Admittedly… I did not read all the comments, but I suppose the Earth is much like a layered envelope. I can’t help but want to add Teilhard’s insightful conceptions about spherical development which in some strange yet overwhelmingly coherent way moves from super heavy, dense and hot to ever increasing moments of freedom, lightness, and the consciousness found in biotic organisms. Foundations are the facts of structure and provide safe harbor for the creativity of flight.
Anthropomorphic qualities are extensions of subjectivity – ok. I believe mirrors are valid sign posts to understanding, but I like the move away from binaries if they’re not creative. The move away from life/death, subject/object is still tricky, but provocative. I would imagine that when the spectrum is view from the vantage of timelessness life and death fade from relative coherence. You receive an-other sort of gesture, a closeness or sense. When ontology fades under the weight of time what will be left?
Perhaps Earth is so deeply alive we wouldn’t even recognize it as life, per say. There’s a great analogy that comes to mind about a guru and a student. The student tells the guru that he wants to achieve enlightenment. The guru says that when he achieves enlightenment, the self that desired enlightenment will not exist.
I say all that to say… I’m sure I’m more a poet than a scientist because I think I’ve placed a hunch that the fulfillment of science ends in aesthetics.