Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 71.djvu/479

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AGE, GROWTH AND DEATH

473

price of death, and it does not seem to me too much for us to pay. We would not, I think, any of us, wish to go back to the condition of the lowly organism which might perpetuate its own kind and suffer death only as a result of accident in order that we might live on this earth perpetually; we would not think of it for a moment. We accept the price. Death of the whole comes, as we now know, whenever some essential part of the body gives way—sometimes one, sometimes another; perhaps the brain, perhaps the heart, perhaps one of the other internal organs may be the first in which the change of cytomorphosis goes so far that it can no longer perform its share of work, and failing, brings about the failure of the whole. This is the scientific view of death. It leaves death with all its mystery, with, all its sacredness; we are not in the least able at the present time to say what life is. still less, perhaps, what death is. We say of certain things—they are alive; of certain others—they are dead; but what the difference may be, what is essential to those two states, science is utterly unable to tell us at the present time. It is a phenomenon with which we are so familiar that perhaps we do not think enough about it.

In the next lecture there will be some other general aspects of our subject to present to you, and a formulation of the general conclusions towards which all the lectures have aimed.