Re: First understanding of mortality

Harvey Newstrom (
Wed, 8 Dec 1999 13:01:02 -0500

Anders Sandberg <> wrote on Wednesday, December 08, 1999 9:10 am,

> writes:
> > Is this a universal phenomenon? Does everyone experience this as a
> > traumatic moment, after which you know that your days are numbered?
> I cannot recall when I realized my mortality. It must have been one of
> those gradual affairs - or maybe I haven't really realized it yet,

I was born premature. In my first year of life, I was declared legally dead three times. Each time, my infant body was placed in a body bag, and the time of death noted. Each time, my mother's doctor arrived, pulled me out and performed resuscitation.

I was told these stories throughout my childhood. Even before I understood what death was, I felt that I had died three times and come back. I also felt like some doctors were good and could save me, while other doctors are bad and would give up.

I have always been worried about my mortality for as long as I can remember. I also have been worried about bad doctors giving up, and the medical establishment ignoring controversial therapies. I was interested in nutrition and life extension very early. In the 1970s, the idea that diet could fight heart disease or cancer was considered quackery. I even wrote a story when I was about 10-11 years old about a child who was killed and brought back to life. I got the idea from Frankenstein, but tried to take a more scientific approach. I remember thinking that Dr. Frankenstein was a brilliant doctor who was far beyond his time, and was misunderstood by his peers. Most of my friends thought he was a horrible, misguided creator of monsters.

Anyway, the idea about fighting death occurred to me early in the '60s and '70s. I have been fighting death ever since.

Harvey Newstrom <mailto://>
Author, Consultant, Engineer, Legal Hacker, Researcher, Scientist.