what is life?

Life is made up of marble and mud.

– Nathaniel Hawthorne

What is life?

Life, as a word, represents a vast interconnected cosmic tapestry of ‘corporeal existence.’

Corporeal: Latin corporeusof a material or physical nature, not mental or spiritual; of the nature of a body (living or dead), from Pre Indo-European (PIE) kwrep “body, form, appearance.”

Existence: Latin existere “stand forth, come out, emerge; appear, be visible, come to light; arise, be produced; turn into,” PIE sta- stand, make or be firm.

Corporeal existence appears as an outward display of physical matter, in motion. Matter is meter, in patterns of observable motion. The range and rate of motion, i.e. frequency, is extensive from eternally slow to instantaneously fast. A corporeal existence may endure a day, or an eon. A rock stands out in a firm way longer than does a flower blossom. A planet longer than a species. A galaxy longer than a star system. An atom longer than a cell.  An ant shorter than a bird, a whale shorter than an ocean. A tree shorter than soil. Corporeal existence is referred to as Nature. Nature is not a noun. It is a verb. It is a vibrant, exuberant complex tapestry in motion.

Corporeal existence, the outward form of Nature, is not limited to your body, or the species of which your body is framed. Corporeal existence includes all material forms, from minerals to plants to animals. Your body, as corporeal existence, appears as a gathering, an accumulation, of food and sensory impressions both of which occur within the vast interconnected tapestry of Nature and organized into individual experience like a unique wave on the ocean of commonality.

Nature: Latin natura “course of things; natural character, constitution, quality; the universe,” literally “birth,” from natus “born, to be born,” from PIE gene– “give birth, beget.”

Many often consider the opposite of life as death; but, really, birth is the opposite of death. Birth and death are conjoined like two sides on the same coin of Life. Life is the ongoing motion of transformations between birth and death one giving way to the other; both are Life, both are in motion. Life is motion. Any motion. Any motion is animation. Life is atomic animation. Existence is physical, material animation. Nature is animation, which includes, amongst so much more, all motion of your cells, molecules, tissue, joints, muscles, organs, skin, senses, cognitions, emotions, memory, imagination, intellect and identity. Of course, all atomic animation is predicated on ‘energy.’

Energy: Greek energeia “activity, action, operation,” from energos “active, working,” from PIE werg “to do.”

         Potential: from Latin potentia “power, might, force;” from PIE root poti-“powerful.”

         Kinetic: from Greek kinetikos “moving, putting in motion; from PIE root keie “to set in motion.”

         Radiant: Latin radiantem “beaming, shining,” present participle of radiare “to beam, shine”

Energy in motion appears as kinetic radiance. Radiant energy is known as electromagnetic waves, also known as light. Light is made of individual particles called ‘photons,’ each carrying a small ‘packet’ of energy. This radiant kinetic energy upholds and moves matter, meter, frequency. Energy itself is not a ‘thing.’ It contains the potential power of all possible motion, all definitions and dimensions, all ‘things,’ actualized in first electromagnetic waves (light) and then in actual kinetic forms of matter and meter.

 Energy, according to physical law, is neither created nor destroyed. It is not born, and it does not die. It is ‘no-thing.’ And, yet, it is the source of all ‘things,’ all temporal kinesis, corporeal existence, Life. The potential of all possibilities is immeasurable. Kinetics is quantifiable. Full Life is both absolute potential and relative kinetics. Kinetic life appears as the numerous changes, progressions, maturity and development of personal, individual, social, planetary, solar and cosmic life each within a given rate and rhythm within a larger scale of rate and rhythm. Kinetic life occurs on multiple levels and within multiple scales, from micro to macro organisms and from seconds to centuries and longer. Kinetic life, ever in motion, encompass the vast realms of becoming whereas potential energy, unborn and without motion, is the realm of being. Life is becoming; the source of becoming is being. Whereas becoming is encased in the meter of matter, being is transcendental to the meter of matter. Being is still and eternal. Becoming is animated and temporal.

Transcendental potential, as source of Becoming, i.e., Being, is theoretical. It cannot be observed or measured. It cannot be experienced. It has no form, no shape, no boundaries, no limits, no definition and no identity. It is transcendental to  the subject-object polarity. There is no “I’ or ‘You,’ no ‘us’ or ‘them.’ There is no ‘it’ or ‘that.’  In this regard, it is the seamless ‘unified field’ of mystics and sages. Kinetic energy is practical and appears as both observable and measurable. It has motion, form, shape, boundaries, limits, definition and identity. It can be recognized as ‘it’ or ‘that.’ Corporeal existence, Life, is practical kinetic energy. Theoretically, one has the potential energy to become what is possible. Practically, one must employ kinetic energy to actualize that potential possibility. Practical kinesis is predicated on intelligence.

Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.

– Stephen Hawking

Intelligence: Latin intelligentiaunderstanding, knowledge, power of discerning; art, skill, taste,” from PIE root leg- “to collect, gather,” Also from Greek teleos “entire, perfect, complete,”

Intelligence is a like a guided missile towards perfect, complete understanding gathered through accurate discernable accumulated information. Intelligence is not without motion, i.e., animation, and which directs energy to move in ways both creative and destructive, allowing for the continuous unfoldment of potential possibilities through vast cycles of transformative time, in curved space. Intelligent energy is that practical kinetic animation we call Nature, in all its varied, diverse, wild and potent material metered expressions. Potential energy itself is invisible and untouchable. Practical kinetic energy, i.e., Nature, appears as the extravagant expression of potential possibilities in ways magical and mysterious to the uninformed, through time periods beyond comprehension, all of which has been, is now, and will be in a kinetic process of transformation, somewhere between eternally slow and instantaneously fast. Life is corporeal existence of practical, intelligent metered kinetic animation, rooted within the seed of teleos, the ultimate target, the completion of evolution.

One’s actualized practical personal life appears as but a brief, temporary, slight small sliver of cosmic, solar and planetary Life. Theoretically, the potential for the possibility of health and happiness, ‘heaven on earth,’ is no more nor no less fantastic than the potential for the possibility of illness and suffering, ‘hell on earth.’  In between the potential of possibilities and the actuality of practicalities, probabilities intervene.

Probable impossibilities are to be preferred to improbable possibilities.

– Aristotle

Probabilities: Latin probabilis “worthy of approval, pleasing, agreeable, acceptable; provable, that may be assumed to be believed, credible,” from probare “to try, to test”

Although anything is possible, not anything is probable. Probabilities can, to a large extent, be predicted based on observable kinetic patterns of Life. One can predict with some degree of relative accuracy, for example, weather patterns and economic trends. Based on such patterns and trends, probable prognostications predict rain, or heat, or wind, or recessions or inflation. Predictions can also be made with extreme accuracy such that the probability of actualization is very high, as in landing a spaceship on a distant planet. Probabilities, the intervening element between possibilities and actualities, is predicated on individual and collective kinetic intelligence, i.e., intelligence-in-action.

Life is possibilities, to probabilities, to actual practicalities. The potential of all possibilities is without limit. The limit of probabilities narrows into actual practicalities. Life is a practical matter in its most solid form. Life is boundless possibilities in its most nebulous form. Living life is the process of bringing nebulous possibilities into firm solid form, through fluid probabilities, ever adjusting, uncertain, until the actual solidification becomes manifest and observable, sensible and measurable, for a while. Natural corporeal existence, Life, is like a tree blossoming, and then withering, in its own natural set meter of kinetic becoming, while, at the same time, also being deep roots, the tree is untouched by  the blossoming and withering of observable, measurable ongoing outwardly animation. Life is inner being and outer becoming together. 

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on

– Robert Frost

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