The Nature of Meaning
How do we arrive at meaning? What drives it?
“Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.” — Joseph Campbell
Life has meaning for those who question its purpose.
And meaning is found within the human mind... with which most of us are well equipped. Within the cerebral cortex and its relationship with the older lizard and mammal brains lies human perception.
Human perception is the foundation of meaning.
Our perception consists of the picture we form from our various senses combined with prior experience. The sensory signals of the former meld with our beliefs about what is possible from the latter in a sort of probabilistic inference engine. This perception of ourselves and the world around us is highly dynamic and nearly limitless in its possibilities.
Perception remains when all is lost.
Imagine being stripped of all worldly possessions, identity and dignity. We are still free with regard to perception and how we react. And what begins as perception proceeds as action.
Each action adds to experience and alters perception.
We explore the world around us.
We make mistakes.
We ask questions.
And in so doing, we understand.
So it should come as no surprise... We find meaning in Life by first living it.
Perception drives action.
Action drives experience.
Experience alters perception.
Around and around we go... in one glorious cycle of Life. Even as we discover meaning, it is altered with each iteration.
And such is the nature of meaning.
🤔 Food for Thought:
How has your experience shaped perception of self and the world?
Do you find the change wrought by experience frustrating or enlightening?
How do you feel about meaning changing ever so slightly with every new experience?
⚙️ One Small Step:
Reflect on your latest experience. How does it change your perception of self? How does it change your perception of the world? How does this newly altered perception then influence your next act?