What is life? Well, this is a rather vague question, which could be viewed either objectively or subjectively. First, let’s take an objective look. Life is when matter becomes animate. Wikipedia defines life as “a characteristic distinguishing physical entities having biological processes, such as signaling and self-sustaining processes, from those that do not…”
By this definition, life is merely that which gives entities awareness and autonomy. But that does not answer what life is, that answers what life does. Life is the experience. Therefore, the question must become, what does life experience? But that crosses over into the subjective. We’ll get to that.
For now, let’s examine further what life does. Life gives a biological system the energy to exist. Where does that energy go when the system dies? Scientists have claimed to prove that this energy, or consciousness, moves into another dimension when its host dies. If that is the case, life is merely a virus temporarily inhabiting a physical entity. Here, that is. Who knows what it is when it moves on to someplace else?
How else might the question be seen? Perhaps philosophy is the only appropriate field to answer. In a philosophical sense, life is to exist. So, what does it mean to exist? Materialism states that all that exists are matter and energy, therefore, seeing as everything in the physical dimension is either matter or energy, life must be everything. No, that’s too broad an answer.
What is Alive?
Let’s broaden the question a bit, shall we? What can be said to be alive? In 1785 James Hutton proposed what led to the Gaia hypothesis, positing that the Earth was a superorganism. According to James Lovelock, “life on Earth functions as a single organism that defines and maintains environmental conditions necessary for its survival.”
The human body is no different. Is your body not a collection of cells? Think about it, are you your body or are you your cells? If you are not your cells, then how would your body function as a whole system? Where does their awareness end and yours begin?
In this sense the entire Universe could be seen as alive, being that all elements maintain conditions for its survival. Without the energy from the stars, no planets would exist. Every element other than hydrogen was forged in the center of a star, plus without the thermonuclear energy, the planets wouldn’t continue to exist as they are. And so on.
So, that is one hypothesis. What else could be said to be alive? That which grows? Crystals grow. Are they alive? Many people believe that they are. Some define life by the ability of choice, in which case subatomic particles could be said to be alive, according to the Double-Slit Experiment.
But that is neither here nor there. Or is it everywhere? Anyway, after we’ve answered what could be said to be alive, we must ask, what does it mean to be alive? Well, according to Victor Frankl, as the experiencers, we are the ones that give our lives meaning by the choices we make and the responses we give to our experiences.
So, what does life experience? This brings us into the subjective, meaning you must turn your attention inward to find the answer. What is your life? Is it a random event swimming through a sea of random events? Only you can say. I can tell you what my life is, but that defeats the purpose of asking the question.
What is Your Life?
The point of this article is to get you to question your reality and seek the meaning of your own life. I just watched The Truman Show with my father, which is one of the movies that really gets me thinking about the big questions.
I hadn’t seen it in probably a decade, but I still remember the way it made me feel the very first time I watched it. The thing is, I couldn’t really identify what I was feeling at such a young age. I can only identify it as a feeling that “there is something else out there” or “there has to be more to life than this.”
Since I can remember, I have always wondered things like what my life would be like years from now, what it would be like to die, or what it would be like if I didn’t even exist at all. My father, brother, and I have discussed such things many times, each of us contemplating abstract concepts our entire lives.
Recently, I have discovered meaning in movies, music, and books, many things from my youth that I didn’t quite grasp when I was younger, yet I knew there was something more to them, something so real yet so intangible. But how can something be real and intangible? You tell me. Are your thoughts real? They’re real to you, aren’t they?
You see, I am a huge subscriber of the concept of taking the red pill, as Tom Bilyeu would say. Take a plunge down the rabbit hole and take a look at your own life, won’t you? Yes, we’ve been talking in mostly philosophical terms so far, but I would be wasting my time on this website if I didn’t give you something useful to do with it, some kind of tool or tactic.
Here is a process which can help you discover the purpose of your life:
Get out a pen and a piece of paper. Close your eyes and picture your highest self, whatever that means to you. Maybe it’s your most successful, perfect form. Or, perhaps it’s an image of your spirit, a white light perchance. However you show up in your mind’s eye, ask yourself this question: What is the purpose of my life?
Once you’ve done that, open your eyes and write it down. Now, close your eyes and ask again. Do this over and over until you come up with the answer that really moves you, maybe even makes you cry. You will know when you have come up with the final answer.
Mine is to sing. I love singing. Does this mean I will become a professional singer? Maybe. Or maybe it means that my purpose is to sing, and the fact that I love doing it proves to me that whatever happens with my singing is irrelevant, as long as I do it, which I do just about every single day of my life.
What are you doing with your life? I truly hope that you can answer that with more than “earning a living and paying bills.”