Thursday, May 14, 2009

so, why does 'meaning' matter anyway?

Most everyone lives out of, into, against and in favor of what they think things "mean".

"You looked at me 'funny', so I didn't talk to you...." A almost silly example of how we assign 'meaning' to something and then live as if the 'meaning' we made up in language were 'the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.' A gnat flew in her eye...she had a sudden pain in a tooth, the light confused her...that's 'just the way' her face looks and 'looking funny' becomes an interpretation of 'what happened' that we consider to be 'the truth', rather than an interpretation we made.

Carl Sagan, the scientist, was giving a lecture and at the Q/A session a little old lady stood up and said, "Dr Sagan, you can go on and on about the cosmos, but I know that the earth rests on the back of an enormous turtle."

The Professor replied, "And what does that turtle rest upon?"

"An even more enormous turtle," the woman cried out.

"And that one, the more enormous turtle, what does it rest upon?" Sagan asked.

"Don't quibble with me," she said, "You know it's 'turtles all the way down'!"

For we human beings, it is INTERPRETATION "all the way down". Meaning is what we say it is, never mind the evidence or objective reality of stuff.

The reason "Meaning" matters is that we 'MAKE IT UP" and name it and pretend that what we said about it means it is 'turtles all the way down'.

That's more comfortable than living in a universe where 'what happens' is 'meaningless'. So we declare the 'meaning' and live as if that is what's so about the matter. Problem is, it is only what 'we said' about it and others will 'say' different things about it.

A breakthrough of monumental importance would be if we could all take a deep breath and step back and realize that 'what happens' is only, always, exactly 'what happens', devoid of 'meaning' and recognize that what we say it 'means' is really ONLY what we said and not the Truth.

More about this later, if you can stand it and suffer through the languaging of it all.


Ponder that under your own little Castor Oil Tree--LANGUAGE IS ALL....What if that is so? What choices and possibilities does knowing that give us that we didn't have before when we thought 'what we said about it' was 'the Truth'? Too obscure yet? Just wait....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.