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What constitutes as alive?

User Thread
 31yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that ChrisD is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
What constitutes as alive?
A thought recently crossed my mind that in order for something to be alive, it must recognize its self's existence. I make this claim on the grounds that a computer cannot deny a command given to it because it does not recognize its self and therefore has no rights, it must obey. I think I see a pattern in cultural evolution that the more we recognize the self, the more equality we achieve. Simple creatures like insects recognize very little of the self and therefore do not grant compassion for any other living thing, they live in a kill or be killed world. We can look at creatures that are a little further along, socially, like gorillas which presumable recognize the self more and as a result, have small and simple communities. So the more we recognize how similar we are, the closer we come to absolute equality. Does anyone else see this pattern? If what I say is true then the prerequisite to any form of social construct is the recognition of the self. Likewise, the prerequisite to being alive is also the recognition of the self.

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"The truth will set you on fire"
 42yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Black Gold is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
I heard that it's the blood flow to the brain thing, that is a deciding factor on whether someone is alive or not...
Although I can understand someone being mostly brain-dead and therefore unaware of it's own self-existence.
Though I'm not sure whether the two ideas work together or not.
Some parts of the body can die while other parts live on.
So, I guess the question may most likely be, "What is the deciding body part(s) that must die, for the whole body to be considered as 'dead'?"
But we should also ask "Can that particular body part be revived from a point considered as 'dead'?"
Which would ask the question, "Is anything really 'dead' until no sign of what was 'alive' is completely wiped off the face of the Universe?"
And, further still, you may want to ask if you were able to create a clone of a person, such that a soul could re-enter a living body, and continue it's life.
Yet further still, what if you could clone a person, not using an original part of a body, but through some sort of Biological Engineering? Where you would, literally create new life, by building the DNA and other necessary building blocks needed to make a living person.
(A pretty far out concept...)

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"There is no negative one..."
 31yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that ChrisD is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
You're definition of alive differs from mine. Indeed, something can be alive and not recognize itself, but is it truly alive? If it does not recognize itself then isn't it more like a computer? A slave to commands.

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"The truth will set you on fire"
 31yrs • F
A CTL of 1 means that vigil is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
New born infants are alive but do not quite have any recognition of the self. Are they computers?

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 31yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that ChrisD is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Good question. I guess you could say that anything that consumes energy to maintain a sense is alive. What I'm really trying to figure out though is this: what is the main prerequisite to any form of society? I guess the title of this thread should be changed to "Prerequisite to Society". I theorized that it was the recognition of the self that starts a society, and that means not only one's own self but the self's of others. I think that we will reach the pinnacle of society when we realize that we are all exactly the same, and the only differences in the way we act are due to different environmental influences and circumstances. Is it really so far fetched? The little we have scraped from the surface of psychology shows us that we develop base ideals and behavior when we are infants. This is an extremely profound discovery. Although this theory somewhat refutes free will, it most certainly does not take away, at least in my opinion, from the spectacular phenomenon that is life.

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"The truth will set you on fire"
 31yrs • F
A CTL of 1 means that vigil is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
"I think that we will reach the pinnacle of society when we realize that we are all exactly the same, and the only differences in the way we act are due to different environmental influences and circumstances."

That reminds me of the movie "I Heart Huckabees".

To clarify, when you say "recognition of the self's of others", do you simply mean the recognition that we have for them as beings with their own feelings and beliefs?

And how do you think that we are all exactly the same?

"I theorized that it was the recognition of the self that starts a society, and that means not only one's own self but the self's of others."

Yes, I can see how that would make sense. Psychotic murderers for instance, have a sense of self but don't see the self of other people because they cannot comprehend compassion and thus, can't relate to others - so they kill them. No society there.

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 31yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that ChrisD is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
"To clarify, when you say "recognition of the self's of others", do you simply mean the recognition that we have for them as beings with their own feelings and beliefs?

And how do you think that we are all exactly the same? "

Yes, that is what I mean by recognition of another's self.

Let's say all of our perceptions are completely different, would it really matter? Truth does not change. We are all connected through truth which enables our different perceptions to coexist. We are all beings (every single form of life) searching to satisfy our necessities and maintain security. You may say, "but you can't say that a human life is the same as an insect's life." Is it really so different when you think about it? The insect is perceiving whatever truth he is able to perceive. Sure, the insect's life is dictated completely by needs but couldn't that be the result of environmental influences and circumstances? If they had a bigger brain and a few more senses, would they be so different than humans? You may also ask, "where do wants fall into this theory? Human beings have satisfied their necessities and maintained security for thousands of years." It is a logical process that when all needs are achieved, wants can exist. Wants are not a human characteristic, I remember seeing on the discovery channel a killer whale who had just finished eating a few seals and proceeded to scrape its belly on the sand and rock on the ocean floor. I'm sure you could find a great deal of wants in any number of your own pets. But if your pets had been raised in the wild, would they have many wants? Probably not.

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"The truth will set you on fire"
 36yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that heyjme1 is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Leonardo daVinci said 'love is two bodies sharing one soul'

Ask a woman; they'll love this quote. However, to convey a point, I think it needs extending:

'love is a universe sharing one soul'.

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""No words""
 31yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that ChrisD is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
"'love is a universe sharing one soul'."

Although the term 'soul' is more poetic, we can never really know if it exists. So maybe 'love is two bodies sharing one perception' could be a more accurate definition.

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"The truth will set you on fire"
 36yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that heyjme1 is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
The point was to show that nature is an organism itself, that I am related to a person; but that I am also related to the stars. The choice of quote was just to convey the point.

Whether or not we exist as beings seperate from
non-alive ones was answered by biologists for a bit of classification:

Movement
Respiration
Sensitivity
Nutrition
Excretion
Reproduction
Growth

Of course, there are no black and whites, so at some level, namely the compositional one, what is alive becomes non-alive and what is non-alive becomes alive. This is enough for science. However, if we want to answer whether we have a special purpose, the effect of free will if we must, we must answer the question of how all events, and I mean all, organise themselves. For this, the forces between particles and the composition of the particles themselves, need to somehow be driven by something. And thus, the concept of a larger projection of thinking. Whether something exists in our perception is still narrow; because one person may see something and see it differently.

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""No words""
 39yrs • M •
gogrowgo123 is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
your body can be calculated as 96.5% a mixture of elemental hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and carbon. the rest is an assortment of minerals and whatnot in your body. theres some force that we cannot fathom, whether it be god or something else, that is enabling the leap from a mass of atoms to a person sitting in a chair, pondering his/her existence.

we can list things that describe something as being alive, but if you find what makes us living masses of atoms, as opposed to a nonliving mass of atoms that makes up a rock, then youre mankinds genius, and probably god.

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 31yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that ChrisD is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
In all honesty, I think LSD can help us pinpoint this 'me' if you will. What is it that makes us 'us'? The miniscule amounts needed (and I mean miniscule) for a complete change in one's perception largely has something to do with the specific brain receptors LSD attaches itself to. It is too bad the government has banned it because a few people were irresponsible in the 60's and 70's. The potential findings from research of its effects on the brain could be monumentous.

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"The truth will set you on fire"
 34yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that 730 is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Breath constitutes living.....if you can't breathe you're not alive....
Earth/dirt constitues the body of man....when the body dies it returns to dust
Fire constitues the aura of celestial beings (stars, ozone layer)
Water/Moisture constitutes the atmosphere....(Air)

Consciousness is the essence of what man chooses to blind himself from, and that's the 'creator of all' whether you speak of a molecule, or a spiritual essence, you come back to consciousness and words and thoughts and emotions.... Being Alive is the first thing and that's Breath....Having Haille Selassie Inside of the lungs/body/dust that you carry with your breath all through existence.....

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"Being is not knowing!"
 31yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that ChrisD is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
A cell is alive but it does not breathe. Your definition has holes in it.

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"The truth will set you on fire"
 34yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that 730 is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
If a cell didn't breathe then you wouldn't have life!...what the scientists say is an oxygen particle is AIR...whichever way you look at it, it's AIR.. Consumption of Air is what we know as breathing.... if you say it's simply consumption and waste then everything that consumes and wastes breathes.....It doesn't matter which way you put it, or put a twist on it you come back to the same reality.....

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"Being is not knowing!"
What constitutes as alive?
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