So... Life?

Discussion in 'Random Chat' started by Aatell, May 8, 2012.

  1. Aatell

    Aatell The one who has two minds

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    Hmmm i've always wondered what is life? Sometime's it's pretty cheesy
     
  2. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    The answer is 42, you know that :p

    The question, however (or, assumption, in this case), might be wrong. I suppose this ventures in some way to find an answer as to why the question is wrong.
     
  3. bloodfiredeath

    bloodfiredeath Die by the Sword

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    I just came in here to post that...should have known it would be the first thing posted!!
     
  4. Firiath

    Firiath Halfling barbarian

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    My question is: Is the question "how do you define life" or "what is life all about"? Or both? D:
     
  5. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    I think the question as to what life is all about is false. The question assumes that it is about something, whilst I feel that life, on the whole, doesn't really care.

    I think that you'd have to specify life a bit further; life on a cellular level; life on the level of (complex) organisms; human life - or life as perceived by the human consciousness. Assuming you would have mean the last, I think the question is defeated by the preceding three possibilities.

    If you would want to define life (as perceived by the human consciousness), I'd invite you to define death or, more challenging, the state of an individual before life and/or before the development of self-consciousness. I believe the secret lies in the contrast ;)
     
  6. Aatell

    Aatell The one who has two minds

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    Hmmm your right, I think i'm talking about the human conciseness , I mean we possess this incredible ability while other animals show no actual proof that they can think you know?
     
  7. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    You've clearly not had many pets -- or not paid attention to them - or had pets so highly domesticated that they show little independent thought/will. Many domestic species (esp house pets) are bred to the point where they are highly docile and submissive - traits that made them easy to work with and control. Try matching that to a more willfull breed and you'll see big differences.

    The concept that thought, personal identification and all that is isolated to humans alone is - a hangover from Victorian and religious influences.
     
  8. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    The distinction becomes a bit fuzzy when you really dive into it, I agree. But generally, it is very hard to separate imposed personality from animal behaviour. People tend to project human characteristics on pretty much everything, including pets. I'm not quite ready to accept anecdotal evidence when it comes to that.

    We've discussed this in other threads, and I agree. Apes? Yes. No doubt they can think and act for themselves. Elephants - probably. From there on in, it's a very long (and, in my opinion, very steep) gliding scale. I really don't think - and never have seen - any serious indication that any of the domestic animals are capable of such.
     
  9. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    I suspect a great part of this problem is the fact that humans tend to lack the view that we have any animal behaviours of our own. We still er toward that viewpoint that we have little to no "nature" effect and that we are purely a nurture species - even when there is considerable evidence that this is not the actual case.


    Another part I think is language - we are only just scratching the surface of actually understanding the communication of many other species. I do notice that many of the, generally considered, most intelligent species are the ones with which we can communicate with more easily than others; or who's communication method is more easily understood or at least seen/heard to be complex.
    Many others get dismissed as lower because we simply don't have as much a grasp upon how they communicate with each other and the world around them outside of direct physical displays.
     
  10. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    I don't agree. I really don't. There is a great overlap in human and animal behaviour, when you stick your nose into it. Problem is that this only worsens the problem, because humans tend to mistake such familiar behaviour as intelligence.


    Communication goes to some length to point out intelligence (though the discussion was more about the autonomous, self-consciousness which we humans identify with life). Up to a certain level, I don't particularly think communication is very interesting. Food. There. Me>You. Growl.

    Language, however, is conceptual. It appears that it can be translated from one medium to another in both humans and animals, so long as the brains are able to process. Since 20 years or so, there have been experiments with apes and (ever more complex) hieroglyphic language. It appears that the intelligence and self-consciousness of the apes increases when introduced to complex language this way (indicating that language as they know it is less advanced). I don't know whether similar experiments have been conducted with - say - dogs or pigs. Success would certainly be highly acclaimed, so even without searching, I think that we can conclude that no success was attained.
     
  11. Aatell

    Aatell The one who has two minds

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    Well yes, animals are intelligent like if I neglect my cat while it's sitting on my lap and purring it tries to get my attention, if still don't it gets the picture and wont even meow at me for a day or two. I'm looking at the big picture you don't see gorillas and elephants driving and writing and inventing tools, building complex structures, they do however show companionship and community and what not.