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Duane Elgin



You ask an interesting question: Is there “another word that would suitably describe the non-biological yet highly interconnected and interdependent matter of the universe . . .”? There are phrases that are evocative for me:


  • Double-Aliveness or Doubly-Alive — Life is nested within Life. In Plato’s terms: the universe is uniquely alive as an integrated whole and, within its vast wholeness, there are countless, differentiated organisms with their unique expressions of life. The aliveness of biological systems is then seen as a subset of the doubly-alive (life within life) universe.


  • Trans-Biological Aliveness — This phrase points explicitly beyond the realm of biology to another expression and realm of aliveness; for example, exploring the Earth as an integrated living system or the cosmos.


  • Deep Aliveness — This phrase is based on the recognition that 95 percent of the known universe is invisible and this realm seems vitally important to the important attributes that we describe as “aliveness.”  The “depth” of aliveness is unbounded and extends to the entire cosmos as an integrated system.


After going through this thought-exercise, I realized, even more clearly, how the words “aliveness” and “living” are very valuable in describing our relationship with the universe. In turn, I don’t want to give them up to be used only by biologists — particularly if biological life is viewed a subset of the aliveness of the larger universe. Perhaps the question is: “Is there another word that would suitably describe the expression of ‘aliveness’ found in highly differentiated and seemingly separate biological systems?”