What is “life”? A question so simple, but yet unanswered.
Not a single scientific field has been able to give a consistent answer to that universal question, which has troubled scientists and philosophers for centuries. Wikipedia defines life as the characteristic which characterizes beings which have signaling and self-sustaining processes – a definition too weak to be true. Even computer viruses have signaling and self-sustaining processes. Others define living beings as the ones which can metabolize. But even inorganic matter has shown processes in which it transforms energy from one form to another. Could living beings the ones which present movement and free will? But modern materialistic science denies we even have “free will” and as far as movement is concerned, even rocks move. Could the existence of the DNA molecule define “life”? Again, such a definition would be too narrow – if life is based on DNA then how did life evolve from the first “living being” which certainly did not have DNA in its core? We see someone is alive by checking his breathing and his heart pumping. But modern science tries to convince us that we are just machines – how can we even be “alive” if this is true? We think our body consists of cells, but we do not know (or rather deliberately do not want to learn) that in our body bacteria outnumber cells by a ratio of 10, as American Scientific of July 2012 tells us (!!!)…
The life definition problems are endless. For example we tand to look at things in our scale in order to define life – if someone does not breath or make a movement for a long time then we conclude he is dead. But what if something moves not evern second but every 100 years? Would that somethingbe “alive” ? Who are we to define life after all?
The inability of modern science to answer the most basic question is due to its dogmatism: if we are to think that mechanical functions are those which define life, then it will be impossible to ever find the answers we seek. Science has lost its connection with philosophy and has been blinded by its arrogance so much that it cannot even see its own failures. The deadlock of the life definition can be seen as one of the most profound failures of materialism which people tend to overlook.
Being alive seems to have nothing to do with molecules, veins, DNA or breathing. Being alive has everything to do with being conscious. We cannot solve the mystery of life if we cannot stare the questions of consciousness in the eye. And if materialism is not able to provide answers, then perhaps a more holistic (and surely a more spiritual) way of thinking can become the key.