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OfflineBodhi
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Registered: 02/25/04
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Life's Propensity Towards Life?
    #2700070 - 05/19/04 08:12 AM (12 years, 11 months ago)

After intensive research on possible reasons as to why life has such a propensity for life, I have come up empty. I looked to Darwin, but all he can say is that life "sprang forth" as did complex systems such as eyesight and blood clotting. I?ve looked through essays and books, spoke with college professors who have told me that any creature?s first instinct is self-preservation, but they give me a blank stare when I ask WHY. "Zen and the Brain" says that; "The survival functions are irresistible," but it doesn?t say WHY they?re so irresistible.

Supposedly, survival instincts are hardwired into the deepest recesses of our brains; into the actual brain stem itself, which extend into the hypothalamus. They can often override all other functions, even when a person has fallen unconscious, the survival instinct can still save a person from imminent death.

My question is WHY does life have such a propensity towards life? WHY do non-self aware creatures go so far as to often fight to the death for the right to propagate? Write off our instinct for survival as a way for us humans to gain immortality, but what about a plant of a gazelle or a cat? Or say that it?s because "the conditions for life were there" but that still doesn't answer WHY life has such a passion to survive, just because the conditions were there for it. I want to find some logical explanation as to WHY virtually every living species has, as its strongest desire, to live.

If there was no desire to live, then there would be no life, so doesn't this almost have to indicate that life itself is an intelligence, an organism on a macrocosmic level, which is separate from the biochemical structures of living creatures? If there was nothing more than a series of chemical reactions driving every plant and creature, then why would they occur in the first place, why would they continue to occur, and why would so many different species have evolved and enveloped practically every corner of the entire planet?

From a fanatical skeptic: My only logical conclusion is that there is some sort of intelligence behind life itself.

I have no desire whatsoever to propagate; if we were to have a child, it would be for the experience of raising a child and not to further the species. Also, even though being in this human frame gives me all of the tangible earthly delights that go with it such as the ability to touch and taste and smell, I often ache to be back "home." If I were faced with death, I am not quite certain that I would fight it; my fianc? certainly didn't, but she was pulled back into her body after being dead for 2 minutes against her conscious(?) desire. She has missed her "home" ever since as well.

I don?t mean any of this in a depressing, clinical way, just as someone who can't find a logical reason why even plants seem to "want" to survive, many of which have developed methods of communicating danger to other plants in their area when the need arises.

If anyone can point me to anywhere that offers possible explanations or theories about WHY life has such an intense desire for life, I am eternally curious.

Peacefulness,
Bodhi


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InvisiblePhencyclidine
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Registered: 06/02/03
Posts: 2,915
Re: Life's Propensity Towards Life? [Re: Bodhi]
    #2700142 - 05/19/04 09:17 AM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Your question is circular. Life is defined according to the criteria that it will reproduce. It's like asking why life reproduces life.


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OfflineMixomatosis
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Re: Life's Propensity Towards Life? [Re: Bodhi]
    #2700184 - 05/19/04 09:45 AM (12 years, 11 months ago)

""The survival functions are irresistible," but it doesn?t say WHY they?re so irresistible. "

they are so becacuse

"survival instincts are hardwired into the deepest recesses of our brains; into the actual brain stem itself, which extend into the hypothalamus. "

and this is so because without such a configuration we wouldn't survive long enough to reproduce. My cousin once got this kitten who seemed to be lacking in this propensity towards life, and guess what? Long before reproductive age, it was willingly mauled and killed by a neighbourhood dog.

You can bet that in the history of life on Earth there have been organisms, or chains of chemicals who lacked what we call "a will to live," so they didn't live to reproduce. A small group of organisms with this hardwired dsesire to survive would be more successful than organisms who accept death, therefore they would outcompete, eat, and eventually replace all life without this "propensity."


Once again logical thought prevails over mysticism.


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OfflinePHARMAKOS
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Re: Life's Propensity Towards Life? [Re: Mixomatosis]
    #2701350 - 05/19/04 02:51 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

great post man

another similar question
why life in the first place?
i mean what purpose is served by the animation of matter?
the law of entropy states that everything by nature becomes simpler and more disorganized.

so why would body systems of such insane complexity as are found in the human body exist? it seems to contradict other laws of nature...


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OfflineMixomatosis
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Re: Life's Propensity Towards Life? [Re: PHARMAKOS]
    #2701892 - 05/19/04 04:47 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

"why life in the first place?"

First you have to define what you mean by life. Life's not that anomalous when you change your perspective on what it is. Where do you draw the line? Crystals grow and propagate themselves, fire consumes and reproduces. Our attention is always on potential food sources.. green things and moving things, these are what we consider to be alive. If you ask me, dust, water, rocks, everything could be said to be alive. The nature of the universe is what we call "life".

"it seems to contradict other laws of nature... "

apparently those laws need to be reconsidered, cause, ah, here we are.


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Invisiblespud
I'm so fly.

Registered: 10/07/02
Posts: 44,410
Re: Life's Propensity Towards Life? [Re: PHARMAKOS]
    #2701915 - 05/19/04 04:54 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:

PHARMAKOS said:
great post man

another similar question
why life in the first place?
i mean what purpose is served by the animation of matter?
the law of entropy states that everything by nature becomes simpler and more disorganized.

so why would body systems of such insane complexity as are found in the human body exist? it seems to contradict other laws of nature...




you should retake physics. first of all there is no law of entropy, entropy is mentioned in the second law of thermodynamics though. it doesn't refer to chaos in structure but instead energy going from an ordered state to a more chaotic state.


Edited by spud (05/19/04 05:21 PM)


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Invisiblefreakygurl
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Re: Life's Propensity Towards Life? *DELETED* [Re: Bodhi]
    #2701937 - 05/19/04 05:01 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Post deleted by freakygurl

Reason for deletion: .



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OfflineBodhi
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Registered: 02/25/04
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Re: Life's Propensity Towards Life? [Re: freakygurl]
    #2702536 - 05/19/04 08:06 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

"First you have to define what you mean by life."

How about in the narrow sense of reproducing organisms that consume in order to survive, and develop over time to reach a more mature stage? Or even easier, why not restrict the discussion to plants and animals?

"apparently those laws need to be reconsidered, cause, ah, here we are"

I suppose i ask this question to myself as i continue to seek evidence as a fanatical skeptic with numerous (seemingly) undeniable experiences to the contrary, that there is something more to all of this than a bunch of chemical reactions, and the fact that life, which seems to contradict the laws of nature, is one of the clearest indications i personally have thus far of intelligent design rather than dumb luck.

"they are so because"

But because why? Maybe I am one of the few who hasn?t arrived at a conclusion yet, but often, my main thought regarding this is that, as an energy being, I?d probably get pretty bored of being completely intangible all the time, and would find great relief in experiencing a tangible existence for a while, especially with the promise of linearity. Maybe it would be a great relief to be in a body with such limited capacity for the intangible and non-linear.

"therefore they would outcompete, eat, and eventually replace all life without this "propensity."

So, was it simply an equal mix of those with a propensity towards life, those with a neutral stance, and those with a propensity towards death, and those with the greatest propensity towards life ?won? out? Or, is it more likely that all organisms carried the same genetically programmed desire to survive, and some organisms just ended up being better equipped to survive than others, reinforcing, perpetuating, and fine tuning the skill and the desire? The dodo probably didn?t want to become extinct, it just wasn?t as skilled at survival as the ostrich?or maybe it wasn?t as lucky. Either way, the whole survival of the fittest and life springing forth thing doesn?t seem to provide much of a satisfactory answer for me, so I am eternally curious about how others approach the question.


--------------------
"The seeker is the sought." - Nisargadatta


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Offlinecastaway
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Registered: 06/10/03
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Re: Life's Propensity Towards Life? [Re: Bodhi]
    #2702650 - 05/19/04 08:42 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Fear of the unknown
and the unerving possibility
that this one present existence of ours
is as good as it gets.


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Offlinecastaway
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Re: Life's Propensity Towards Life? [Re: Bodhi]
    #2702708 - 05/19/04 09:03 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

I've been wrong befor :smile:


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Offlinefaelr
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Registered: 04/12/04
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Re: Life's Propensity Towards Life? [Re: Bodhi]
    #2703392 - 05/19/04 11:38 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

i always thought that the freedom to choose life over death is the only freedom left.
to keep going further down the road is what makes a person stronger. if the path comes to an undesireable end then the choice to be lost or trudge on and find a new path.

i got another question....who decides when is the time to go and what is the criteria?


--------------------
where i walk, i walk alone. when i fight, i fight alone. i am no one and i am nothing. yet all is that i am.


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OfflineMixomatosis
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Re: Life's Propensity Towards Life? [Re: Bodhi]
    #2703469 - 05/19/04 11:56 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Allow me to repeat myself:

""The survival functions are irresistible," but it doesn?t say WHY they?re so irresistible. "

they are so becacuse of this point you bring up:

"survival instincts are hardwired into the deepest recesses of our brains; into the actual brain stem itself, which extend into the hypothalamus. "

And this is so because of natural selection. See below (or read Darwin).

" Or, is it more likely that all organisms carried the same genetically programmed desire to survive, and some organisms just ended up being better equipped to survive than others, reinforcing, perpetuating, and fine tuning the skill and the desire?"

You're missing the point. A programmed desire to survive, a propensity towards life, as you call it, is part of the equipment an organism uses to survive. An indomitable will to survive, an unwillingness to give up and accept death is just as much a tool for survival as big fangs, webbed feet, or a warm fur coat. A wolf without teeth is just as unlikely to survive as a duck without the urge to escape predators and fly thousands of miles south in the winter.

As for reproduction.. I don't want to reproduce, not at all, but on a long enough time line, despite careful precautionary steps, enough sex is going to produce children. We've been molded this way through natural selection. As for animals not enjoying it, think about dogs. When a female's in heat, she releases pheremones the males can't resist. These powerful chemicals take possession of the animal's rational mind and direct its actions, so it doesn't matter whether they like it or not, they HAVE to do it. Without these powerful effects, they wouldn't reproduce, therefore they would be outcompeted by animals who were strongly effected by these chemicals.

Anything else need clearing up?


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OfflineMixomatosis
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Re: Life's Propensity Towards Life? [Re: Mixomatosis]
    #2708384 - 05/20/04 11:09 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Could it be that an issue has actually been resolved on this forum, or is bodhi going to return to take up the issue soon?


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OfflinePHARMAKOS
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Re: Life's Propensity Towards Life? [Re: Mixomatosis]
    #2709242 - 05/21/04 02:03 AM (12 years, 11 months ago)

i would think not.
Excellent explanation mixamatosis. I think you hit the nail on the head.


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