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I am uncomfortable in associating thought with life and with matter because thought seems to me to be a process rather than a type of being. It is an intimate human experience coursing through the brain. Yet, thought is associated with something similar to the other two types of being.
To put it on the same footing as matter and life, I would say that what we are considering here is the product of thought exhibited in the world. It is thought manifested in objects created by humanity that we see on earth.
The same is true of life. We are talking about plants and animals inhabiting the earth rather than about their DNA. What we call life is its visible manifestation.
Even matter has a “seed” from which material objects are created. But we are talking about what we can see and touch rather than their atomic or molecular structures.
Let us therefore draw a distinction between full-blown being and the seed from which it was created. In this way, we can put thought, the seed, on the same footing as the other two types of being.
The seed of matter is its atomic and sub-atomic particles. The seed of life is the procreative cell containing its DNA. The seed of thought is thought as an intimate process - what we immediately experience as conscious beings.
From the seed emerges full-blown being, an adult manifestation of its nature. Physical being is an outgrowth of atomic structures. Living plants and animals are outgrowths of DNA. Objects consciously created by man are the result of thinking.
So, to put thought on the same footing as the other two types of being, we should refer to the products of thought rather than thought itself. The process carries through to create its own world. What is important here is how individual thoughts create an artificial physical world from humanity’s collective knowledge through the mechanism of numbers and words.
With respect to thought, the human being is the instigator that stands inside of and behind acts of thinking. The relationship is different here than in the case of matter and life. The human being thinks through words. Words facilitate communal activity and understanding. What we call thought in this context is really the collective product of human thinking - thought causing certain things to appear in the world.
Human beings can observe the products of thought as they observe life and matter but we are really too close to thought itself to understand it objectively since the process merges with our own identity.
Thought becomes a worldly object in this manner: First there is animalistic human thinking. Then thought is communicated to others in spoken words. In a later phase, words are written. Writing increases their presence in the human world. Written words are then printed to expand their range of influence. A culture held together by written language is created.
So thought expressed in written words became knowledge that was formulated in written communications. With the scientific revolution came instructions capable of changing the physical world. Thought’s mature phase brought the widespread utilization of the earth’s physical resources in objects that served humanity in certain ways. Thus artificial objects joined life and material resources among the types of beings found on earth.
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