Life is everywhere, it is the metaphor for our earth. It is there that things might live. I want to take a generalized look at the various kinds of life that exist on earth, and take a rational look at what this implies about these forms of life.
In the world around us, the simplest class of life that we can see is the plant. I will leave aside the microscopic organisms as we cannot see them; indeed, I have dealt with these on my private blog, for the misunderstandings about them are legion and it takes some seriously clear thinking to wade through the various illusions.
The plant is an organism that grows. It doesn’t do much else than just get bigger. It does so by growing leaves, and balancing this are its roots. The normal pattern of roots is a chaotic spreading mass; the unusual root is one that has form. The plant we see has, in the first part of its life, leaves and a stem. Once it has attained a certain maturity, it flowers and sets seed. Most plants die after they have done so; some plants live through the winter before they attain this maturity. Whatever, the plant will remain in the same place that it grew as a seed. That is, unless something unnatural happens in the meantime, like me transplanting the poor innocent thing!
Plants do not move: once they are rooted, that’s it. Either they survive or they do not. All they need do is grow, and they will do so if the conditions they find themselves in support them. There is nothing the plant can do about this, and there is no need for a plant to do anything else. There are seeds enough for the right plant to grow in the right place.
The animal is distinct from the plant in that it has muscles and legs that mean it can run around. Animals share plant like activities in that they too grow; however there is more to the way in which an animal grows in that they need to eat. An animal has a digestive system in their abdomen, a plant does not. What many scientists disregard is the fact that animals are driven by their instincts. Many honest scientists think that animals are conscious; however it’s relatively easy to disprove this. Just try being a cat for fifteen minutes and see what it’s like. Lick yourself, limit yourself to miaouwing and give yourself the odd scratch. Your hands are only feet and can be used only as such; you can only walk on four feet and you will only be able to eat with your mouth and your tongue. Then do a pee in the cat litter in front of the family.
Oh, and if you want anything, all you can do is miaouw. You could hiss and wag your tail in disapproval, but there really is very little else that a cat can do to converse in the way a human will.
Every possible consideration in the life of a cat is covered by its instincts. Eating comes first, and a wild cat doesn’t get the kind of sleep we expect. It’s tiring and it’s tough – and often very hungry. There’s nothing the cat can do about it! It’s how they’re made, as it were. Cats don’t get choices in their lives: if there’s a mouse, it’s food. If there’s a female on heat, there’s nothing the male cat can do but deal with the situation that overwhelms its senses.
And yes, animals have senses. They can only react to these senses in the way their instincts allow them, though.
If a cat meets another, it will become territorial and it will establish its authority over the other animal through brute strength. It either wins or loses; there is no half way with an animal, there is no need.
There is and can be no premediation in the world of the animal, they simply aren’t made that way.
They have no need for premeditation in the way a plant has no need for the ability to sense the world around it. Everything the animal does is laid out for it in the way its body works; everything the plant does by way of growth lies within it.
The human being grows, and the human has senses; these unite the human with the two other living realms. Yet, as discussed in my post “The Unthinking Biochemist,” humans are more than just the product of their metabolism in the way an animal is. I cited the example of two biochemists, one of whom was turned on by a blonde and the other not. In the world of the animal, there would be no such choice. If the female was on heat, well, we know the rest, don’t we? … kittens.
Humans get to choose, where animals do not. Indeed, the greatest thing a human can do is to choose to listen. This is impossible in the world of the animal, where all stimuli lead to a reaction of some sort. The human can sit down and listen to someone else and consider what they have to say. The person speaking might be right or wrong, that is of no consequence; the fact is that a human can sit down and listen.
Animals can be told to sit down and wait; that is very different from actively listening, actively considering what the other has to say.
Indeed, it’s true that if a human cannot sit down and listen to what others say, then the part of that person that cannot is acting in the way an animal will. There are no two ways about this: the highest thing a human can strive for is to listen to others.
Because the animals cannot. Humans who demand superiority over others for no reason other than the power of their muscles has renounced their ability to think and have, instead, enrobed themselves in the skin of an animal. One might state that such behaviour is actually an illness, for all illnesses leave a human incapable of acting in a healthy manner.
The most healthy of which is the ability to listen and discern.
And yes, there are more things that a human can do; the point is that all of these are dependent on the human ability to listen and consider what has been said in all equanimity.
Anything else is to fall away from this. Anything else will be the result of having turned away from what a human should be doing – and having done so, will have taken the path to illness in some form or other. No wonder that we have so many Alzheimer’s patients today.
Those who are seriously ill will find that they are no longer able to move, and must stay in bed. For all their ability to act as a human might, they are rooted to the spot in the way a plant is. As health returns, so does their more animal ability to walk around. If through this, they have maintained their ability to listen and consider, they will have shown that the illness was temporary.
It is possible in this way to determine the level of consciousness in the human. If they can sit and listen, they have the seed for full consciousness. If all they can do is speak without listening, then a critical part of their consciousness lies in the unconscious realm that we share with the animals. If they lie in their bed asleep, then they are like plants for there is no sense and no reaction.
And yes, I go to sleep too. These are things that are part of our lives; that is not the point. We all have to eat, digest and go to the toilet – that we share with the animals.
The point is that humans can do a great deal more than the animals. Only humans can’t do this if they simply sit down and do as they please: we have to strive to attain true humanhood.
The problem is that you can’t prove this…
… the problem with proof is that you don’t have to strive to attain it, do you?