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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Intuition of mortality

I enjoyed your rundown of literary references to mortality but would like to draw your attention to another one:

‘Every man must be born with an intuition of mortality’ – from Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead.

In the context of the play, it refers to the fact that we must know in our genes that we are going to die otherwise we would all remember vividly the dreadful shock when we first became aware of it. However, it used to amuse me during my ten years as a life contingencies examiner. Clearly some of the candidates did have an intuition of mortality but an awful lot didn’t!