The Meaning Of Meaning

The meaning of life generally means the relevance, significance or value of the same.

The quest for meaning is not a simple one, but a rabbit’s hole of further queries, making the concept of ‘meaning’ confusing even for positive psychologists.

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The question of meaning can be applied both to the individual (Terrestrial) and the world (Cosmic).

  • Terrestrial meaning tries to offer an answer to the question of the meaning of one’s own life.
  • Cosmic meaning delves into life in general, with religious and spiritual dimensions, looking at the macro-view.
  • ‘A’ Meaning is the fluid, ever-present and ongoing mechanisms of cognition, behaviour and life-cycles.
  • ‘The’ Meaning, on the other hand, is concerned with the integrated reference point inside the individual, helping him or her navigate life.

The big picture, or the larger reality consists of ‘big’ meaning but in a subjective way, inside the mind of the individual.

Small meaning is the everyday details that make us experience a moment, like seeing one’s daughter smile.

If the moment is filled with something complete within itself, like a sunset or a flower, then it becomes suchness meaning.

  • Global (or ultimate) meaning talks about the intrinsic meaning of life as it is, and is a functional way of understanding the world around us. It works on the notion that ‘ignorance is bliss’.
  • Situational meaning is more dynamic and can be applied to every moment in our lives, looking at it as a separate, meaningful event.

Living Meaning is the objective view of reality, and is based on our relationship and interpretation towards the object, person or information. It is focused on the thoughts, feelings and actions that are evoked once we see an object or face a situation.

Example: The car in your garage has a living meaning because it influences your life in a certain way by existing.

An interpretation of living meaning is related topersonal meaning, which looks at the personal significance and the unique interpretation of life situations, objects and events that an individual experiences.

Example: Praying at a church or temple has a different, personal meaning for each one of us due to our unique life experiences and circumstances that shape our lives.

Life Activity is the combination of living and personal meaning, which eventually forms belief patterns in an individual, according to the specific set of circumstances, events and situations that are experienced.

The resulting meaning is a combination of objective and subjective meaning, forming a relationship between a phenomenon and subject, while being highly contextual in nature due to the many variables involved.

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