Though this computer I look at moves, lights up, and calculates it certainly doesn't have life.
I think when Jesus talks about us being dead in spirit, I assume he means we may be moving and calculating things, but we don't have life, life in His terms.
I think when we are dead in sin we start making everything a list of rules and calculations like a computer: CD goes in here and this is what you need to do in order for you to run smoothly. We are living off formulas which even depress us more because we realize it's harder than we think. I know I have come up with do's and don'ts in my own life and in the end I started applying them to everyone else and trying to force that list on others.
I think the Pharisees are a good example of this, they thought the key to life is following rules, when really the key to real life is following God/Jesus. They've bickered at Jesus and His disciples for not washing their hands, for healing on the Sabbath, for a lot of other things. But basically we need to be listening to the God of Love for how to treat this person.
I remembered at a car wash I worked at I was told to say 'hi' to anyone that came within 10 feet of me. I was asked to treat people with a formula and not to just handle the situation with love. Us Christians fall into the rut of treating people as a formula or project. We sometimes think that if we haven't mentioned our Christianity or faith with someone within the first week that we are doing something wrong.
I think God wants us to eventually see people as He sees them. That is why we need to love Him first so we know how He sees us and usually once we learn how He sees us, we relay that to others.
In John 3, Jesus explains the term born again as, "nobody knows where the wind will blow, this way or that way, just like those that are born again". It's a confusing verse, to me at least, but I think in the end He is talking about us dying to the law, dying to formulas, and being re-birthed in Love.
That is what I have been learning.