Autopoesis is a useful definition for life.

Autopoiesis (from Greek a?to- (auto-), meaning "self", and p???s?? (poiesis), 
meaning "creation, production") literally means "self-creation" and expresses a 
fundamental dialectic among structure, mechanism and function. The term was 
introduced in 1972 by Chilean biologists Humberto 
Maturana and Francisco Varela: 

An autopoietic machine is a machine organized (defined as a unity) as a network 
of processes of production (transformation and destruction) of components 

(i) through their interactions and transformations continuously regenerate and 
realize the network of processes (relations) that produced them; and 

(ii) constitute it (the machine) as a concrete unity in space in which they 
(the components) exist by specifying the topological domain of its realization 
as such a network.[1] 

[...] the space defined by an autopoietic system is self-contained and cannot 
be described by using dimensions that define another space. 
When we refer to our interactions with a concrete autopoietic system, however, 
we project this system on the space of our manipulations and make a 
description of this projection.[2] 

Roger Clough, 
"Forever is a long time, especially near the end." -Woody Allen

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