Immortality, it’s Definition and the ongoing misunderstanding of what it is or is not…




So I was on FB today and saw that one of my friends had posted this on her page. and we started a conversation that went a little like this:

Me: Since they can be killed wouldn’t that be the opposite of immortal? I’m just saying…

Her: But isn’t an aspect of immortality that the aging process has stopped? You don’t grow old and die as say a human would well that would make you immortal, just because you get hit by a train and that kills you it doesn’t change that say you we’re 1000 years old. That for most would be immortality – being that old.

Me: im·mor·tal (-môrtl)
1. Not subject to death: immortal deities; the immortal soul.
2. Never to be forgotten; everlasting: immortal words.
3. Of or relating to immortality.
4. Biology Capable of indefinite growth or division. Used of cells in culture.
1. One not subject to death.
2. One whose fame is enduring.

Her: Number 4 – is what they fit biological immortality

Me: Even then, because they would have indefinite growth, have you seriously ever seen a lobster that big? Except in b-rated horror flicks? So sorry-still not immortal

Why am I bothering everyone with this posting? Because it occurred to me that a.) I really miss 3WT (3 word Thursday) and b.) A profound realization that definitions as we know them are changing, evolving to fit the needs of society.

Would you like an example? Immortality in a most basic sense means that a thing/person/object/belief cannot die, regardless of how broken it becomes. Should you have a person whom you pull apart and dismember, that person would still be alive if they were immortal. With me so far?

Now, for today’s definition, immortality seems to be something that is long lived and nearly indestructible. Need an example? Lets mess with the ever popular vampire fiction a majority of people read today (you can pick Edward from Twilight if you want) For all intents and purposes, he is immortal, nothing can destroy him/them. Except in some cases, hordes of angry people with wooden stakes, silver, fire and beheading (not in that order of course). So this being, like the jelly fish and lobster above, can live centuries without worry of natural caused death, which I believe is why people have adopted the definition of immortality as they currently use it and not as it is.

Since we cannot change the word to Immortal except, I wonder if there is an alternative that would work instead. What new word, or old word would be a suitable alternative? Should the definition be reworked or just left alone all together?

While these questions definitely won’t keep me awake at night, I suppose it could make for a curious new…something.

So, what’s your feedback? Do you have a suggestion for a new word? Or can you find an old word alternative?


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