|Definition of the soul taught to Odilie Watson (1920-2007), wife of DNA co-discoverer Francis Crick and 1953 illustrator (Ѻ) of DNA as it appears in Nature, who, as child, the heard term living "being" (see: living being) to her mind as “living bean”, which she remained puzzled about, but remained silent on, until her later discussions with Crick, her husband of 55-years, who cites the above quote and anecdote in the opening chapter of his 1995 The Astonishing Hypothesis. |
English author William Shakespeare's famous "to be or not to be" query seems to well-capture the gist of the modern person's notion of being, in the sense of a term captures or embodies one's theory of existence. The following is the first quarto's version of the speech of William Shakespeare’s famous Hamlet quote:“To be or not to be, I there’s the point, to die, to sleep, is that all?”, which amounts to a frank and straightforward query about the point of existence, and seems to exemplify what most modern people associate with the term "being". 
Russian-born Israeli chemical engineer Alec Groysman comments on this logic thermodynamically in his 2004 article “Aesthetic, Philosophical and Historical aspects in the Physical Chemistry education”, where he states: 
“The relationship of probability and entropy (more precisely, the decision about spontaneous occurrence of process) or calculation of Gibbs energy for some chemical reactions, is similar to Hamlet’s ‘to be or not to be?’ of William Shakespeare.”
which seems cogent, being that Gibbs free energy, according to Erwin Schrodinger (What is Life?, 1944), is the subject one is supposed to turn to if one is to understand, supposedly, what life is in terms of chemistry and physics.
In a short essay titled ‘Action and Activation’, French philosopher Pierre Teilhard gives an excellent definition of life in relation to being. In particular, being, in metaphysics, Teilhard states “can be defined with a precision that is geometric in type”; energy, however, presents itself to the physicist as a magnitude that is still open to all sorts of possible corrections or improvements.” In relation to the combined mechanism of activation, being, and energy, Teilhard reasons that: 
“One of the most distinctive characteristics of living substance in action is undoubtedly the predominate importance assumed in it by the fact of being (or of not being) appropriately responsive to a stimulus and stimulated.”
Here we see Teilhard attempting to frame out the concept of "being" in a pure physical-chemical perspective.
In 2015, Libb Thims, during the "Zerotheism for Kids" lecture, to note, similar to the Odilie Watson example, illustrated above, had difficulty explaining to the children, aged 6 to 11, what a "being" was, as the term was brought up towards the end of the lecture on the topic death, history of theories of the soul, in relation and the Parmenides vs Heraclitus debate on being continuity vs the existence of the void.
The following are representative quotes:
“Being is unbegotten, indestructible, whole, eternally one, immovable and infinite. With it there is no was nor shall be; the whole is forever now, one and continuous.”— Parmenides (c.460BC), Sources; cited by: Henry Bray (1910) 
“Belief is half of being.”— Robert Getchell (1993), said by etiquette teacher Amanda (Anne Bancroft) to Maggie in Point of No Return (Ѻ)
● Animate being
● Being and becoming
● Chemical being
● Human molecule
● Human particle
● Inanimate being
● Living being
● Material being
● Physical being
1. Being (noun) – Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, 2000, CD-ROM, version 2.5.
2. Being (noun) – Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.
3. Teilhard, Pierre. (1953). “The Energy of Evolution” in Activation of Energy, chapter: “Activation of Energy (section II: Action and Activation, or, On the Dynamic Role of Foresight in the New Evolution)”. Unpublished, New York, May 24. (Oeuvres, VII).
4. To be, or not to be – Wikipedia.
5. Groysman, Alec. (2004). “Aesthetic, Philosophical and Historical aspects in the Physical Chemistry education”, in: Trends in Electrochemistry and Corrosion at the Beginning of the 21st Century (pgs. 1203-1226). Edicions Universitat Barcelona.
6. Bray, Henry T. (1910). The Living Universe (pg. 251). Truro Publishing Co., 1920.
7. Crick, Francis. (1994). The Astonishing Hypothesis: the Scientific Search for the Soul. Simon and Schuster.
● Alexander of Aphrodisias. (c.175-225). On Aristotle on Coming to Be and Perishing 2.2-5. A&C Black, 2014.