Need a grim video to spice up your Thursday afternoon? Vox’s YouTube channel has you covered with this brand new exploration of death. Specifically, Nadja Oertel’s video examines the ways in which technology has changed our definition of death. It used to be that when someone stopped breathing they were simply deceased, with no way of bringing them back. But the invention of CPR in the 18th century was a “momentous shift” in that way of thinking. Someone could stop breathing for a few moments and still be saved. Or as Oertel puts it, “The end of breath no longer meant the end of life.”
There were similar shifts with the invention of the ventilator in the 1940s and the defibrillator in the 1950s. These new innovations allow a body to “outlive its brain,” introducing the modern concept of someone being “brain dead.” The two-minute video is a fascinating (or terrifying, depending on your feelings on death) exploration of a process that’s apparently much more complicated than it seems. In other words, maybe Game Of Thrones needs to rethink that whole “valar morghulis” thing.