What is life?

Maybe a silly question. An online search says:

life – lʌɪf/
noun
1. the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.

2. the existence of an individual human being or animal.

I wonder about the second one. Oh, not in a physiological sense, but in a humane sense. It’s the second one, the one that doctors have to abide by through their Hippocratic Oath. (Link to PDF.) They basically promise to sustain the human machine (body) and do what they can to keep it going for as long as possible. But… Is that what we want?

I’m convinced that many of us have seen people in hospitals, connected to machines that keep their vital functions going as long as the heart keeps pumping. “Sustaining life.” It is not at all the first definition of life as listed in the beginning of this post. No ‘functional activity‘, no ‘capacity for growth‘.

Of course, this has been addressed in many places, through the years and centuries. I think there has to be a more humane approach to this, a manner in which people can choose to end living when they feel it’s their time.

The world should reconsider these values of life. It won’t be easy due to ethical arguments, but the way ‘life’ is treated now is very often inhuman. Inhumane.