## Where does meaning come from?

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### Re: Where does meaning come from?

Here is a thought experiment(I am too lazy to offer an hypothesis):

I want to imagine a new universe called "chaos" - "chaos" is full of triangles and all of the triangles combined is objectivity - so objectivity in this universe is all of the triangles that "chaos" contains which is infinity. This universe is a type of field that only contains blank triangles.

Now subjectivity is "magically" seeded - we are not going to care about the details. Subjectivity turns a blank triangle into a black triangle to form veins of subjectivity throughout this infinite universe called "chaos".

Now lets imagine the triangle and lets refer to the points as atoms instead.

Where:
q = question
m = meaning

(a,q,m)

This triangle allows all three atoms to connect to each other and by placing other triangles in connection to the original triangle a more defined being of triangle takes places.

Now if we change the question and answer parts to other "things" that give meaning we can eventually connect all meaning.

We start out with all the triangles at once(a big triangle universe) and get some sort of arrangement that resembles veins moving through the chaos and it is these veins that connect meaning in all its forms. Entropy then is when all the blank triangles become black. Once all the triangles become black the very next cycle they all become blank again. The transition between all black and all blank we call death or recycling.

Now I am imagining a "bigger universe" that has infinite copies of the aforementioned universe and its name is "meta". So "meta" contains infinite copies of "chaos" and each chaos is a being of sorts. When one "chaos" correlates in any way to another "chaos" we end up with what we call "defined objectivity".

That is my mental lapse of reason for today.

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### Re: Where does meaning come from?

gib

To say that we invent meaning is to say that the start dust invents meaning if that is where we are from - then even the star dust is from somewhere of something. Elements - what are they but those things that are stable under certain mathematical laws - to change the laws might even change the elements.

gib wrote:How much do you think we can generalize this, encode? Would it be fair to say the Big Bang invents meaning?

Good question. Generalizing this is a big question gib. It is easier to work out the most fundamental laws but to start generalizing at the more abstract level which is in fact what we are is to enter a new realm all together as we are so complex - I do know that each mental effect, affects the next and continues to, based on the strength of its network. The big bang being the theory that it is, uncovers something interesting, which is, a beginning - stardust need not have a beginning but it seems as though we do - we can emerge from a universe that has been here for ever as much as one that came from a big bang - either way, you and I emerge in physical form with certainty and that form is a configured state of the same thing - fundamental substance.

gib wrote:And at what point do we introduce intention? Would intention come before the apprehension of meaning or after?

Intentions . . . the baby's intention is to survive even though it may not be aware of that. We introduce intention before awareness. Before the apprehension of meaning. I do think if the laws change then the questions change too . . . Perhaps intention is a law not unlike gravity mathematics.

The answer to, how much I think we can generalize this, was there before I answered the question - if I even answered it that is. If not, what kind of questions we ask to get at the answer becomes all important.

encode_decode
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### Re: Where does meaning come from?

So do you see the problem of meaning as reducible to the problem of first personhood? The usual assumption is that there was no "first person" at the moment of the Big Bang. I think most people assume there was no "first person" after the first round of super novas in the universe either (so star dust pre-dates persons). The question really is: when did third personhood (which we assume is the state of all unconscious inanimate matter) give rise to first personhood--and how?

Meaning is quintessentially an apprehended phenomenon--it requires some form of mental process, a consciousness, in order to exist (don't talk to the externalist).

As for the question of intention--does it precede for succeed meaning (or the apprehension thereof)?--I would say you're right that intention comes first when it comes to cogitated meaning--that is, meaning apprehending in thought. But then you can ask: if the simple fact of experiencing can be said to imply meaning (for example, in the way that sensory experience is said to imply sensory information (i.e. meaning) being conveyed to consciousness), then meaning must come first, for only upon experiencing can one then intend things.
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### Re: Where does meaning come from?

gib

OK, I have been very busy but I have been still checking in on this thread from time to time trying to come up with an answer...
- the following is the best I have for now.

gib wrote:So do you see the problem of meaning as reducible to the problem of first personhood? The usual assumption is that there was no "first person" at the moment of the Big Bang. I think most people assume there was no "first person" after the first round of super novas in the universe either (so star dust pre-dates persons). The question really is: when did third personhood (which we assume is the state of all unconscious inanimate matter) give rise to first personhood--and how?

I think the main reason we reduce it to first personhood is because we are unable to leave our own mind behind. Imagine for a moment though that we can - what is that moment like? Are we caught between a question and answer? Or are we caught at a pivotal moment where meaning comes into being?

gib wrote:Meaning is quintessentially an apprehended phenomenon--it requires some form of mental process, a consciousness, in order to exist (don't talk to the externalist).

But is it really? I do not necessarily disagree with anything you are saying, I am just trying to provide more substance beyond the apprehended phenomenon.

gib wrote:As for the question of intention--does it precede for succeed meaning (or the apprehension thereof)?--I would say you're right that intention comes first when it comes to cogitated meaning--that is, meaning apprehending in thought. But then you can ask: if the simple fact of experiencing can be said to imply meaning (for example, in the way that sensory experience is said to imply sensory information (i.e. meaning) being conveyed to consciousness), then meaning must come first, for only upon experiencing can one then intend things.

Where does the first intention come from though? Is it taught to us or is it instinctual? I still think somehow meaning is being produced through analogy.

Either way I am still very interested in what you are saying gib . . .

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### Re: Where does meaning come from?

I would say sensory experience automatically contains sensory information where such information is a response to the experience
And it does not have to be meaning in any abstract sense but just a practical one such as wanting to eat when hungry for example
A MIND IS LIKE A PARACHUTE : IT DOES NOT WORK UNLESS IT IS OPEN
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### Re: Where does meaning come from?

encode_decode wrote:I think the main reason we reduce it to first personhood is because we are unable to leave our own mind behind. Imagine for a moment though that we can - what is that moment like? Are we caught between a question and answer? Or are we caught at a pivotal moment where meaning comes into being?

If you mean that there can be answers to questions without the infrastructure of human thought, that would be a form of externalism. Most externalists I've read would say that meaning can have an objective existence independent of human thought or experience. An example would be writing on a stone tablet. To human readers, the tablet obviously has meaning. But the externalists say that even if mankind died and all intelligent life ceased to exist, the meaning would remain insofar as the tablet remains.

Now, what you're saying might be somewhat different (I sense you think of meaning as more abstract than writing on stone tablets), but I gather you believe there are answers to questions, answers that are "out there"--as in: the answer to "what's 2 + 2?" would still be "4" even if mankind died and all intelligent life ceased to exist. Is that right?

encode_decode wrote:But is it really? I do not necessarily disagree with anything you are saying, I am just trying to provide more substance beyond the apprehended phenomenon.

Meaning as having an independent existence to consciousness and experience?

encode_decode wrote:Where does the first intention come from though? Is it taught to us or is it instinctual? I still think somehow meaning is being produced through analogy.

I think intention is a product of meaning. Imagine that you have two experiences: seeing food and pangs of hunger. These two experiences come with meaning: "there is food there" and "I'm hungry". Together, these two meanings entail the following conclusion: "I should eat the food." (not that's it's always a formal logical process like this). That conclusion counts as an intention.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu

gib
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### Small difficulties to ponder . . . gib

The difficulties are what I think are the cutting edge - we have been here before as a race many times in history and now perhaps we are getting very abstract. Things can only be said with an arbitrary degree and some things work better than others - I also think most things that work better than others if not all are hiding necessary truths to a fuller understanding of what they encompass - here we are mister philosopher - doing this cyclic thing.

gib wrote:
encode_decode wrote:I think the main reason we reduce it to first personhood is because we are unable to leave our own mind behind. Imagine for a moment though that we can - what is that moment like? Are we caught between a question and answer? Or are we caught at a pivotal moment where meaning comes into being?

If you mean that there can be answers to questions without the infrastructure of human thought, that would be a form of externalism. Most externalists I've read would say that meaning can have an objective existence independent of human thought or experience. An example would be writing on a stone tablet. To human readers, the tablet obviously has meaning. But the externalists say that even if mankind died and all intelligent life ceased to exist, the meaning would remain insofar as the tablet remains.

Hmm, I see your point - I only wanted to imagine it for a moment as things can function independent of people. Imagine that we can leave our mind behind - my words are permissive enough to allow for it - we could write many things that we would consider impossible but yet the words can be written for the imagination to make it possible based on a nonsensical but somewhat interesting scenario. What is that moment like - the moment that meaning springs forth - is it some pivotal moment.

Difficult to harness - let us come back to what we mostly know - we are centered around our own existence - but what does that mean?

gib wrote:Now, what you're saying might be somewhat different (I sense you think of meaning as more abstract than writing on stone tablets), but I gather you believe there are answers to questions, answers that are "out there"--as in: the answer to "what's 2 + 2?" would still be "4" even if mankind died and all intelligent life ceased to exist. Is that right?

You are correct - your sense is accurate and low and behold you are one of the very few people to pick up on it. I am indeed being abstract and allowing for meaning to be abstract too - what if it is the case that meaning functions independently of us - as with some many questions there are answers more probable than others but they all have probability.

Answers are obviously there before the questions are asked or the questions would be impossible to answer - argue that with some people and you end up in a death spiral of human arrogance focused again around itself - should we think that we are special compared to anything else?

Leaving behind my riddle of words and letting their impact travel in our wake we can return to regular viewing - the hall of mirrors we call life.

Still meaning is necessary to understanding mind and yes it plays its part whether external or internal I am confined to the internal questioning the external.

And always thinking on these little sidetracks for an awakening. We can calculate and calculation may lead to meaning and it may not but I am guessing it does.

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### Re: Where does meaning come from?

surreptitious75 wrote:I would say sensory experience automatically contains sensory information where such information is a response to the experience
And it does not have to be meaning in any abstract sense but just a practical one such as wanting to eat when hungry for example

That is pretty deep man . . . even radical . . . I want some of what you have been smoking - lol - kidding - I don't do drugs. I agree that sensory experience automatically contains sensory information - I would contest what that would be. It as you say is not mandatory that it contain meaning but I do say that it contains, similar calculations, that meaning would based on a calculation of meaning - yes this is possible - I forget the name of the algebra right now but I will post it if it comes to mind.

Wanting to eat means one is hungry - this is an example of meaning being external. Or not?

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### Re: Where does meaning come from?

I am wondering whether this conversation has finished or not.

I am not sure how much further we can take it but go over a few of the finer points that we have skipped.

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### Re: Where does meaning come from?

encode_decode wrote:The difficulties are what I think are the cutting edge - we have been here before as a race many times in history and now perhaps we are getting very abstract. Things can only be said with an arbitrary degree and some things work better than others You mean in the world of the abstract? - I also think most things that work better than others if not all are hiding necessary truths to a fuller understanding of what they encompass So if we could figure out these abstractions, we'd get deeper truths? - here we are mister philosopher - doing this cyclic thing.

I like to think of it as a tightly coiled helix. We seem to be going 'round in circles, but we're slowly making our way up.

encode_decode wrote:Hmm, I see your point - I only wanted to imagine it for a moment as things can function independent of people. Imagine that we can leave our mind behind - my words are permissive enough to allow for it - we could write many things that we would consider impossible but yet the words can be written for the imagination to make it possible based on a nonsensical but somewhat interesting scenario. Like Einstein riding a beam of light? What is that moment like - the moment that meaning springs forth - is it some pivotal moment.

So you mean: what is that moment like when we discover a deeper truth to life and existence (through science, divine revelation, mundane life experiences, or whatever), a truth that we would have thought impossible or inconceivable a while back?

encode_decode wrote:Difficult to harness - let us come back to what we mostly know - we are centered around our own existence - but what does that mean?

Meaning isn't always profound. If we find ourselves wanting for the deeper meaning of life and existence, we can always fall back on the simple meaning that's right in front of us. What does my existence mean? Well, right now, it means I'm sitting on my bed typing at my computer, responding to encode. Not incredibly deep, I know, but obvious.

encode_decode wrote:what if it is the case that meaning functions independently of us

I believe it does. If there is some meaning you apprehend but I don't, that meaning functions independently of me. But I even think meaning functions independently of all of us, just not without a mind or consciousness. As a pantheist, mind is everywhere--every physical action comes with a subjective experience (or so I'll argue)--and I define all subjective experience as 1) quality, 2) being, and 3) meaning. <-- There's meaning, in everything... or so I'll argue.

encode_decode wrote:Answers are obviously there before the questions are asked or the questions would be impossible to answer - argue that with some people and you end up in a death spiral of human arrogance focused again around itself - should we think that we are special compared to anything else?

Leaving behind my riddle of words and letting their impact travel in our wake we can return to regular viewing - the hall of mirrors we call life.

I'm not sure which is more dizzying.

Still meaning is necessary to understanding mind and yes it plays its part whether external or internal I am confined to the internal questioning the external.

And always thinking on these little sidetracks for an awakening. We can calculate and calculation may lead to meaning and it may not but I am guessing it does.

Well, sure it does. These calculations are already meaningful. They just need to get churned through properly such as to entail further (or greater?) meaning.

Encode, the way you're describing your search for meaning makes me wonder whether you look for deep meaning or simple/surface meaning. Sometimes asking about the meaning of life is like asking about the meaning of a book. There's no question that books are meaningful. Read the first sentence and ask yourself what it means. So longs as it's not too cryptic, the meaning is right there on the surface. But this is not what people are asking. They're asking if the book has some kind of deep underlying meaning that isn't so obvious from a first read. But the point remains that you can't get at that meaning before grasping the surface meaning, which is to say there is always meaning. It's just a question of how deep you need to go before you're satisfied.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu

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### Re: Where does meaning come from?

gib wrote:I like to think of it as a tightly coiled helix. We seem to be going 'round in circles, but we're slowly making our way up.

Yes, gib, you are making a good analogy and meaning is self-referential for that matter but it is splayed, dispersed and yet integrated with every other meaning to make a conglomerate of meaning consisting of separate parts acting as a whole - meaning is like veins pumping blood in that it is heterogeneous with many different cells purposing for the whole organism.

gib wrote:So you mean: what is that moment like when we discover a deeper truth to life and existence (through science, divine revelation, mundane life experiences, or whatever), a truth that we would have thought impossible or inconceivable a while back?

Yes because this is meanings outer shell and it is the outer shell that the veins help to maintain, to give form and purpose - I am this shape because.

gib wrote:Meaning isn't always profound. If we find ourselves wanting for the deeper meaning of life and existence, we can always fall back on the simple meaning that's right in front of us. What does my existence mean? Well, right now, it means I'm sitting on my bed typing at my computer, responding to encode. Not incredibly deep, I know, but obvious.

I hope you read this, what you have written that I have quoted again - very elegant and powerful words - I will let them be.

What if it is the case that meaning functions independently of us?

gib wrote:I believe it does. If there is some meaning you apprehend but I don't, that meaning functions independently of me. But I even think meaning functions independently of all of us, just not without a mind or consciousness. As a pantheist, mind is everywhere--every physical action comes with a subjective experience (or so I'll argue)--and I define all subjective experience as 1) quality, 2) being, and 3) meaning. <-- There's meaning, in everything... or so I'll argue.

This is exactly the point I am trying to make and it works with emotions too - it is this external meaning that I am studying. What constitutes this consciousness? A god perhaps? Are you really a pantheist? Mind it seems is everywhere but obviously not just in human form. Whether this mind is aware of us we should first consider whether we are like red and white blood cells within the body of the universe - we know we are there but does the universe directly perceive us. Language and in turn communication in the body is achieved through chemical transmission and the immune system can mobilize. We can mobilize and the universe is so vast that it may not feel its own wounds directly. I could well be wrong here but I feel it necessary to acknowledge the awe inspiring size of existence.

Well, sure it does. These calculations are already meaningful. They just need to get churned through properly such as to entail further (or greater?) meaning.
Meaning is constantly being cycled . . .
Encode, the way you're describing your search for meaning makes me wonder whether you look for deep meaning or simple/surface meaning. Sometimes asking about the meaning of life is like asking about the meaning of a book. There's no question that books are meaningful. Read the first sentence and ask yourself what it means. So longs as it's not too cryptic, the meaning is right there on the surface. But this is not what people are asking. They're asking if the book has some kind of deep underlying meaning that isn't so obvious from a first read. But the point remains that you can't get at that meaning before grasping the surface meaning, which is to say there is always meaning. It's just a question of how deep you need to go before you're satisfied.

I am looking for things that I can calculate - I have an idea that these things are heterogeneous - meaning is made up of many smaller meanings and is itself a part of a universal conglomerate meaning. Without contrast the larger meaning has no substance and yet its contrast is contained within itself. Therefore atomic meanings are in contrast with the greater whole and must remain that way or meaning is lost.

I hope that you do not mind me, quoting you in my signature.

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### Re: Where does meaning come from?

encode_decode wrote:Yes, gib, you are making a good analogy and meaning is self-referential for that matter but it is splayed, dispersed and yet integrated with every other meaning to make a conglomerate of meaning consisting of separate parts acting as a whole - meaning is like veins pumping blood in that it is heterogeneous with many different cells purposing for the whole organism.

The whole vs. the parts--yes, I understand this dilema very well--and it is very complicated (but doable).

First, let me point out how I see this in syllogisms. For example, this...

All X's are Y's.
This is an X.
Therefore, this is a Y.

The logic of this syllogism works because the meaning of the premises collectively leads to the meaning of the conclusion. Yet it can be rephrased as...

All X's are Y's, and this is an X.
Therefore, this is a Y.

...which can be further simplied to...

All X's are Y's, and this is an X, and therefore this is a Y.

Three thoughts translated to two thoughts translated to one thought.

encode_decode wrote:Yes because this is meanings outer shell and it is the outer shell that the veins help to maintain, to give form and purpose - I am this shape because.

But the shape changes when we learn new knowledge and insight, right?

encode_decode wrote:I hope you read this, what you have written that I have quoted again - very elegant and powerful words - I will let them be.

What better way to promote one's self than by a little publicity. Thanks encode for being my publicist!

encode_decode wrote:This is exactly the point I am trying to make and it works with emotions too - it is this external meaning that I am studying. What constitutes this consciousness? A god perhaps? Are you really a pantheist? Mind it seems is everywhere but obviously not just in human form. Whether this mind is aware of us we should first consider whether we are like red and white blood cells within the body of the universe - we know we are there but does the universe directly perceive us. Language and in turn communication in the body is achieved through chemical transmission and the immune system can mobilize. We can mobilize and the universe is so vast that it may not feel its own wounds directly. I could well be wrong here but I feel it necessary to acknowledge the awe inspiring size of existence.

Well, if you've followed my pantheist logic so far, we can begin by saying that wherever a physical action occurs, there is subjective experience. What this means is that whenever we perform an action (even breathing), we have effects on the physical world surrounding us. These physical effects, therefore, must come along with a subjective experience. Not ours, but the universe's. Thus, we can say that at the very least, the universe "feels" us, at least in our local vicinity. What constitutes a "feel" is, first and foremost, a subjective experience characterized by some quality (this is how I define it). But the quality of this "feel" isn't necessarily conceivable to us humans. Nonetheless, one could say that the universe experiences a "disturbance" from us. <-- This is the least we can say. We can go further and suppose that, based on this feel, the universe can identify its source--that the disturbance is experienced as coming from (or being) some third person entity outside itself (this would require making a distinction between "us" and "the rest of the universe" which isn't necessarily innate). But in any case, I think we can say that the universe at least "feels" us. As for knowing about us, that's a bit more complicated. This is why I distinguish between experiential awareness (feeling) and epistemic awareness (knowing). Everything, insofar as it "feels", is experientially aware, but only those systems that experience knowledge can be said to be epistemically aware. In order to say that the universe is epistemically aware of us--that is, the universe knows about us, or at least knows about the disturbances it feels that come from us--it would have to be established that these disturbances, these "feels", lead to knowledge. Knowledge is just a special kind of experience (a special kind of feel) defined by a particular kind of quality. The quality of the experience of knowledge is, at least, cognitive. It is the experience of thinking "I am experiencing X" or "X is the case" and to believe it. This doesn't automatically come with any arbitrary experience. Whatever it is that we or the universe experiences, it must first be translated into knowledge before it can be said to be "known". If the physical effects we have on our surroundings can be said not only to come along with some subjective experience (some feel), but that this subjective experiences carries the specific qualitative signature of knowledge, then we can say the universe knows about us, or at least the disturbance (and possibly its source) that we cause. If not, then it still might be possible to say that the universe knows about us but only by way of some indirect physical effect that our more immediate effects on our surroundings have on the wider world (i.e. further along the chain of cause-and-effect). If, at some point on this chain of cause-and-effect that we initiate, the signature of the physical action in question qualifies as that which corresponds to knowledge, and if that knowledge is specifically about the original "feel" that we directly caused (the disturbance), then we can say that the universe knows about us. But I don't take that as a foregone conclusion.

encode_decode wrote:I am looking for things that I can calculate - I have an idea that these things are heterogeneous - meaning is made up of many smaller meanings and is itself a part of a universal conglomerate meaning. Without contrast the larger meaning has no substance and yet its contrast is contained within itself. Therefore atomic meanings are in contrast with the greater whole and must remain that way or meaning is lost.

Well, I've thought long and hard about this very question for years. Keeping in mind that I'm a pantheist who believes that everything experiences, and that experience is underlied by meaning, I can offer you the following insight: when it comes to experience, and therefore meaning, the entire dynamic of "identity" radically changes. To the nihilistic objectivist, a thing can be broken down into its parts (in the way that the whole meaning can be broken down into component meanings) in such a way that we must still say the parts constitute the whole. IOW, the parts and the whole constitute an identity. The atoms that constitute a rock, for example, are said to be identical to the rock itself. But when it comes to experience and meaning, there is an alternative: one can speak of what I call "equivalence" rather than identity. Equivalence is sort of a complicated concept, but let me give you a few examples: if a pixel on a screen is perceived as orange, this may be said to be equivalent (but not identical) to the red, green, and blue hues that the pixel is made of when seen under a microscope. If the average score on a classroom's exam is 82%, this can be said to be equivalent, but not identical, to the whole collection of individual scores of each student's personal mark. If two poems convey the same meaning, each poem can be said to be equivalent, but not identical, insofar as their meanings are concerned. I can say that these are not identical by virtue of the manner in which we experience them: when we see orange on the screen, we do not see red, green, or blue. Focus on the screen as hard as you might, you're not going to find them. Therefore, as a subjectivist, I say that the red, green, and blue that the orange pixel is made of is not identical to the orange I perceive (it's not actually there in the perception--and what is a perception if not that which is perceived), even though it may be identical to the pixel as an external physical object, but as a perception, I see no red, green, or blue when I look at the orange on my screen. But I can still say the red, green, and blue are equivalent to the orange I perceive. Or in another example: the atoms which make the rock may be said to be identical to the rock, but as far as perception goes, I see no atoms in my visual apprehension of the rock. The atoms are identical to the rock as a whole, but my concept of the rock is not identical to my concept of the atoms--when I am thinking of the one, I am not thinking of the other. If you grant that my theory of experience is right (that experience constitutes the foundation of being), then it can be said that equivalence is the determining principle that ties together all states of experience in the universe. That's not to say that identity plays no part, but equivalence, at least for me and my metaphysics, is the more suitable concept for imagining the relation between parts and whole. So, for example, even if we say that the atoms of a rock are identical to the rock as a whole, the experience that the rock is having (a steady buzz I would think) is not identical but equivalent to the experiences that the atoms are collectively having (a flurry of diverse and conflicting experiences). In the end, I define equivalence as the relation between two or more sets of things that are ontologically interchangeable, but not identical, with each other--interchangeable in such a way that there is no fact of the matter which one is real and which one isn't (similar to how 1 = 1/2 + 1/2--well, which is it? 1 or 1/2 + 1/2? Well, it's both, but we can interchange which one we focus on, and there is no fact of the matter which is the real expression and which is only on stand-in). They both have equal claim to existence. So bringing this back to the question of the holistic meaning vs. the collection of individual parts, I would say the parts that we experience at the human level, even when we are able to amass the whole conglomeration at this level (as dizzying a feat as that would be), is equivalent, but not identical, to the universal meaning at the level of the whole. Such an apprehension as that of all the meaning in all the experiences that a human being can have is (assuming it can be exhaustive of all meaning in the universe at this level) interchangeable with that of the universe as a whole, and neither the former or the latter have any entitlement on ontology over the other. They are both equally valid.

encode_decode wrote:I hope that you do not mind me, quoting you in my signature.

Now why would I mind that? I'd be thrilled if you quoted each and every one of my posts! (not that I'm asking )
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu

gib
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### Re: Where does meaning come from?

gib

The changing is all the time because everything in the physical universe is changing all the time.

gib wrote:But the shape changes when we learn new knowledge and insight, right?

I am also saying that meaning's shape is warping all of the time throughout the universe. We are impacted by new knowledge even on a biological level as we have already worked out - the interesting thing to take notice of is that our wisdom is in an up and down motion - for the lucky, mostly up - but there are times when our judgement fails us - yes, even our good judgement - I always recommend to myself not to panic when this happens.

gib wrote:Meaning isn't always profound. If we find ourselves wanting for the deeper meaning of life and existence, we can always fall back on the simple meaning that's right in front of us. What does my existence mean? Well, right now, it means I'm sitting on my bed typing at my computer, responding to encode. Not incredibly deep, I know, but obvious.

Like I said, this stands by itself - and quite solidly.

gib wrote:What better way to promote one's self than by a little publicity. Thanks encode for being my publicist!

You are very welcome gib.

encode_decode
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### Re: Where does meaning come from?

Meaning is a way of attaining understanding about something. It is not knowledge but something more subtle. But unlike knowledge it is not objective so treating it as
if it was is unwise. When looking for meaning therefore the question should be asked from whose perspective? even though the answer is already known as it can only
be from human perspective. Is meaning easier to find if one thinks it exists? And is that because one actually wants it to exist? If so then how does one recognise their
own self delusion and confirmation bias? Why does there have to be meaning in the grand scheme of things anyway? Why cannot there simply be no meaning? Why can
not the things that make some seek meaning such as death not simply be accepted or welcomed rather than feared? So if meaning is subjective then why cannot it be
applied differently? And the answer to that is there is no reason why
A MIND IS LIKE A PARACHUTE : IT DOES NOT WORK UNLESS IT IS OPEN
surreptitious75
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### Re: Where does meaning come from?

As a nihilist [ atheist existentialist is a more accurate descriptor but I prefer nihilist for reasons of brevity ] who sees no objective meaning to the Universe I am very
sceptical of it being applied in such a way. And particularly as the line between objective and subjective becomes quite blurred for those using meaning like this. As
for me such a line is very clearly defined. I am more interested in what is true rather than what I want to be true since I have no say in the latter and so focus more
on the former. But even then one has to try hard not to confuse the two. I say there is no meaning in the grand scheme of things but is this because I think it is true
or is there a part of me that also wants it to be true? There probably is if truth be told but I try to keep such thoughts to a minimum as I have no real need for them
A MIND IS LIKE A PARACHUTE : IT DOES NOT WORK UNLESS IT IS OPEN
surreptitious75
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### Re: Where does meaning come from?

surreptitious75 wrote:Meaning is a way of attaining understanding about something.

Meaning is also definition and interpretation of words, concepts and actions. Everything that exists is acting in that it behaves in a specific way. The specific way I do believe is meaning. This is how I view it anyway.

surreptitious75 wrote:It is not knowledge but something more subtle.

I disagree, I think it is a type of knowledge that is more subtle.

surreptitious75 wrote:But unlike knowledge it is not objective so treating it as if it was is unwise.

Now this is where I believe you are incorrect - not entirely though - as definition, meaning is objective(as in agreed standard) but as interpretation not so much.

surreptitious75 wrote:When looking for meaning therefore the question should be asked from whose perspective? even though the answer is already known as it can only be from human perspective. Is meaning easier to find if one thinks it exists? And is that because one actually wants it to exist? If so then how does one recognise their own self delusion and confirmation bias?

The answer comes before the question otherwise there is not point to the question. Part of knowing is based on belief so you tell me how we are supposed to recognise our own delusions - what I do know is that some things work - I chase after the meaning question because it is working somehow.

surreptitious75 wrote:Why does there have to be meaning in the grand scheme of things anyway? Why cannot there simply be no meaning? Why can not the things that make some seek meaning such as death not simply be accepted or welcomed rather than feared? So if meaning is subjective then why cannot it be applied differently? And the answer to that is there is no reason why

I am not god(by anyone's definition, from my point of view) so I am not sure why we seek out meaning - I know why I do - because it works - it gives us a language as to help us store our knowledge. Death would void meaning.

Why is there no reason why?

encode_decode
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### Re: Where does meaning come from?

gib wrote:Well, if you've followed my pantheist logic so far, we can begin by saying that wherever a physical action occurs, there is subjective experience. What this means is that whenever we perform an action (even breathing), we have effects on the physical world surrounding us. These physical effects, therefore, must come along with a subjective experience. Not ours, but the universe's. Thus, we can say that at the very least, the universe "feels" us, at least in our local vicinity. What constitutes a "feel" is, first and foremost, a subjective experience characterized by some quality (this is how I define it).

I must admit I have not been following it as pantheist logic. Obviously it is that and I do see what you mean.

Objective, subjective or whatever else-ive meaning I do not believe is confined to an ism.

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### Re: Where does meaning come from?

Allow me to try a different approach - a psycho-jilted one - go with me on this one gib - respond as best you can.

gib wrote:But the quality of this "feel" isn't necessarily conceivable to us humans. Nonetheless, one could say that the universe experiences a "disturbance" from us. <-- This is the least we can say. We can go further and suppose that, based on this feel, the universe can identify its source--that the disturbance is experienced as coming from (or being) some third person entity outside itself (this would require making a distinction between "us" and "the rest of the universe" which isn't necessarily innate). But in any case, I think we can say that the universe at least "feels" us. As for knowing about us, that's a bit more complicated. This is why I distinguish between experiential awareness (feeling) and epistemic awareness (knowing).

Quality would then become a separate topic. Is disturbance not a quality? I can not distinguish one of my cells from the other - they are too small - the ones flowing through my veins present a particular difficulty. Yet they are built in to me.

I think we can say the universe feels us - from our point of view there is an impression left by us for the universe.

I like the way you distinguish awareness.

gib wrote:Everything, insofar as it "feels", is experientially aware, but only those systems that experience knowledge can be said to be epistemically aware. In order to say that the universe is epistemically aware of us--that is, the universe knows about us, or at least knows about the disturbances it feels that come from us--it would have to be established that these disturbances, these "feels", lead to knowledge. Knowledge is just a special kind of experience (a special kind of feel) defined by a particular kind of quality. The quality of the experience of knowledge is, at least, cognitive.

I am not going to argue the finer points of your argument here.

gib wrote:It is the experience of thinking "I am experiencing X" or "X is the case" and to believe it. This doesn't automatically come with any arbitrary experience. Whatever it is that we or the universe experiences, it must first be translated into knowledge before it can be said to be "known". If the physical effects we have on our surroundings can be said not only to come along with some subjective experience (some feel), but that this subjective experiences carries the specific qualitative signature of knowledge, then we can say the universe knows about us, or at least the disturbance (and possibly its source) that we cause.

Do we experience when we believe? What is knowledge? How are you defining knowledge?

Hmmm

gib wrote:If not, then it still might be possible to say that the universe knows about us but only by way of some indirect physical effect that our more immediate effects on our surroundings have on the wider world (i.e. further along the chain of cause-and-effect). If, at some point on this chain of cause-and-effect that we initiate, the signature of the physical action in question qualifies as that which corresponds to knowledge, and if that knowledge is specifically about the original "feel" that we directly caused (the disturbance), then we can say that the universe knows about us. But I don't take that as a foregone conclusion.

I like this paragraph - it points out one of the most human traits in nearly everyone that dare not think outside the box. Can you see the trait in these words?

To think that there is no meaning - we may as well not do anything.

encode_decode
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### Re: Where does meaning come from?

encode_decode wrote:I must admit I have not been following it as pantheist logic. Obviously it is that and I do see what you mean.

Pantheism might be a bit strong. How 'bout panpsychism.

encode_decode wrote:Objective, subjective or whatever else-ive meaning I do not believe is confined to an ism.

I never thought of it as confined to an ism either--as in meaning makes sense in this-ism but it doesn't in that-ism.

encode_decode wrote:Allow me to try a different approach - a psycho-jilted one - go with me on this one gib - respond as best you can.

Prepared to be psycho-jilted.

encode_decode wrote:Quality would then become a separate topic. It could be. Is disturbance not a quality? You might think of it as a class of qualities. I can not distinguish one of my cells from the other - they are too small - the ones flowing through my veins present a particular difficulty. Yet they are built in to me.

That's a limitation of epistemic awareness.

And "disturbance" is just the best word I could think of. I'd be cautious about running with it--as if to say: there are experiences that count as "disturbances" and there are experiences that don't.

encode_decode wrote:Do we experience when we believe? What is knowledge? How are you defining knowledge?

Knowledge and belief as such aren't experiences--they're more like states or dispositions--in the sense that we can say: Joe knows X even though Joe may not be thinking of X. Similar with belief. But there are states of mind that we do experience in which we can identify the belief or knowledge. When Joe actually is thinking of X, I think we can say he is experiencing his belief/knowledge.

I'm defining knowledge as the ability to say "X is the case" and to believe it (obviously, if you go with the Aristotilean definition, you also need truth and justification).

encode_decode wrote:
gib wrote:If not, then it still might be possible to say that the universe knows about us but only by way of some indirect physical effect that our more immediate effects on our surroundings have on the wider world (i.e. further along the chain of cause-and-effect). If, at some point on this chain of cause-and-effect that we initiate, the signature of the physical action in question qualifies as that which corresponds to knowledge, and if that knowledge is specifically about the original "feel" that we directly caused (the disturbance), then we can say that the universe knows about us. But I don't take that as a foregone conclusion.

I like this paragraph - it points out one of the most human traits in nearly everyone that dare not think outside the box. Can you see the trait in these words?

You mean how I don't take it as a foregone conclusion? Why would I? I have no idea how to identify knowledge in terms of physical actions.

encode_decode wrote:To think that there is no meaning - we may as well not do anything.

Oh, nooo!!! You're a nihilist! Say it ain't so!
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu

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### Re: A combinatorial essay . . .

It ain't so . . .There is no nihilist in me. I believe meaning is everywhere and not because I want it to be so - but because that is what is evident to me in nature. Your response was well formed given the jilted nature of my instigation. I wanted to see how well you would smooth out the bumps. Now I will combine some of our writing and add pieces to it and edit small pieces and you should see a little harmony present. Meaning should be evident

This is an experiment - if you take enough notice you will see that there is a kind of flow that was not there before.

< << <<< Disturbance can be harmony >>> >> >

. . . I must admit I have not been following it as pantheist logic. Obviously it is that and I do see what you mean. Pantheism might be a bit strong. How 'bout panpsychism. Objective, subjective or whatever else-ive, meaning I do not believe is confined to an ism. I have never thought of it as confined to an ism either--as in meaning makes sense in this-ism but it doesn't in that-ism . . .

The quality of a good argument, a good debate and anything agreed upon can be seen as a sort of harmony when comparing the words of the interlocutors. Quality would then become a separate topic. Is disturbance not a quality? You might think of it as a class of qualities. When building a good argument you can see disturbance in it and this I believe is a type of meaning and knowledge. When having a good debate as we stated earlier, both parties are able to express differing points of view, enjoy the debate and still there is harmony in the disturbance - a type of quality involved. When people agree, it is hard to distinguish the outcome from the outcome. Yet when we agree, the previous state of the situation when we didn't agree has been disturbed.

< << <<< Disturbance is a set of qualities >>> >> >

I can not distinguish one of my cells from the other - they are too small - the ones flowing through my veins present a particular difficulty. Yet they are built in to me. That's a limitation of epistemic awareness. And "disturbance" is just the best word I could think of. I'd be cautious about running with it--as if to say: there are experiences that count as "disturbances" and there are experiences that don't. The outcome for each person is different and yet they believe the outcome to be the same - two sets of qualities, experiences and ultimately meaning - one of the sets is disturbance or all of the sets are disturbance if not two of the sets.

< << <<< Disturbance holds meaning >>> >> >

Do we experience when we believe? What is knowledge? How are we defining knowledge?

Knowledge and belief as such aren't experiences--they're more like states or dispositions--in the sense that we can say: Joe knows X even though Joe may not be thinking of X. Similar with belief. But there are states of mind that we do experience in which we can identify the belief or knowledge. When Joe actually is thinking of X, I think we can say he is experiencing his belief/knowledge.

We are defining knowledge as the ability to say "X is the case" and to believe it (obviously, if you go with the Aristotilean definition, you also need truth and justification).

If not, then it still might be possible to say that the universe knows about us but only by way of some indirect physical effect that our more immediate effects on our surroundings have on the wider world (i.e. further along the chain of cause-and-effect). If, at some point on this chain of cause-and-effect that we initiate, the signature of the physical action in question qualifies as that which corresponds to knowledge, and if that knowledge is specifically about the original "feel" that we directly caused (the disturbance), then we can say that the universe knows about us. But I don't take that as a foregone conclusion.

< << <<< Disturbance can be felt and becomes knowledge >>> >> >

This small essay points out one of the "most human traits" in nearly everyone that dare not think outside the box. Can you see the trait in these words? I don't take it as a foregone conclusion? Why would I? I have no idea how to identify knowledge in terms of physical actions. To think that there is no meaning - we may as well not do anything. To think that there is meaning - we may as well do something.

Sophistry, art or neosophi? Let us conclude.

So with our combination have we presented a third point of view? A third set of opinions? A third meaning? A triangle has been formed by existence, the first person and the second person in the form of discussion and a disturbance has been left in the wake - somehow in some sort of harmony, a good or bad set of qualities and holding some sort of meaning to present to us new knowledge and a new slice of wisdom pie.

Oh, nooo!!! You're a nihilist! Say it ain't so!

It ain't so.

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### Re: Where does meaning come from?

I am looking for things that I can calculate and so far I have discovered some patterns to our communication - patterns that show me that at all times there are multiple flows going on even when we think there is only one - I would say that there are thousands of different meanings being employed in a minute - these things are many and component to the conversation - the meaning of the conversation is modular and is made up of many smaller compressed meanings. Meanings are also connected to the outside world and within everything in the outside world there is more meaning. Meaning can be added to and subtracted from and there are other operations that can be performed too.

As per usual our conversation eventually gets out of proportion - isn't it great - I find it stimulating. Pantheist or not, your insight is useful to my, whatever you would label it, kind of philosophy. I know I am not always remaining bounded. Identity does change gib and the components do constitute the whole but then I also think the whole is greater than it looks. Maybe it is the parts and the whole that constitutes a separate identity - an identity that is in contrast to its surrounding.

Hmm, this is an interesting way to think of things - this time I am getting your gist and developing one of my own.

I can understand this >> Objectively speaking we cannot say that people experience color the same way anyway - that is being sensible - there are millions of differences that become significant to each individual - still we can be reductive in our approach to gaining perspective on vision for instance - just not precise. I know a few people here that would love to waste my time arguing this concept but my only response would be to take their argument back to the drawing board because it holds not more validity than my own - likely less. This is objectively speaking.

No two planets are the same - no two birds are ever the same - and so on. Oh but we are people - oh but are we?

This strangely reminds me of the proton conundrum whereby the hydrogen atom's proton is smaller than other protons - how can this be? Not to worry. I would say that equivalence is more like setting standards and I would really like to see you argue me on this - no really I would . . . I think because it would help us uncover something new and I am all about the new. Now the relation part you are mentioning is important to me - obviously - it is how I am basing my contrast for a start. Things are only relative in contrast to other things - in other words they only appear the same but are in fact always different - hard for some to grasp, no doubt, but empirically able to be proven the case. We can only conceptualize reality we can never nail it entirely - we can say that tolerances are changing all of the time and they are relative to our conceptual understanding - there is enough stability for us to work with. I hope I am making sense.

Oh this is very true >> No one atom is having the same experience as its conceptual counterpart. Can we really say that two atoms experience the same state of orbital electrons in any given moment - we would have to look infinitely close for that and that as far as I know is impossible. When we compartmentalize states the rock becomes the shell state and not the collective atomic state. As you say "a flurry of diverse and conflicting experiences" is what the atoms experience but conceptually the rock is only in contrast to its background and the atoms collectively - there might even be a dimension missing here. I would say that the space the atoms collective occupy and the rock occupy are the same and they are the same as what the measurements represent in one instant - so there are a number of equivalence relations going on but they are always relative to our knowledge of them and the meaning we apply to them.

Hmmm, I will leave this as is for now - why I dont know - just a gut feeling.

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### Re: Where does meaning come from?

Perhaps meaning is a critique of the myth of the given. Humans traditionally live in a world which is hostile to them. From this, there is the myth of the given, like the bear who eat a human. But reality is not that fix given, but with Peirce an order of signs. And meaning does represent what is the Fixation in the myth of the given.
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### Re: A combinatorial essay . . .

encode_decode wrote:This is an experiment - if you take enough notice you will see that there is a kind of flow that was not there before.

Encode,

It seems what you are doing here is to interleave your comments with my comments, making them read seamlessly together. This seems to demonstrate that when an exchange unfolds like this where the two parties involved agree with each other, or find it easy to reconcile their difference, you *could* read them as though it were a single individual just writing his or her thoughts. If you were to instead interleave the thoughts of two parties who vehemently disagree, that would be quite a jarring read indeed.

^ How am I doing?

Now, your second post strikes me as an actually response to what I said (you know, in the usual sense of responding to the content). You said:

encode_decode wrote:I am looking for things that I can calculate and so far I have discovered some patterns to our communication - patterns that show me that at all times there are multiple flows going on even when we think there is only one And those I presume would amount to at least two flows--yours and mine? - I would say that there are thousands of different meanings being employed in a minute So more than just us two. - these things are many and component to the conversation - the meaning of the conversation is modular and is made up of many smaller compressed meanings. Meanings are also connected to the outside world and within everything in the outside world there is more meaning. Meaning can be added to and subtracted from and there are other operations that can be performed too.

Well, if you ask me, meaning is not "atomic"--that is, it can't be broken down into simple indivisible units the way matter can--which is not to say it can't be broken down, but that if it is to be broken down, it is by any arbitrary method that we choose--much like in the way 1 can be divided up into .5 and .5, or .25 + .25 + .25 + .25, or .1 + .9, or 8-9+2. There are no "atoms" of meaning, in other words, but meaning isn't indivisible either. It's more like the idea of matter that some of the ancient Greeks held, the ones opposite to Democritus and his theory of the atom, that said that matter is infinitely divisible. But for me, this idea must be accompanied by my concept of equivalence (if you're gonna invent the atoms of meaning as you see fit, you can't very well rely on identity). So if you find the meaning to something, and you divide that into smaller "component" meanings, those components, even collectively, may only be equivalent to the original meaning, not identical.

encode_decode wrote:As per usual our conversation eventually gets out of proportion - isn't it great I wouldn't have it any other way. - I find it stimulating. Pantheist or not, your insight is useful to my, whatever you would label it, kind of philosophy. Happy to be of service! I know I am not always remaining bounded. Good! Identity does change gib and the components do constitute the whole but then I also think the whole is greater than it looks. Yes, things change. Maybe it is the parts and the whole that constitutes a separate identity - an identity that is in contrast to its surrounding.

Well, I think this is just how the human brain works: it identifies objects based on the collection of its parts (based on the conglomeration of its features and components). After having identified that collection, it gives it an identity over and above the full collection of components--so yes, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts--and this whole is defined by its its boundaries, which, as you said, allows it to contrast with its surroundings.

encode_decode wrote:Hmm, this is an interesting way to think of things - this time I am getting your gist and developing one of my own.

That's always a blessing--when I can share my thoughts with someone and inspire new ideas in them--they don't have to "get it" but if I can influence them, make them think of things they never thought of before, then I'm happy.

I can understand this >> Objectively speaking we cannot say that people experience color the same way anyway I wouldn't think so. - that is being sensible - there are millions of differences that become significant to each individual - still we can be reductive in our approach to gaining perspective on vision for instance - just not precise. I know a few people here that would love to waste my time arguing this concept but my only response would be to take their argument back to the drawing board because it holds not more validity than my own - likely less. This is objectively speaking.

No two planets are the same - no two birds are ever the same - and so on. Oh but we are people - oh but are we?

Can we be so different that we cease to be people? I think in this case, we might want to take a genetic/ancestral approach--not people because of what we are but because of where we came from.

This strangely reminds me of the proton conundrum whereby the hydrogen atom's proton is smaller than other protons It is?!?! - how can this be? Don' know! Not to worry. I would say that equivalence is more like setting standards and I would really like to see you argue me on this - no really I would . . . Ok, I would say equivalence is what must replace identity in a world of pure information and meaning, not objects I think because it would help us uncover something new and I am all about the new. Be my guest. Now the relation part you are mentioning is important to me - obviously - it is how I am basing my contrast for a start. Things are only relative in contrast to other things - in other words they only appear the same but are in fact always different Different in different frames of reference, you mean. - hard for some to grasp, no doubt, but empirically able to be proven the case. We can only conceptualize reality we can never nail it entirely - we can say that tolerances are changing all of the time and they are relative to our conceptual understanding - there is enough stability for us to work with. I hope I am making sense.

Oh this is very true >> No one atom is having the same experience as its conceptual counterpart. Can we really say that two atoms experience the same state of orbital electrons in any given moment To the extent that we can say two people are having the same experience because they both have brains--but as you pointed out above, no two people are exactly the same. - we would have to look infinitely close for that and that as far as I know is impossible. When we compartmentalize states the rock becomes the shell state and not the collective atomic state. As you say "a flurry of diverse and conflicting experiences" is what the atoms experience but conceptually the rock is only in contrast to its background and the atoms collectively - there might even be a dimension missing here. Well, this is where equivalence comes in. The flurry of diverse and conflicting experiences, even across all atoms, need not be the same as that had by the rock (a "steady buzz" as I usually speculate), but as wildly different as they may be, they are equivalent. I would say that the space the atoms collective occupy and the rock occupy are the same and they are the same as what the measurements represent in one instant Yes, space and measurement are scientific concepts--they make sense in an objective external context, a context in which we find objects. - so there are a number of equivalence relations going on but they are always relative to our knowledge of them and the meaning we apply to them.

Absolutely, we project everything, even objectivity and the external world.

Hmmm, I will leave this as is for now - why I dont know - just a gut feeling.

You are a brilliant writer, encode, with penetrating insight. You are one of those thinkers that leave people like me with much to think about. Thank you for that.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu

gib
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### Re: Where does meaning come from?

gib

gib wrote:It seems what you are doing here is to interleave your comments with my comments, making them read seamlessly together. This seems to demonstrate that when an exchange unfolds like this where the two parties involved agree with each other, or find it easy to reconcile their difference, you *could* read them as though it were a single individual just writing his or her thoughts. If you were to instead interleave the thoughts of two parties who vehemently disagree, that would be quite a jarring read indeed.

^ How am I doing?

Now, your second post strikes me as an actually response to what I said (you know, in the usual sense of responding to the content).

I am so happy that you understand the approaches that I was taking.

I think your response is worth my while putting some thought into, so if you don't mind giving me a few days - I will have something for you then.

Kind regards,

Aaron.

encode_decode
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### Re: Where does meaning come from? Inspired . . .

encode_decode wrote:I guess years ago, our own agenda might have been less than that of the local community's agenda - just a thought. Having not lived that far back, I can not really say but I can say this - spending my high school years in a small community where everybody knew each other, felt very wholesome - what I mean by this, might have little to do with meaning though. I can say that throughout my adult life, there have been times where my high school years felt more meaningful than any arbitrary moment thereafter. Right now I am considering whether nostalgia plays a small part in providing meaning to us.

..so meaning is acquired over the years. from experiences?

Regarding self-survival; I imagine we are talking somewhat above physical survival. Meaning helps to reassure oneself in a confusing world that their own life means something. I wonder what living in a smaller tribe would have been like, whether the residents of that tribe found more meaning in life than we do. The larger the settlement(village, town, city etc.) the less meaningful one feels.

..which may be why city folk start moving out.. to seek a quieter life elsewhere, to gain meaning back into their lives.

When we get to a ripe old age, I can imagine whatever meaning we have gained from life to be high on the list of best company. I have spent many an hour listening to an elderly person speaking of old times - I have received much enjoyment from these precious moments. I ponder whether the meaning might be so important to us that if in the event, we consider that we might not have gotten everything out of life that we were working to achieve, then meaning kicks in to save us from any disappointment we may feel.

..meaning that there is comfort in meaning?

Of course it is difficult for me to ignore what you wrote regarding an input and output connected to a self-serving process, that becomes interrupted - first because I like processes - secondly because I wonder whether the process is actually ever interrupted or whether it is only interrupted on a conscious level. I must say however it certainly feels like meaning is put on hold at times and our desire to get it back increases through these periods.

..running on all cylinders all of the time? sounds very exhausting., especially if you lived in a city centre.

In this post I would like to add to my comment from before, about hope, that despite the things that interrupt our individual searching to find meaning that we are able to hold onto any precious meaning gained :: I will add that if left for too long, the maintenance of self-survival(related to personal meaning), can lead to one truly losing oneself in a ocean of meaninglessness - that is my observation of people - they may indeed have meaning but it seems it does not glow from them like some people - I can just see meaning in some peoples eyes.

Perhaps such types are restricted by capacity? having less of it than others in order to create a more meaningful existence for themselves.. I too have seen and known such types. Samsara, perhaps?

Meaning comes at a price - we invest many years and dollars to make our lives meaningful and before you know it, the world has changed and what we have achieved becomes meaningless, or less impressive to those around us and perhaps even ourselves. Your comment also makes me think about tradition - in that it is quite possible that tradition while may not providing a full meaning to some, is at least a basic asset to building ones own meaning off of. I can assure you that I will be putting more thought into global social-unrest.
I will call this section: When meaning seems lost . . .

You have summed up the current state of the world nicely here... the pressure on the individual is now immense.. shifted from the top down, or has it always been like that and I am only just realising it now? We now have obligations that have nothing to do with our immediate circle or peers, but of everyone.

I have really gained from this interaction. Thank you. I can now consider how meaning drives our personality. How our personality can be watered down or diluted among the social noise of our respective environments - how it is that we become shells of people rather than humanely wholesome. How the "meaning process" is always running in the background and needs to be brought to the foreground periodically for reflection to maintain our conscious awareness of it - how this periodic reflection allows our personal meaning to shine through our personality. Finally, meaning I believe, is strongly attached to communication - our desire to talk/communicate and ask questions.

It should be interesting where all of this takes us . . .

Humans don't flourish well in the wrong or negative environment, but do what they can/must to live some semblance of a meaningful life.
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite

I haven't got the time to spend the time reading something that is telling me nothing, as I will never be able to get back that time, and I may need it for something at some point in time. Wait! What?

--MagsJ

MagsJ
The Londonist

Posts: 19163
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 2:59 pm
Location: London, NC1

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