Consciousness — “I think therefore I exist” — is not a prerequisite for aliveness.
The non-thinking plant is still very much breathing and communicating with its brethren through an interconnectivity of roots.
Meanwhile, the overly conscious octopus contains a half a billion neurons in its arms which allow the tentacles to function independently from its nine brains.
Programmed robots, aped after humans, may develop mentally but remain devoid of physical life.
Many humans, herd-following automatons in their own right, die with the music still in them.
The barometer of aliveness depends on how dead one feels, appears, and grows.
All things were once plankton. Now, a fish out of water — some of us are lucky enough to evolve like a baby caterpillar into a restless butterfly.