It is an odd question that, when thought about, really does curtail you. What is the definition of alive? Can one thing be more alive than another? If a list of objects were given, for example: the universe, the world, a human, a piece of paper, a tree, a thought, tomorrow, a person that is anatomically dead.
Which would be more alive? The Universe, because it contains everything else? Or a thought because it assigns that very value to the Universe? A piece of paper more than a tree, because it has the potential to have something incredible drawn or written on it, and thus contains the life poured into it? Is tomorrow alive? It motivates action, so where does it go on the list? What about the dead person, are they alive? What if that person was Beethoven, or another famous musician or person in history.
Do they live through the legacy of their actions?
It’s a question so convoluted by arbitrary criteria, and a lack of a definitive ‘dead’ as a contrast.
Because Alive is subjective to individual interpretation, there can be no perfect answer in the frame of the question. The best possible answer is in the terms and ideas of each individual.
The question of what it means to be alive is superseded by the ability to give meaning to life. There is no answer except that each individual has their own answer, and any given answer’s perfection is subject to the frame of imperfection (the question) it lies in and the individual interpretation of that frame; as well as the interpretation of the one making a judgement on the answer.
Take for example, Rhain Davis, the boy that was picked up by Manchester United for his extraordinary talent in playing soccer. Imagine if Rhain values soccer as the greatest pleasure in life. To live, is to play soccer – for him. If he continued playing soccer until he was finally signed on to play for Manchester United, picture his reaction if he were to lose both his legs in a plane crash the day after he was told.
The person whose greatest value in life is soccer becomes unable to play soccer before his career began. Is his life over in the context of anatomical life and death? No. Is he alive? To an onlooker, perhaps his appearance carries their connotations of life. To the soccer player with no legs, though? If his life was soccer, what remains?
To paraphrase my answer: To be alive is to give your own meaning to life. To make judgements – to think. Everything is subservient to this, because before consideration is made as to what it means to be alive, you must define alive and it’s antonym. Only a thinking being is able to do that. A living being is one capable of giving its own meaning to the universe, its own interpretation of alive and dead. All else is dead.