Marginalia, no.274

Life is the sum of the functions by which death is resisted.

~ Xavier Bichat, Physiological Researches on Life and Death

The most succinct explanations are sometimes the most inadequate. Bichat himself died at age thirty after falling down the stairs. I’m tempted to say that he was asking for it. But what is any man’s death except the sum of the functions by which he eventually succumbs to gravity?

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One response to “Marginalia, no.274

  1. Thanks, Ian. I think of Emerson, in “Spiritual Laws”: “Let us draw a lesson from nature, which always works by short ways. When the fruit is ripe, it falls. When the fruit is dispatched, the leaf falls. The circuit of the waters is mere falling. The walking of man and all animals is a falling forward. All our manual labor and works of strength, as prying, splitting, digging, rowing, and so forth, are done by dint of continual falling, and the globe, earth, moon, comet, sun, star, fall for ever and ever.”

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