Sentience explained

I originally wanted to play with the idea of life and how oppressive it is that humans will never know exactly what it means to be sentient. In my piece, I use the three words, "Am I alive?" and I use the images of a stone, a butterfly, and smoke. The words are intended to highlight the question of life and sentience. The speaker is unknown, which adds an air of mystery. The image of the stone transforms into a butterfly, which is a metaphor for the fact that life springs forth from the absence of life. This raises the question, if life had to come into existence where there was once no life in the universe, then is there really a fundamental difference between living creatures and inanimate objects? After all, the smoke is not "alive" like the butterfly, but the smoke still behaves. The smoke is also metaphor for death, as the butterfly transforms back into abiotic matter.

Then the word "alive" is removed to pose an even more unanswerable question:  “Am I?” This is a reexamination of the phrase, “I think, therefore I am.”  Even though the speaker is able to use introspection, there remains one question.  What does it even mean to exist? Is it something that can be known?