"It struck me that perhaps a lot of the people you see walking about are dead. We say that a man’s dead when his heart stops and not before. It seems a bit arbitrary. After all, parts of your body don’t stop working — hair goes on growing for years, for instance. Perhaps a man really dies when his brain stops, when he loses the power to take in a new idea. Old Porteous is like that. Wonderfully learned, wonderfully good taste — but he’s not capable of change. Just says the same things and thinks the same thoughts over and over again. There are a lot of people like that. Dead minds, stopped inside. Just keep moving backwards and forwards on the same little track, getting fainter all the time, like ghosts."
George Orwell, Coming Up for Air (1939)