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Difference Between Living and Non-living Things
The Changing body and the Constant Self
So long as there is life within the body, the body exhibits six phases of change which biologists cannot explain in terms of the laws of physics and chemistry: (1) conception (2) growth (3) maintenance (4)reproduction (5) aging and (6) death. Moreover although an individual's outer qualities change with time, the factual existence of the conscious individual does not change, I can remember when "I" was five, "I" was ten, "I" was fifteen. The bodies that I had at those times have completely disappeared and yet "I" remain and remember quite vividly the experiences I had previously. Thus there is an essential difference between body and the self - the body changes but the self remains constant.
The Mystery of Consciousness
Your loved ones can, just by their presence, make love spring in your heart. A programmed computer on the other hand, can say, "I love you" a million times but even a fool will not consider reciprocating with the so-called love of the computer. Whv? Because your loved ones are conscious whereas the computer is not. While machines perform certain activities that could duplicate those of a human being, all the actions of the machine are reducible to a mechanistic explanation. But in the case of a human being endowed with conscious awareness, such a mechanistic approach fails. Even Thomas Huxley pointed out the irreducible nature of consciousness, "I understand the main tenet of materialism to be that there is nothing in the universe but matter or force ... It seems to me pretty plain that there is a third thing in the universe, to wit, consciousness, which... I cannot see to be matter or force, or any conceivable modification of either."
Erwin Schrodinger, a Nobel Laureate and pioneer in quantum physics, has also pointed out the distinction between the self and our world of experience, "So, in brief, we do not belong to this material world that science constructs for us. We are not in it, we are outside. We are only spectators. The reason why we believe that we are in it... is that our bodies are in the picture. Our bodies belong to it."