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Life (Greekζωή zoé; Latinvita; Hebrewחִיִּים Chajim) is, in common usage, a summary term for those properties that can only be vaguely described, by which living beings differ from dead matter. A generally accepted definition that would do justice to the fullness of life exists neither in philosophy, nor in the sciences or religions. It is characteristic of a living organism that it is able to adapt to a changing environment within certain limits through its vitality (Latinvitalis "viable") without losing its special character, that it constantly regenerates itself and thus fights against injuries, disease and aging, and that it ensures the preservation of the species in the longer term through reproduction.

The totality of terrestrial life forms the biosphere (from Greekβίος bíos "life" and σφαίρα sphaira "sphere") of the Earth. It extends from about 5 km below the Earth to about 60 km up into the Earth's atmosphere and includes most of the hydrosphere. According to the controversial Gaia hypothesis developed by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis in the mid-1970s, the biosphere as a whole is a living organism with the capacity for self-organisation that stabilises life on Earth and promotes the evolution of complex individual organisms.


References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
Email: URL:
Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English.
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.