John Vervaeke on the Meaning Crisis & the Search for Wisdom - Deepstash
John Vervaeke on the Meaning Crisis & the Search for Wisdom


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John Vervaeke on the Meaning Crisis & the Search for Wisdom

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Vervaeke's Definition of Meaning

Meaning has to be understood as a relationship rather than an absolute state. We feel meaning when we are connecting us to ourselves, to others, and to the world. His perspective is deeply influenced by Daoist & Buddhist philosophies. 

We face a meaning crisis when  feel anxious & alienated because we’re stuck in our head, lose the sense of our embodiment. When we feel weak connection with reality (the Dao).


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Participatory Knowing

The modern world has gone wrong with its construal of rationality as the logical manipulation of statements. Rationality is not the only form of knowing. 

"We’ve reduced our understanding of what knowing is to merely the propositional level, and we’ve left out the participatory. We’ve left out all the non-propositional aspects."

The rituals, our sensations, intuitions, our insights, the physical activities and so are representing truth and play a key part in creating meaning. It's why Vervaeke thinks the Zen masters have a more complete epistemological framework than the best Western scientists.


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Meaning in life is the degree to which people feel that connectiveness to themselves, to each other, and to the world that alleviates or ameliorates that anxiety, absurdity, and alienation, so that life is worth it to them…Do you have those kinds of connections enough that you don’t find life overwhelmingly absurd and futile, that you don’t feel yourself overwhelmingly alienated, that you’re not overwhelmingly beset by both psychological or existential anxiety?


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Life-long learner. Passionate about leadership, entrepreneurship, philosophy, Buddhism & SF. Founder @deepstash.


Vervaeke tries to explain meaning to Lex.