Latin: /'vɒks pɒpjʉliː/ VOICE OF THE PEOPLE

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Monday, August 2, 2010

"We are alive because..." by N Dekker

What makes us alive? Is it the chemical composition of our body, and the pumping of our hearts? Or is it something more? Is there a reason that we are alive, a special purpose; different for each individual? Many have tried to answer these questions and the mere question of why we are alive fascinates many. We are alive because... any ideas? In fact, how do we even know we are alive if we were never dead?

What makes us aware of the things around us? What makes us ask these questions and then try, painstakingly, to answer them? We learn in school that we have a heart and that the heart pumping blood and oxygen through our bodies keeps us alive. Only what does it mean to be alive? A more complicated metaphysical theory tries to answer this question. It states that everything is alive. All things are made up of energy and our senses interpret this energy. Science says that for something to be alive it has to have movement, be able to grow and reproduce. Specifically, it has to move by itself.

Another definition is somewhat narrow-minded; it states that only beings who can realise that they exist, are alive. This definition manages to exclude bacteria, plants and animals as we don't know if they realise that they exist, yet we know that they are alive. So this definition makes little sense. All these various definitons tell us that yes, we are alive. But why are we alive? That is something scientists have not yet been able to agree upon.

Are we alive because we want to be? Surely, to give up the will to live is to stop living. If this is the case, what makes you want to live? Your family, your friends, your hobbies, your passions... what? Harold Thurman, a philospher, said, "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs, is people who have come alive."

What makes you feel alive? Pain, happiness, love, joy... all these feelings make us feel alive. If they make us feel alive, does the ability to feel them make us alive? The word alive is defined as having life. The word life is defined as the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction and the power of adaptation to environment through changes originating internally. Whatever that means, it explains a lot and leaves even more questions unanswered.

The idea of there being a purpose to life and a reason for our existence past biological reasoning is not a new one. I believe that everything happens for a reaon, both the good and the bad. If I believe this then it's not dificult to believe that there is a reason that we are alive. Richard Bach said, "Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished; if you're alive, it isn't."

Do the questions actually matter? Dr. Seuss said, "Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple." Is this the case with the question of why we are alive? Are we making things seem more complicated than they really are? Maybe, maybe some day somebody will find the answers, but it's so much fun trying to figure them out. Imagine if there was just one solid answer to this question... so many hours of wondering about it would be spared! What would people do with all that spare time? Maybe, maybe it's better not knowing and asking these questions again and again, as the way that you choose to answer them is the only answer that really matters.

Morrie Schwartz said, "So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning in your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning."

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