Tag Archives: arbitrary

Nonfiction: About Humans and Meaning

Humans and meaning: how once we became conscious, we also were self-conscious, and once you’re aware of things, with consciousness, you can also start asking things (does all asking imply absence?  Observation is presence, what’s here around you — but asking “why am I here?” implies or rests on a concept of you not being here, and you can only imagine not-being, you can’t experience it, of course). And once you ask, “why am I here,” it doesn’t take you long to say, there isn’t any reason — other people die and the world goes on without them. Dogs don’t ask why they’re here. They simply accept it, live within it, but once you can ask, you need to answer, and there is no answer. The only thing that can satisfy a consciousness is an immaterial (word) answer, or maybe an experience (I don’t want to discount intuition too much, but what consciousness’s development did is precisely separate us from our intuition — or did it create intuition, too?)  We need some answer, some meaning; we need to feel our lives are meaningful so we have a purpose.  Dying is, essentially, meaningless. It’s a physical act and physical acts, objects, everything in the physical realm has no inherent meaning. They just happen.

And yet, the craving for meaning opened up by the development of consciousness, of the spark of conscious awareness, that cannot be found in the physical realm. Stories, symbols, meaning — these things never die, but then they never live. Adhering to/accepting one meaning or another is arbitrary. There is no single meaning/interpretation that is necessary for any physical thing or act.  My life doesn’t mean any one thing. But somehow the quest/search for meaning seems inherent to consciousness.

Since there’s no necessary interpretation, all interpretations of or about the world are not necessary, are arbitrary, can be consciously chosen/accepted or rejected, and so, you are free to choose interpretations that seem good to you, choose theories  (in daily life but also in any realm) that seem to work, seem to produce results. One can choose positive interpretations (or stories) instead of negative.

— Mh, 7 November 2005