Thread: Death is...
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Sep16-07, 01:33 PM
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Quote Quote by Esnas View Post
Baywax has pointed out some good reasons why death is important. I don't know anything about the P52 gene but what baywax says sounds reasonable to me. I've been told that prokaryotic cells are not programmed to die and so would theoretically divide forever except predators and adverse environment kill them off.

Death is also important because so much of what we humans do is based on a desire to escape it. Sex and postponement of death are very strong motivating factors - perhaps the strongest! Even rivalry for and pursuit of power is based on a desire for security and permanency vis-à-vis death.
Interesting that you point to the prokaryotic cell. Simply stated, prokaryotes are molecules surrounded by a membrane and cell wall. An evolutionary example of early life.

You seem to be saying that death is important because it motivates us to stay alive. I'm not sure if the "survival instinct" is a result of the fear of death. If we look at the prokaryote cell, its doesn't have a central nervous system, it doesn't even have sexual reproductive capabilities. It certainly does not crave security and permanency yet it displays an "instinct for survival". This is evident in its ability to perform photosynthesis, as in... nourish itself in order to survive. In some cases prokaryotes are mobile... able to maintain survival by moving away from or toward stimulus it either wants or rejects by way of flagella that evolved into the cell wall of some of these cells. But I highly doubt the prokaryote is aware of "death" as a "threat" to its survival. It has somehow, naturally developed a propensity to survive.

It would be an interesting excercise to try and trace back to the origin of the "survival instinct". Is it a universal phenomenon? Does it apply to both living and non-living entities? Is what we see as the "survival instinct" a reflection of the tendancy for all phenomena to... "survive"?