To define what life is in unequivocal terms is a challenge for scientists and philosophers. In a delicious article, Ferris Jabr argues that trying to understand life is futile. Life is a concept that we invented but it does not reflect the reality of the universe outside the mind:
“life” is an idea. We find it useful to think of some things as alive and others as inanimate, but this division exists only in our heads (Ferris Jabr, “Why Nothing Is Truly Alive”)
Living things fascinate us, not because they are “alive,” but because they are complex and, in its complexity, beautiful.
In a previous article for Scientific American he explained how he had this epiphany who has forced him to rethink what life is. However I would say that, watching Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests(1), is not difficult to think along with Jabr.
(1) Dutch: strand=beach; beest=beast
Featured Image: Theo Jansen, Kinetic Sculpture