Life – Living and Being Alive

On matter, biology and the spiritual life.

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Life – Living and Being Alive

Life – Living and Being Alive

Introduction

We are living. But are we alive? As humans we feel far superior to the lower regions of existence as found in plant life, or even in the animal kingdom. We are aware of living, and we yield to its demands. But we hardly know what life means. We have knowledge of our awareness and we call that consciousness or intellect. But what is consciousness? We have analysed the body and discovered the brain and the nervous system. We have analysed the mind and discovered inhibitions, which are reactions, which work through the senses, which belong to the body. We do not seem to be able to get away from those facts In nature, of which we see the effects without knowing the cause.

In man‘s search for an ultimate cause of life, he has spelt that word with a capital L, and thus endowed Life with a super-nature, which he has given many names without understanding. A religion which is bent on such a search, which aims at the supernatural, which acts in faith and depends on dogmas – such a religion is based on what is accepted as revelation. But revelation is pure idealism and hence totally divorced from actuality.

But, as life is acting and reacting in relationship, and as there is no relationship between the ideal and the actual, there is no relationship between super-nature and nature. It is therefore no surprise that a deep gulf has separated science from religion. That separation began already from the very first act of man as recorded in the Christian Bible, when Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge. They had plenty of fruits to eat, but this tree was forbidden. They broke faith because it was forbidden to satisfy their knowledge.

Both science and religion claim that life is their prime concern. The science of life is not a prerogative of biology only, but it concerns psychology as a branch of philosophy as much as it does the eschatology of religion. And, of course, it concerns everyone who reads this, as long as he is alive in body and in mind. Thus, for some the interest in life lies in observing the organic activities in the vegetable and animal kingdoms, botany and zoology; others would restrict life to conscious awareness in a human soul; while a very few would embrace all that exists as emanations of a supreme life-force.

This present study then is an enquiry into the individual claims of biology, of psychology, of theology, with a view to ascertaining the values of a materialistic, idealistic, or spiritualistic approach, in order to arrive at a realistic understanding of matter and mind, living and alive.

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