we are not conscious anymore, we have no affirmative knowledge of the fact that we are mortal. Is it an inferrence made from our observation of the world, and of the idea that we are no different? Or is it something that is culturally acquired by social influences - in which case I should maybe seek answers from social anthropologists? Could then it be considered more of a presumption than a realisation? And yet it is holds such a grip on people that it would be hard to suppose it is a mere presumption. Thank you. Olivier

I suppose it is both an observation from our experience of the world and also socially influenced. Freud suggests that we cannot really think of ourselves as dead; even when we imagine our funeral taking place, we are still sort of there watching, and so alive and conscious. As you say, we cannot actually experience no longer being alive, outside of movies anyway, but there are many things I cannot experience yet believe are true. Since I cannot swim I cannot experience moving across the top of water, but I believe it happens to people. I have even seen it happen. The same is true of mortality.

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