To Be Aware of Being

To Be Aware of Being

Speculations by Stefan Stenudd


I'm watching episodes of Through the Wormhole, reminding me of the cosmological speculations that have been a kind of background radiation in my brain since I was a tiny kid. I'm sure we all have them. This time, the subject is life and its origin.



       I wonder about the definition of life. Scientists talk about an entity separate from the world around it, by some kind of membrane, surface, skin, whatever. That entity must be able to reproduce. And that's about it.

       The old Greeks were more interested in the ability to move and do something. What makes me able to go where I want to go, instead of just lying there like a stone on the ground? That was the mystery to them. Aristotle talked about a first mover, sort of getting that stone rolling.

       Life is hard to define, because it's an old concept that emerged from ancient perceptions of the world. To primordial man you lived or you were dead. In case of the latter they believed that the something making you alive had left the body, for example as a spirit of some kind. How else to explain that someone who was so lively suddenly does nothing and starts to decay?

       That gave birth to ideas of an afterlife. Also the fact that dead people were still present in the memories and dreams of the ones still alive. So, death was just as much a mystery as life, and the border between them unclear.

       But contemporary science asks the question about life from a biochemical perspective. Amino acids and so on. DNA. That's all fine, but it's far from life as we experience it, and even farther from how our predecessors saw it.

       The universe is full of chemical processes, many of them very intricate even without DNA. Movement and change are everywhere. What really stands out is not the complexity of the chemical process, but the fact that we humans are aware of our own existence.

       That's the essence of life to us, that's the root to mystery and miracle. We are aware of ourselves. As far as we know, the stone on the ground is not. Nor is the river floating through the landscape, not even the earth and the sun. Probably not DNA either, or any one of the millions of cells in our bodies.

       Regarding other animals, I don't know, but I suspect that they have some kind of self-awareness. Anyway, we humans definitely do, and wrestle with it from cradle to grave. That's what makes us alive: we know we are. Otherwise we would not ever be able to ask ourselves what life is.

       I think there are very intriguing things to discover if the search for the origin of life is modified into one for the origin of beings becoming aware of themselves. How did that awareness come about and what is its real nature?

Stefan Stenudd
August 12, 2012




More Speculations




My Other Websites


CREATION MYTHS
Myths in general and myths of creation in particular.

TAOISM
The wisdom of Taoism and the Tao Te Ching, its ancient source.

LIFE ENERGY
An encyclopedia of life energy concepts around the world.

QI ENERGY EXERCISES
Qi (also spelled chi or ki) explained, with exercises to increase it.

I CHING
The ancient Chinese system of divination and free online reading.

TAROT
Tarot card meanings in divination and a free online spread.

ASTROLOGY
The complete horoscope chart and how to read it.

MY AMAZON PAGE

MY YOUTUBE AIKIDO

MY YOUTUBE ART

MY FACEBOOK

MY TWITTER

STENUDD PÅ SVENSKA




My Books


Click the header to get to the webpage where I present all my books in English. Click an image below to go to that book's page on Amazon.

Ever Young. Novel by Stefan Stenudd. Sunday Brunch with the World Maker. Novel by Stefan Stenudd. All's End. Science fiction novel by Stefan Stenudd.
Tao Te Ching - The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Tao Quotes - The Ancient Wisdom of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Cosmos of the Ancients. Book by Stefan Stenudd.
Aikido Principles. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Attacks in Aikido. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Aikibatto. Book by Stefan Stenudd.
Occasionally I Contemplate Murder. Book by Stefan Stenudd. QI - increase your life energy. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Life Energy Encyclopedia. Book by Stefan Stenudd.
Tarot Unfolded. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Your Health in Your Horoscope. Book by Stefan Stenudd.




About me
I'm a Swedish author of fiction and non-fiction books in both Swedish and English. I'm also an artist, an historian of ideas and a 7 dan Aikikai Shihan aikido instructor. Click the header to read my full bio.