Okay so consider this.
You’ve heard the phrase “I think, therefore I am” I’m sure. This phrase was coined by Rene Descartes, a French philosopher from the somethingth century. The point of the phrase was to propose human existence at its most fundamental point.
It sort of translates to: “The thing that makes us consciously exist in this "reality” of ours is thought.“
Now I propose that every living being has a similar sort of self-referencing validity. But not through thoughts. Rather, through their own loop of experience.
For instance, maybe to a tree, the phrase could be reinterpreted as: "I grow, therefore I am”… In other words, the tree’s most advanced sense of reality (or life) would be its own growth. As it grows, it validates its own existence through that growth.
Now although this tree might not consciously be aware of its reality, it is aware (through senses and seasons) of its existence. The tree can’t be like, “Damn, I wish that squirrel hadn’t robbed my nuts,” and fall into a state of frustration. But it could sense a loss of something (the nuts) and consequently react to the loss in some way. Maybe grow harder next year. Maybe spawn more nuts. Bigger nuts. Who knows. Trees are pretty incredible once you get to know them.
And to make a point here, if this notion of self-reference is in any way correct, it explains the overall drive for life that living things long for. To keep existing, it must keep doing its own loop - thinking, growing, breathing, eating, whatever it (or they) may be.
‘Cause when you think about it, it’s incredible how living things have a huge drive to keep living/procreating. Through years, decades, centuries. There might be something behind that drive. Maybe a spirit? Or maybe it’s just the fear of the unknown (or to a tree, unexperienced).
Idk, it’s just something to think about …