What Is Life?

Revolutionary Worker #897, March 9, 1997

1 We are, in fact, made of "starstuff," along with everything else on
earth, living or not.

2 On earth, living things are typically made up of one or more living
cells. And all forms of life on earth are related and are descendants of the first one-celled creatures to live on this planet.

3 All the different kinds of living creatures or organisms
have in common:

  • the ability to grow and process energy
  • the ability to reproduce
  • and the ability to encompass (make happen and "take in") change, and to pass it on over the generations.
  • 4 Human beings have a lot in common with all the other
    life-forms on the planet. What makes us "different" is not really the things that prove we are "alive." After all, there's a lot of "life" all around!

    What makes us different, or "special," is that we have evolved to a higher degree than any other species the ability to change the conditions of life through social means--by living and struggling in concert with other human beings during our entire lives. This--being part of human society rather than just being alive--is the essence of what makes us human beings.

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