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(Three-minute read) 

Life has no meaning but each of us has meaning and we bring it to life.

Life is what separates living things from everything else serving humanity.

“Whatever we are, whatever we make of ourselves, is all we will ever have—and that, in its profound simplicity, is the meaning of life.” Philip Appleman

“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.” Thomas Merton

“The meaning of life is not to survive but to die.” 

It would be fair to say that Scientists, Philosophers, and religions have spent millennia pondering what it is that makes something alive. In a very literal sense, we do not yet have a meaning for life.

In fact, there are currently over 100 definitions of life.

For instance Nasa ” A self-sustaining chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution.”

However the classic borderline case of life is a virus – it’s inert as long as it does not encounter a cell. 

So the decision as to what is alive or dead is where the cut-off point lies with a virus.  

A virus carries DNA and RNA the blueprint for life. They, therefore, exist between the boards of chemistry and life. 

What about life as we do not know it.

It seems obvious that at some level all we see about ourselves, living or otherwise, is merely a manifestation of chemical reactions and the laws of physics.

The chemical reactions occurring for the universe’s first few billion years led inexorably to our teeming world, yet no one would describe them as life. But so what? 

The creation of artificial life is now a fully-fledged branch of science creating new organisms that so far no one has assembled together into a functioning synthetic life form.  

If this was to happen it would redefine what we presently understand or didn’t understand by life. 

We need to get away from our current concept as AI increasingly shapes the human experience, how does this change what it means to be human?

Humanity is in the process of losing something significant.

Algorithms could soon—if they don’t already—have a better idea about what is alive or dead.

As they become more and more predictable, the creatures inhabiting the increasingly AI-mediated world will become less and less like us. 

So to find a working definition for ‘life’ seems to me to have little practical value.

It is estimated that there are 1031 virus particles in the oceans – they vastly outnumber all other organisms on the planet.

Viruses are the most common biological entities on Earth.

Experts estimate there are around 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 of them, and if they were all lined up they would stretch from one side of the galaxy to the other alive or not, viruses are doing rather well!

I would argue that the only satisfactory definition of life, lies in the most critical property of genetic heredity: independent evolution.

All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.