Being able to think and being full of life essence are two different things. plants do not have an organ like animals called the brain that lets them have an awareness of themselves and their surroundings, but they are still alive and on some level may be conscious of their own existence in a way we could not imagine.
There are people that feel that one day there will be an artificial intelligence. one that can grasp the world as we do, I do nat share this sentiment. If there is AI someday I think we can no more grasp what consciousness means to the AI then we could image what it is like to be and ant or an ant to imagine understanding us.
but if this come to pass, if one day there is a chip, silicon, positron, or grafted bio matter resembling our own Brain Cells (what else would we model it after?) and it UNDERSTANDS and THINKS… still, is it alive.
What is life and what separates the life and experience of a rock, a plant, a star, a molecule of dust in the vacuum of space, from human experience. can it have a soul and how does that fit in with life, intelligence and the journey?
In Judaism, it is said that all things have a soul, rocks, plants, animals, specs of dust in a vacuum. there are many levels to this idea and in my studies though out life and good deal more recent in Israel, I have come to fee this is true. if we believe we are more then just matter, more then just electrical impulses formed by LIVING TUSSUE!!!, I mean we have cells that form a matrix called the brain and the chemical reactions made from the very simple matter we eat, is used to create electrical pulses from cell to cell forming a relay that can have so many switched it can calculate, regulate its heart and come up with original ideas. we can love and hate, feel glad or sad, scared or calm. we can scam or create, defend or destroy.
All things have a soul… I am down with that, my man! In many of the cabalistic teachings G-D created a universe with the laws of physics, and like all parts, quantum physics has an important job. to me, the idea of only humans haven a soul and animals, mountains the earth and stars themselves being but crude mater, never sat right with me.
I do feel that even right now although there may not be a machine with a soul or the ability to think like we do, there is an inherent life force and soul in everything around us including our computers and robots. so do my kids teddy bears and our cars and my guitars in particular. there are many Jewish schools of thought on this but but besides being messengers, some schools refer to angels as the rules of nature. thus making physics itself living ideas that that come to life in the form of energy on one level and mater on another. In cabalistic thought there is a chain of causality that runs down the tree of life. it is said that G-D parted himself to make room for the universe that we know. all the matter and chemical reactions, the thought and doings, as well as quasars and cell phones came about by the creation of a matrix with set rules and some randomization programed in, but if course when we program radomes it is still defined by our idea and what we are already confined to by the laws around us, not so when G-D did her thing. one subroutine to govern when a leaf falls and another for the variations of droping the same object over and over in a pool of water, but always getting different waves… similar but never the same… and even more mind bending, no snow flake is EVER the SAME… naw… really? thats like, wow… more designs then I could ever come up with. I think many programers would just make a few basic shapes and have them repeat or randomize certain aspects from a set of parameters giving a definite number of possible outcomes… but snow flacks, have infinite amount of variations, must have something to do with quantum physics for sure.
As I type on my MAC, and set it up to do various tasks, I interact with it. all over the world people with smart phones cars with computers computers in everything connecting everyone is getting people to interact with a physical objects in a way we never have before.
My mind is a tornado, it never touches ground. Spinning and Whirling, pick them up and throw them around…
Thoughts like derbies are spurn about, littering the landscape of my mind. they land with impacts of varying degrees, some pass and some demand action. act now and write this down before it sinks into time bubbles and bent space, in those first few moments… black holes and time space itself warping and twisting, too dense for the laws of physics that we now try to understand, to apply to it, these are my thoughts. falling into one another like particles super heated, all matter condensed to a pinhead, not even hydrogen could form… how am I supposes to form a coherent thought and interface with those around me, when the universe is being formed in my head? How else but art does one convay the chaos that echos all we know and see around us in a way that allows us to go on the next day and not question purpose or place, but just to Be.