Born Alone, Die Alone: What Does This Mean?

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Oct 24 18:11:42 UTC 2011

You're born alone inside your own body and mind. While you're alive,
nobody feels what you feel, notably your pain. When you die, nobody's
coming along with you into the dark.

Despite appearances, you're alone all the way through. (Except in the
poster with the two sets of footprints.)

I encountered this radically existentialist proverb - or something
very much like it - probably forty years ago. And the idea certainly
wasn't new then.


On Mon, Oct 24, 2011 at 1:09 PM, Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Shapiro, Fred" <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Born Alone, Die Alone: What Does This Mean?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I apologize for my cluelessness, but there is a quote by Steven Jobs that is getting some publicity and that makes no sense to me.  He said, "You're born alone, you're going to die alone."  What does this mean?  Many people die alone, but many do not, and it is not clear to me that anyone is born alone.  Some babies are given birth by mothers in secretive circumstances and the mother dies in childbirth, but this is unusual and the baby may quickly die when this happens.
> Fred Shapiro
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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