A circumpolar night’s dream
DOI link for A circumpolar night’s dream
A circumpolar night’s dream book
We are accustomed to calling animals and plants ‘living things’. But we call ourselves ‘human beings’. Let us agree that plants and animals, human and non-human, are all organisms. The question then arises: is an organism a thing or a being? This is by no means an issue of mere semantics, for on the answer hangs our understanding of life itself. If life is a property of things, then it must be reducible to some internal principle, the possession of which distinguishes the class of objects we call organisms from classes of other kinds, and which – from its position within the organism – drives the latter’s development and its interactions with the environment. But if life is tantamount to being, then we have to regard the organism not so much as a living thing than as the material embodiment of a certain way of being alive. In other words, we should think of the organism not as containing life, or expressing it, but as emergent within the life process itself.