Life! What is it? We all know inside of us what life feels like, what it does for us, we would not be alive without it. But what is life? Can life even be known? The best dictionary definition I can find reads: The condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction,  functional activity, and continuous change preceding death. Does that definition work for you? It does not work for me, especially since it does not refer to the situation of coming into being through splitting of cells (mitosis), growing from a spore, growing from a seed, breaking out of an egg. or even a cocoon, live birth, and/or cloning, (the last being done in laboratories, not naturally, though we don’t know yet for sure if clones will produce real and conscious life). However, while I agree with the above sense of the definition of life more or less wholeheartedly, I find it descriptive,  but not definitive. To me it describes what we can do with life, but it does not get to the roots of what life actually is. This inability to express what life is instead of what it does is probably why I have spent most of my life from the time I was born until this very moment as I write this post to try to discover if I can better define what life is, or if it is even possible to define it using the English language, which is my mother tongue,  and the only language I can use with any confidence.

Why am I wasting my life chasing this very elusive knowledge? Because I need to know. And why am I not doing my work in a laboratory, like a true scientist? Because I believe life is not natural to our earthly plane of existence, and science can only describe that which is natural to the earth, or, in larger terms, what is natural to our universe…


I cannot say that I fully understand biological life, but I really don’t have to. We have scientists who do all that work for me, and people who put that knowledge on the internet, and all I have to do to read it is ask the right question. But is biological life the full story of life on earth? In the universe? Or in the cosmos? The cosmos? What do I mean when I say the cosmos? Wikipedia describes the cosmos as the universe, and says it is orderly. I disagree with their concept, but I can do that, because I am approaching the cosmos through a philosophical viewpoint. So, when I use the word cosmos, this is what I mean: All places or non-places where life can and does exist, including the universe in which for sure biological life exists, as it does on earth, but also places where non-biological, possibly energy-based life can and does exist. As to an orderly cosmos, I prefer to think of the cosmos as a place where order and chaos exist simultaneously hand-in-metaphorical-hand. In other words, everything–everywhere. The universe, in its turn, is a place where physical (biological) life does exist, but where spiritual life co-exists with the physical. Physical life within the universe presents itself as orderly, the result of biological evolution. Chaos exists here too in the fact there is no order by which we can predict what evolution can or will create. Evolution follows a random course, searching without consciousness, most probably for a perfect lifeform. Humans are not it!

I also mentioned spiritual life above, by which l mean the connection of all living beings, one to all other beings, by virtue of the life inside them, and whatever that life is. And, going back to the start of this essay, this is the life I am searching to define. Not biological life, but spiritual life. IMO, spiritual life also includes the force that makes our bodies move to our direction. Spiritual life is the driver that compels biological life to be born, to act, to propogate, and to try to find purpose before dying. And it not only causes change, it requires us to change. It takes our experiences, displays them to us, and asks, “What now?”

Looking at spiritual life from another direction, there seems to be no way to measure spiritual life, its weight is negligible, if not zero. It has no measurable energy, although there is the possibility that it is married to our brain waves. One of the problems, though, is that we humans like to believe we are the most highly developed species on earth. And we base this belief only on ourselves. We have no way of knowing otherwise, because we have no way of communicating with most other species, and knowing exactly what they think of us. I, personally, am glad we cannot communicate with them. But i also wish we could!

Being a cat lover, who presently lives with 5 cats, I can see how intelligent they are, but I cannot always recognize their feline intelligence. I can understand where their human-type intelligence connects with mine: I have one cat who loves to bring me toys, most of which I am not supposed to touch. But one particular toy I am not only supposed to touch, I am supposed to throw it, so she can fetch it. She plays this game until she tires of it, at which time she hides the toy until she is ready to play Fetch again. But another cat likes to have me groom him, which is definitely a cat comfort action. He starts by jumping on a counter and making head-butt motions to me. If I bend my face down to his, he starts with a head-butt, then licks my mustache and goatee. When first he did this I thought he was grooming me, but his following actions decried this idea. He would turn his face to one side or the other and wait. If I did nothing he would give me a pissed-off look and leave. But, if I reciprocated his efforts, he started to purr. The more I washed his face and head with my whiskers which he would keep moistened, the louder he would purr, and the longer he would stay. Generally he does this at least once a day. Grooming is a feline comfort action, those cats who like each other groom each other often, while those that are stand-offish groom only themselves, and are groomed only by themselves. If anyone ever tells me cats are not intelligent, I disabuse them of that thought. But is this really feline intelligence I am seeing? I think it is. And that is why I believe cats, and all animals on land or in the sea, have spirits. But cats have been around people for millennia, so maybe they are displaying learned behaviours, though I do not think so.

What about fish, bugs, plants, and microbes? Do they have spirits too? I have no way to answer that but this: Evolution tells us we started as one-celled beings over 4 billion years, give or take, and those one-celled beings evolved into everything else, including us. We have spirits, I’m very sure of that. Is there any doubt all living beings should also have spirits? By human standards that does not seem possible. But we do not know how to see by bug standards, plant standards, or even microbe standards. Until we can, or absolutely cannot, I am not going to deny them what I know I have, because they are our distant ancestors. I would welcome them into our community of living beings, but I have no such right. They were here first. If anyone should be doing the welcoming, it should be them.

End of part one

Author: rawgod

A man with a lot of strange experiences in my life. Haven't traveled that much per se, but have lived in a lot of different areas. English is the only language I have mastered, and the older I get, the more of it I lose. Seniorhood gives me more time to self-reflect, but since time seems to go much faster, it feels like I don't have as much time for living as my younger selves did. I believe in spiritual atheism and responsible anarchy. These do not have to be oxymorons. Imagination is an incredible tool. I can imagine a lot of things.

9 thoughts on “A LOOK AT LIFE, THROUGH MY EYES (part one)”

    1. No problem, S’T, but I must let you know, I am most dissatisfied with it. I have been working on it for weeks (lesaning a lot more than I thought I knew before I started, and then rushed it because I left home on a week-long getaway todsy, where I would not have access to my previous work, nor the time to write anything else of my own. And I flubbed it. I went off on another of my tangents, and ran out of time and space–bsd pun). But when I get back, hopefully I can make my next sttempt work better than this one…

      Liked by 2 people

  1. A daring walk through the unknowable, but why can we not know? Why can we not communicate with other lifeforms? What is life? I think you infer that “life” is all of it and I agree. It is absolutely all of it, from the thought to the physical manifestation and back again. My “endless dream” is to be an avatar of compassionate empathy and thus, thinks I, will I find the means to ‘talk’ to all of life on an equal and intelligent basis. At that point nothing of life will scare me, nor will I pose as an object of fear, dread or danger to any other aspect of life. That infamous U.S. political gambit to sidetrack the push for racial integration called ‘separate but equal’ I believe would apply in compassionate empathy. I would not be a raccoon or a grain of sand but I would understand them and they would understand me. “Others” would have the same “right” to existence, or personal expression of their nature as I would. This would of course mean the end of all competition and predation and of necessity this is in mankind’s future. To know life we need to develop that understanding.

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    1. I certainly agree with you there, but the only way I think we will ever be able to communicate with other species would be telepathy. I have had periods of being telepathic with certain humans in my life, and even a few pets, but every time that happens I get scared that they can see deeper into me than I can, and I know there are some frightful things inside me. Then the telepathy goes away.
      Sometimes I wonder why I am scared to show others how scary I really am, and just go with the flow… maybe someday, if I ever get my telepathy back…
      But that is my thought, and i will tell you why. Telepathy does not require spoken or written language. Maybe telepathy is its own language, I don’t know. But I hope it is, because that will also mean human-alien communication will be possible. It could also mean Dumpy Trumpy would never be able to lie. Wouldn’t that be a
      n incredible tool!
      I cannot believe it, S’T, but you caught me in a box I did not realize I was in… maybe. You granted a grain of sand life. I didn’t say the opposite as such, but at the present time I am granting only visibly alive beings life. To wit, anything from microbes to whales and beyond. But not things that do not go along with my definition of biologically live, and therefore spiritually alive beings. This is too deep to get into here, but for now I am going to stick with my definition*, but with an asterik to remind me of your position.
      However, I will definitely grant you that there are living beings using each grain of sand as their own environments, maybe even their own planets, or universes.
      In ways I can see the sun and the earth being alive, but those are iffy being that they do not show all the requirements of life as humans imagine them to be. But they come damn close. So, why not a grain of sand? For me, only because i need to stop somewhere, or my worldview would become incomprehensible. So really I guess I am stopping there gor my own vonvenience, and my sanity.
      And so I will stop writing here, lol.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. As I said, I do see a grain of sand as a world, or possibly even a universe, but it still cannot cause itself to change itself. But I will not try to disect Blake any further, for he was a believer, and I am not.

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    2. Referring back to an older comment of yours, “My “endless dream” is to be an avatar of compassionate empathy and thus, thinks I, will I find the means to ‘talk’ to all of life on an equal and intelligent basis.
      Eastern religions/philosophies have two thought on that, “want something hard enough, and you will manifest it, bring it into being; or, the more you desire something, the longer you will take to get it.”
      I don’t know that I have ever manifested anything, though something that did happen to me that could be looked at as a manifestation of sorts. I entered a contest that you had to have a series of lucky events happen in a short period of time. I threw in an entry, and next day I received a call from a radio station that I had won a chance at a chance to go to Cuba, all expenses paid. I said, “Thank you,” to the DJ, and asked “When does my plane leave?” Her response was something like, “No, you haven’t won it yet, this is just the preliminary round.” I answered her, matter-of-factly as I could, “Actually, yes I have. I have psychic episodes, and this is one of them.” she laughed, said something like “We’ll see,” and hung up. I told my partner to pack up, we were going to Cuba. She laughed.
      Two weeks later I got another call from the DJ. I had been selected as a semi-finalist for the trip.” Then added something about still having two more rounds to go. I replied that I had already ordered my new passport, the old one had expired. “You really believe you are going, don’t you.” I said, “I know I am.” All the semi-finalists were invited to a restaurant, one of the sponsors of the contest, for a free meal and a draw. Before supper, ten names were drawn, with the winner to be announced after the meal. It was still the same DJ doing the picking, and she caught her breath as she read my name from the draw ticket. After the meal, she got back on the microphone, and announced the final draw. As a precaution, she said, they made up the tickets for this draw themselves, they put the tickets into a miniature drum as she read the names again, and closed the little door. The drum was rolled over many times before the little drum was opened. The coat-check girl was called to the stage, total surprise on her face. Who would have figured she would be the one to make the draw. She was stunned.
      But she put her hand into the drum, and pulled a ticket out, then handed it to the DJ. The DJ looked at it for a few seconds, supposed to be a dramatic pause. But I knew it was anti-climactic. Even as she opened her mouth to read the name, I was pushing back my chair and standing up. She read my name.
      As I went to the stage to collect my prize, she looked at me with awe in her eyes, and she whispered in my ear as I hugged her, “How did you know?” I whispered back, “You told me.”
      After all the hoopla, the DJ joined the table my partner and I were at, and asked if she could sit. How could I refuse? We talked about what the trip might be like for a few moments, then came the question she had been dying to ask. she started with, “I have been doing these types of giveaways for twenty years, and never once in twenty years was anyone so sure they would win as you. People joked about it, of course, and sometimes one of the jokers even won, but they were totally surprised. There was no way you could know. But there was no surprise on your face. How?”
      The first time you phoned me,” I said, “I told my partner, if this call is about the contest, we’re going to Cuba. I may have said it as a joke, I don’t know, but it was you on the other end of the line, and something in your voice assured me that, yes, we were going to Cuba. I told family and friends, but no one believed me, not even Gail.” and Gail said, “He did. He really did. He hung up the phone and told me to pack my bags. I laughed at him. And here we are, going to Cuba. I can’t believe it!”

      Was that a manifestation, I don’t call it one. I had never in my life thought about going to Cuba. But we went, and had a lot of fun. Except the very first day as we flew from Havanna to Veradero where we were scheduled to deplane. A totally unexpected thunderstorm hit Cuba, out of nowhere. It had not rained there for months. The rain stopped as we landed, then started again as we climbed about the shuttle to take us to the villa where we were staying. Cuba might not have expected those downpours, their weathermen had no clue. But I knew they were coming. And that is another story.

      The other side of manifestation is not getting your desire. If you are tied to something, the Buddha said, you will not get it until you no longer want it. Manifestations, in my opinion, are material, at best mental. Spiritual desires, I think, are what Buddha was talking about. The purpose of life, he thought, was disconnecting yourself from all worldly things. You could only reach nirvana by walking the middle road. I don’t believe in nirvana, I don’t believe the only way anywhere is the middle road. There are always other ways. But desiring to do something, or desiring to be something, I think I agree with the Buddha, you have to let it go before you can achieve it. Otherwise, you are still tied to “samsara,” and the path to the next plane of existence still goes through this plane of reality. IMO.

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      1. Hi rawgod… “Eastern religions/philosophies have two thought on that, “want something hard enough, and you will manifest it, bring it into being; or, the more you desire something, the longer you will take to get it.” I was taught to look upon desires thus: “When none of it matters it will all be yours” to which I subsequently added (as it became painfully true) “but will I want it all then?” No, I don’t want it all, just certain things that are important to me and what you wrote is really all I care deeply about. Yes, let me be an avatar of compassion and then let the chips fall where they may.

        I really enjoyed reading about your manifestation. Nothing like that in my life’s experience, that’s for sure.  Of course if I had ever experienced something like that, I’d want to know how I could get control of it and repeat the experience, like maybe paying off my struggling neighbour’s mortgage or some such thing. I always want her to win the lottery but nothing so far.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi S’T,
    As I was writing about that experience, others that IO had forgotten came to mind, though never anything I had actually ever wanted, just things that became available, and I knew I was going to get them. Winning the lottery would have been fun, but I had my chance back in the 80s. I’ll never get another opportunity like that again. But if I had taken it, I know I would not be who I am today. My loss was also my gain. But I will never think of any of those events as manifestations. I’ve always won or otherwise gained something, and it usually took a photo finish before the universe acknowledged that I had won (once a literal pohoto finish!), but I can never anticipate them until something happens and I know I am going to win. Is there manifestation in the knowing, perhaps, but since sometimes they ended up being things I not want to have happened, and no matter what I could not avoid them, well, I hope I did not manifest those. Some things I could hate myself for…
    But I don’t hate myself, nor do I hate any of the latent talents I have, even though there are times I wish I did not have them either. But they seem to have weakened as my consciousness was raised, a sort of getting one thing cost something else to be lost. Since I know FOR MYSELF karma does not exist, I don’t pretend to understand some of these things. But powers were either born with, or somehow developed, only to be later lost or weakened.
    I know everyone believes themselves to be somehow special, especially as a child or young adult, but I knew I was special when I first became conscious at the ripe old age of about 17 or 18 days after birth. I shocked the hell out of my mother, but her screams shocked me right back into unconsciousness, and I turned out to be a slow developer, but a quick learner. Lose some, win some. That’s the story of my life.
    I am not sure of how you are using the word “avatar,” but in my understanding you have to die with the intent of returning next incarnation as an avatar of anything. If your desire was up to me, going by my belief system, you will not get your wish this lifetime. But when you are on your deathbed, or if you are to die accidentally or unnaturally, always be ready with the thought, I want to come back to show ultimate compassion, or whatever adjective you want to use. If you have time, say it exactly as you stated it to me, as “an avatar of compassion.” Manifest it, so-to-speak, as you die, and you will get your desire. These words are my gift to you, but only you can decide if they have meaning…

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