Is a rock alive?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Trying to answer a very strange question.

Submitted: April 14, 2017

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Submitted: April 14, 2017



The title of this essay probably sounds silly but don't worry, there is a reason for it. In my essay on the meaning of life I got a comment that said "is there really a point of life? Consider a rock. What's the point of a rock?" And I like to pay attention to the comments. I responded casually, not even considering how a rock isn't usually considered as having a life to have a point to. I don't know if it was a mistake on the commenter's part or just the first thing that came into their head but it's made me curious. So now I'm going to look at whether a rock can be considered to be alive.
Lets start with the question itself. What does it actually mean to be alive?
Well, according to the Oxford Dictionaries, alive is an adjective that means: a person, animal or plant that is living, not dead; continuing existance or use (e.g. keeping hope alive); alert, active or animated; having interest and meaning (e.g. history comes alive); aware of and interested in/ responsive to (e.g. alive to new ideas); and swarming or teeming with (e.g. cliffs are alive with gulls).
The noun (a) rock according to the Oxford Dictionaries has many definitions: the solid mineral material forming part of the surface of the earth and/or similar planets, exposed on the surface or underlying the soil; a mass of rock projecting above the earth's surface or out of the sea; any natural material, hard or soft, having a distinctive mineral composition; a large piece of rock which has become detached from a cliff or mountain, a boulder; a stone of any size; a kind of confectionary in the form of cylindrical peppermint flavoured sticks; a precious stone, especially a diamond; a small piece of crack cocaine; a man's testicles; used to refer to someone or something that is extremely strong, reliable or hard; for ships a source of danger or destruction; money (used in US at one point).
Now, comparing definitions we find that any version of a rock that refers to geology - be it sedimentary, metamorphic or igneous - can only be considered to be alive when covered in life so heavily populated is what swarming or teeming as a definition of alive actually means.
So that's it then, essay done right? No, wrong because something doesn't have to be alive to have a life. Because I have found when trawling through the Oxford Dictionaries the meaning of life (the word not the concept) a definition that supports the idea that a geological rock has a life: the period during which something inanimate or abstract continues to exist, function or be valid. This definition goes by the idea that there is a period between a rock's creation and destruction giving it a lifespan, therefore giving a geological rock life.
Now that I have found that a geological rock can be said to have life, what about the other definations of a rock?
As for money, confectionary and crack cocaine, the same logic can be applied as I have applied to geological rocks. The time between creation and destruction is a lifespan and if it has a lifespan, it must have life.
Crack cocaine has another claim to life though. Cocaine of any kind originally comes from coca leaves which as you can guess are part of a coca plant. The meaning of alive that states a person, animal or plant that is living, not dead could be applied here for the coca plant. But as for a rock of crack cocaine, it would be dead as it no longer has living plant systems to support it, although this does prove that rock is dead, and to be dead you must have had life or been alive at some point.
As far as I'm aware, danger and destruction could be said to be alive in continued existance and use similar to how hope is alive but they are concepts that a geological rock could cause and I've already established the possibility of a geological rock's life.
Now for the final and more obvious ones. A man's testicles are attached to a man and his internal organs so while he is alive, so are his rocks. Someone strong, reliable or hard is the same argument that while someone lives then they being a rock, a rock has life/ is alive. Something strong, reliable or hard comes back to lifespan from creation to destruction gives life.
So whether a rock is alive/ has life seems to be a matter of perspective, which definition do you use for alive/ life? And what type of rock are you thinking of?
So, thank you for reading, I had to sort this out for my own benefit as much as anyone elses and if I find other comments that create deep thought for me, I may just use them as inspiration.

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