What do we mean when we say life?
Ask any biologist or anyone connected with the medical profession what life is and they’ll tell you the following: life is that which consumes food and/or sunlight and uses some of that energy for growth and body repair; it excretes waste, it consumes oxygen and expels carbon dioxide (or for plants, it’s the other way around); it moves, grows, reproduces, and responds to its environment.
The above is all fine and well, and I don’t disagree with it. But this defines biological life; there’s another kind which can be called spirit life.
Spirit life exists, but you can’t perceive it directly. It’s kind of an energy that filters through the world but without being a part of that world. It can’t be described in physical universe terms because it’s not made up of pieces of the physical universe (although it’s capable of taking a position within the physical universe).
Spirit life is what the Bible called “the breath of life” that animates what would otherwise be just a lump of meat. It is the soul, the person themself, not something the person “has”. Spirit life can be attached to a (biological) body, but need not be. Many spirits exist without a body of their own, and this includes souls waiting for a chance to get one; also jinn, hants, plugs, ghosts, goblins, and things that go bump in the night. They have no weight; or if they have, their weight is less than a billionth of a gram.
I suppose many unattached spirits are neither good nor bad to or for actual people, but some are malevolent and cause problems for their hosts. And some are downright beneficial, assisting where they can to help somebody through their days.
What is life trying to accomplish?
A survey of what each type of life is attempting to do would be helpful:
Combining biological and spiritual life
Those lives you’re the most familiar with consist of a spirit in a (biological) body (dualism). My favorite analogy is that the body is a car and the spirit is the driver of that car.
Before birth, the spirit claims the body, making it their own. For me, in this lifetime, that happened one day before I was born, which is why I have no problems with early-term (first trimester) abortions — if there’s no spirit there yet, no real someone is being harmed.
By some mechanism I don’t fully understand, a spirit gets assigned to a particularly body and gets trapped inside — so that becomes “their body” for a lifetime. It’s unable to say goodbye until released at the moment of death.
Role of the brain
Most people consider the brain to be the center of reasoning and conciousness, especially the cerebrum (cortex). But I say the human brain has only a rudimentary thinking capacity, somewhere on the order of a cat or a horse. True reasoning occurs only in the spirit. But the brain is important because it acts like a giant switchboard, facilitating communication between the spirit and the rest of the body. Without this, the spirit would be mostly blind to what the senses were observing, and any decision the spirit would make about what to do next could not be put into effect by the body. It’s only with this connection that the mind and body can operate as a single unit.
Discussing the nature of life can get confusing, because of these two different uses of the same word. Spirit life in particular is not often talked about, but there it is, and it can’t be dismissed as if it doesn’t exist.