Hi all, I hope everyone is keeping well. Today I wanted to talk about meaning, it’s a funny question to ask, “what is the meaning of meaning?” though it is a rather deep and meaningful one. I’m here looking at what I mean by meaning, iv said before we all need some meaning in our life and that is truth it brings meaning to reality. But what do I mean exactly? I have thought superficially about meaning but to be honest I’m very foggy on what I mean by it, I’m unsure. So, this here blog entry will help me discern what I mean by it and what I understand about meaning. Keep in mind this is me trying to figure out what it means to me personally.
There are different kinds of meaning like the meaning of a word, described as a thing one intends to convey especially in language. In other terms meaning is defined as the end, purpose or significance of something. As well as meaning expressive. In studying the Meaning of Meaning one studies the influence of language on thought and symbolism, it in essence is the study of semantics. So, in the broadest since I think it fair to say meaning is about the significance of something, epically about the significance of ones life and what one does with one’s life. Then truth would be the significant aspects of reality. We talk about the significance and intended conveyance of a word (the semantics) and the truth and significance of something in one’s life or ones whole life.
The Theory of Meaning has been rather disputed and has bee used to mean a great number of different things, falling in to two theories of meaning a semantic theory and a foundational theory. Semantic theory assigns semantic contents to expression and language, foundational theory states the facts in virtue in which expressions have the semantic contents that they have. The differences between the two is described in Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy in analogy as; “To see the distinction between semantic theories and foundational theories of meaning, it may help to consider an analogous one. Imagine an anthropologist specializing in table manners sent out to observe a distant tribe. One task the anthropologist clearly might undertake is to simply describe the table manners of that tribe—to describe the different categories into which members of the tribe place actions at the table, and to say which sorts of actions fall into which categories. This would be analogous to the task of the philosopher of language interested in semantics; her job is say what different sorts of meanings expressions of a given language have, and which expressions have which meanings.
But our anthropologist might also become interested in the nature of manners; he might wonder how, in general, one set of rules of table manners comes to be the system of etiquette governing a particular group. Since presumably the fact that a group obeys one system of etiquette rather than another is traceable to something about that group, the anthropologist might put his new question by asking,
In virtue of what facts about a person or group does that person or group come to be governed by a particular system of etiquette, rather than another?
Our anthropologist would then have embarked upon the analogue of the construction of a foundational theory of meaning: he would then be interested, not in which etiquette-related properties particular action types have in a certain group, but rather the question of how action-types can, in any group, come to acquire properties of this sort. Our anthropologist might well be interested in both sorts of questions about table manners; but they are, pretty clearly, different questions. Just so, semantic theories and foundational theories of meaning are, pretty clearly, different sorts of theories.”
So, it is clear that meaning is a rather difficult thing to understand in terms of giving life meaning or having meaning in one’s life, the difficulty comes in defining what meaning is. Yet for me I think as I have understood it in the second paragraph, as in understanding the different types of meaning works for me. too I think semantic theory and foundational theory both play a pragmatic role. But sill I’m no closer to understanding what meaning is in my own life, that is what gives life meaning. According to many sources relationships give life meaning and purpose, caring for other in particular is said to give life meaning that is to say gives life significance. (I would agree and find this fair.) Love then seems to be significant in all this, love is what gives life meaning its what makes one’s life significant. Without it I think personally that life would be rather empty, void of significance. Work is one thing and plays a big part in everyone’s life but it is why do we work that has holds the meaning– the significance of that work. Some might say we work out of self interest which may be true, and it may be true that not everyone works for the love of others to support one’s family or so on—rather for the love of themselves. So would that make such a person’s life less significant? I don’t think so personally, every life I think is significant– life is the truth. So, I can say at least for myself that work doesn’t give life meaning, rather that which gives meaning to work is why we do it. That is I think for me where meaning in life would come from, yet I have no one to work for. I have no girlfriend, no wife, or children to support—no dog or pet either. This makes me feal a bit empty, a bit void of meaning almost aimless in my life. Yet I still have love, I love my mother and brother for example– too a piece of life is missing my dog whom I loved is now gone. So, it is so that my life is not totally without meaning, it is the drive at least to make my mother proud that wish to succeed in life. So, I am not completely without meaning. I have love and I have the reasonability that brings. So, I guess that is what meaning is to me, the significance in one’s life—the relationships and reasonability.
So, what about truth? How does truth give life meaning? Truth is solid and real; it is reality and we act out the truth. Truth is verifiable and I guess truth would be part of the foundational theory of meaning, truth is in our history it is part of our makeup it shines upon everything every thing we do and in the love we share for each other. It is in the truth we act out– that truth we show each other is in our actions, this is how truth gives life—gives reality meaning it shows us that we are loved—that we are not alone. Which is perhaps as important in a life of meaning that we feel loved in return. Reciprocity, the relationships we have with each other are the truth and that truth gives us meaning. That in turn means responsibility, we have to shoulder the responsibility of truth, love and work. Without that without responsibility a life truly would have no meaning. (Which would be a tragedy.) Meaning can also be found in a religious life, in the love of God. To love God is to have a relationship with God, that is to bare responsibility towards God. This can be a great source of meaning in one’s life, even if one has nothing else in oned life you would always have God.
Life is hard, make no mistake about it. A life without meaning is even harder, it can be hell. You don’t wont that, it can be hell not just for you but for those around you. That is why its import for me to understand meaning, why it is so important to have meaning in one’s life? Why bear the responsibility of having meaning? Its for an individual to bear that meaning, why would one choose it? Because the alternative is nihilism, which is terrifying and destroys. It’s a malevolence. The alternative to truth, respectability and love, the alternative to having meaning in life is to have nothing. No one truly wants that, meaning guides one through life it gives one purpose. Nietzsche said he who has a why can bare any how. I lived a life almost without any meaning, I had thoughts of suicide. I made my families life hard and it nearly destroyed me, the only thing that got me through it was the love had for my dog. Though that wasn’t enough, as I say it nearly destroyed me. This is what a life of meaning can do for someone, it can change a life—it can change a world view. I might wright about what changed things for me in the future, I don’t fully understand it yet. But it was a significant part of life and profoundly changed me.
Anyway, these are just my thoughts on the topic foe what they are, thank you for reading my ramblings. Please comment I’m keen to your thoughts on the topic even if you disagree with me, diversity of opinion is always a good thing. Stay well all.