Mystery called Life : Defining Life


This is a second part of the two part blog on Mystery called Life. In the first part explanation of life – The definition of life is limited to existence of one unit consciousness in one unit physical body only. But the other more popular view says that consciousness starts with life and ends with life. Here consciousness is just one of the many characteristic of life and existence. So we come back to redefining life.

Life can be (re)defined as having ‘one unit’ physical body, having consciousness, struggling for survival, procreation for continuation of species and having DNA.

We have covered consciousness in first part. In this part we limit consciousness to one existence (birth to death) only. Let us analyse this definition.

  1. How do we define one unit body?
    Is the whole body alive or only part of it?
    What if we were born with a car as a part of our body? How would we differentiate living and non-living part of our body?
    Sometimes this unit body extends beyond one body. In groups, we act as one unit body – family, friends, partners, community, country…. we, us, they… striving for survival and procreation for saving our species. Can this group also be termed one unit living body?
    Is our blood having life? Do bones, tissues, organs and brain have life?
    Do Blood, bones, tissues and organs  have life after they are out of our body? If no what constitutes one unit body?
    Does it also extend like aura beyond our visible body too? This we also sometimes define as personal space, in which we allow only those we love and trust.
    Is it every part of body that is physically connected and having DNA?
    Explanation : Scientifically, a body is all the connected physical parts having a common DNA.
    But when we bring in consciousness into it, we realise that it is what we imagine it to be.
    1st case : It can be a group we are in, like ‘my family’, ‘my people’, ‘my country’. We try to own this body.
    2nd case : It can be ‘no body’ too. Meditators experience the falacy of physical body. They get detached from their body. They know by experience that what they are trying to own has no substance and has no meaning.
    3rd case : Body need not be physically connected. In case of twins, they share same DNA but different bodies. They usually experience and feel what their twin counterpart feels and experiences.
    4th case : Body can be someone else’s. Couples try to own each other’s bodies and want it to act as they want.

  2. What is struggle for survival? Why do we struggle for life?
    Does it matter if a life is dead or alive?
    Does a virus and bacteria also strive for survival? Why does it matter to them whether they are alive or dead? Are they conscious of being alive.
    Why do living beings fear death?
    Whether they strive to survive or not they all must ultimately die!
    explanation: All life forms share a common misconception of ‘permanance of life’. They all fear death for some mysterious reasons, whether they have seen death or not. This is the reason they keep struggling for life.

  3. Procreation for continuation of species
    Why do young ones and eggs of most species don’t live long enough to growup?
    Why is there this food chain, that species feed on each other?
    Why do living beings procreate?
    Explanation :
    a. fertilised egg, seeds, young ones (and parts of our body ) don’t really consciously strive for survival and procreate until they growup enough or realise they have life.
    b. If you observe carefully, the food chain is very important. Living being need energy for constant growth and activities. Only living beings can provide adequate energy for survival of any species on earth. By living being what is meant is animate/organic matter here.
    c. Procreatation is the very nature of life and of DNA. In single cellular organisms and multicellular organisms there is cell division. But in multicellular organisms there is also fusion of male and female cells to form new cells that is quite different from the parent cells that brings diversity within same species. There is one more important reason. It brings survial and adaptation traits to the immediate next generation, which is difficult to achieve in same generation or future generations with same DNA/genes as parents.

  4. Does having a DNA constitute life.
    It is true every organism has DNA and all  our body parts are made up of cells having DNA.
    Do the cells/DNA have life outside of a living being?
    Do male sperms and female eggs have life or the life starts only after fusion of cells?
    But what happens to DNA when blood or body organs are transferred to another person?
    What about eating meat or plants or fruits having DNA?
    Explanation:
    a. Every cell is living, both before and after fusion. It is also alive outside the body of a living being and has potential to create a new being, only it lacks the ecosystem to do its required tasks.
    b. When the DNA from one being enters another it should bring changes, physical and behavoural, in the receiver due to mixing of DNA. (Here there is a corelation with consciousness that is being transferred).
    c. But the same doesn’t happen when the DNA is injested and digested as the DNA is decomposed into energy that is required for a living being.

  5. Role of consciousness in this definition :
    Do male sperm and female cell have consciousness too or it starts after fusion of cells?
    Does every cell of an organism have consciousness whether it is inside the body or outside the body?
    If DNA mix and match, does consciousness to mix and match?
    Explanation :
    In first part it was mentioned that the consciousness of both parents fuse to form new consciousness in child. There seems to be a correlation between genes/cells and consciousness. Genes have impact on consciousness and consciousness have impact on genes.
    If every cell has life, then does it should also have consciousness, whether it is inside body or outside body.
    Yes, consciousness do mix and match. What we call life is a mix of consciousness. Like a river in which many tributaries join, our consciousness is constantly being mixed with every person we meet and everything we experience. We loose and acquire traits of others throughout our life.

There are some others things that relate to life.
6. When we talk of life, we must talk of death too?
How is life different from death? How is a living being different from non-living being? After death a living being becomes a non-living being? Why?
How do we know a dead body does not have life? Parts of the body continue to function for sometime even after death!
Does it cease to act as one unit body, stop continuing struggle for survival and stops procreation? Why?
Why does a being die? It seems a very high price for birth and the fun of procreation.
Why do different life forms have different life spans?
What happens after death?
Explanation : Everything that has a begining has an end. But there are other reasons. As explained earlier, death helps faster adaptation of the species. This is also the reason for different life spans of species. We can observe that this learning and adaptation occurs all the time both at physical and conscious level. So death is not that necessary.

  1. We dream and sleep for a major part of our life.
    Why do living beings sleep? Why do they dream?
    Dreams give a glimpse into the afterlife. Infact it gives a glimpse into life independent of body.

To conclude,
Fertilised egg, seeds, young ones (and parts of our body ) don’t really consciously strive for survival and procreate until they growup enough.
One unit body is not well defined as parts of body die well before the death of the ‘whole being’. This unit body can extend beyond one body too.
Birth is not begining and death is not end and wakefulness is only part of the story of life that we are looking at.
Genes and consciousness are corelated. Behaviour from consciousness is reflected in DNA/genes and vice versa.

Do you agree with the definition? Would you like add something to this definition? Do you have other explanations? Please do share it in comments below. Mind can matter and we can actually solve this mystery, called life……

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One thought on “Mystery called Life : Defining Life

  1. Pingback: Creator and the Creations | Mind can Matter

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