I was reading about definitions of death and how most people assume that ‘brain death’ means something other than ‘death’.
This doesn’t surprise me from a language point of view, because ‘death’ is concept we apply to the entire being not to just one part. When you say ‘brain death’ it makes it sound like just the brain has died and as though that’s less than death.
Of course there are also other factors – like we associate a heart-beat with life so most people conversely associate death with the absence of a heart-beat – but that choice of words probably doesn’t help.
I can only imagine how much harder it must be to deal with a loss or to navigate questions about organ donation, if you don’t understand that ‘brain death’ is ‘death’ and think that your loved one is alive until the machines are turned off.
I suppose though, if medical advances ever bring the brain back from death we’ll effectively create immortality.