Life is one of many types of cellular automata.
"Cellular" means that it happens on a grid of cells. In this case, the cells are square.
"Automata" means that it operates automatically once a set of rules are set up.
Those rules are very simple.
There is no singular objective in Life
So create, experiment, and watch what happens.
Life takes places in turn, also called generations. Each turn is based on the state of the cells/squares from the previous turn. Cells may be dark (or live) or light (dead).
Each square is surrounded by eight other squares. Once you know that, then there are only 3 rules that are applied to each square on every turn:
That's it! And while it may not seem like much on the surface, Life is a demonstration of how systems, both complex and orderly, can arise from a simple set of rules. It is, in fact, a remarkably elegant illustration of how our reality came to be. The origins of our world and our species are reflected in this tiny microcosm.