OK, where are our aphorisms? Dale set up a page SPECIAL for you. You’re falling down on the job. I want to be challenged, provoked, and prodded toward an altogether more thorough investigation into the MEANING OF LIFE.
Don’t say 42.
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I’ve got to comb through our blogging product (wearing latex gloves and a face mask) from a time before our official chartering on up to the present and collect the nuggets–yours, mine, everyone’s, even Dale’s–then catalog, etc. Daunting task. Let me say, in true Lichtenbergian style: be assured, I’ll get to it.
That sounded sincere to me. I’m good.
There is no Meaning to Life.
Meaning is all there is in Life.
Life is about experience, but we can pretend to have meaning.
Well, yeah. My position has always been, when faced with the “no meaning” shibboleth, is to think, “I’ll take constructed meaning for the win, Alex.” Very little opportunity for crisis of faith when you know that the meaning of your life is one that you’ve invented.
I must agree with Terry. Searching for (or even constructing) meaning gets in the way of seeing, hearing breathing, living.
“While Eeyore frets, and Piglet hesitates, and Rabbit calculates, and Owl pontificates, Pooh just is.”
from the Quote Rotator:
Let us not forget that the child spends a great deal of time formulating and collecting meanings. Usually we indulge them, don’t we? We attempt to supply meanings when they ask for them. Should we say, “Foolish child, don’t waste your time collecting meanings. Just be. Life is precious.”? The child will probably take that one in and still want to know what we mean by it. Usually when a child does not seem interested in meanings and seems to prefer just to be, we the parents get concerned. We might fear a learning disability or autism.
Is the above an example of equivocation? “I don’t mean ‘meaning;’ I mean ‘meaning…'” In such instances, thank goodness we have recourse to capitalization. “Not meaning; Meaning.”
In psychoanalytic practice, you assume the subject is constantly equivocating. In fact, it is often useful to point out possible instances of equivocation in order to provoke the unlocking of new material. The subject does not assemble meanings through logically consistent channels. “Mommy and Daddy weren’t fighting, sweetie, we were just playing. Wrestling.”
In a world of science and computer bits and bytes, a scattered world of multicultural chaos, the meaning of “meaning” that implies an engagement, an attach-ment, an identification, and a comparison is now, as he put it, “like the carapace of a crayfish or cocoon of a butterfly that has been cracked, sloughed off and left behind” [Flight 130]. Today, religious signification is semiotic and paratactic, functioning, as Campbell said, like a bow. “The bow, in order to function as a bow and not as a snare, must have no meaning whatsoever in itself…beyond that of being an agent for disengagement from itself” . If religious and mythic discourse is thought to “mean” something, it serves for engagement of energy and consciousness to itself, and can become the religious and theological basis for mean-spiritedness and, in extreme cases, terrorism. More appropriate to a future world order, would be to see such discourse as mythic, pointing to the unknown and the unknowable, such that foreclosure of signigication is withdrawn, so that, like a bow, it can send the arrow forth from itself. In this view, as Campbell said: “The world, the entire universe, its god and all, has become a symbol without meaning…. Our meaning is now the meaning that is no meaning; for no fixed term of reference can be drawn” . Or, as Campbell told Moyers thirty years later: “People say that what we’re all seeking is meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive” [Power 5f]. “What,” Campbell asked Moyers, “is the meaning of a flower, and having no meaning should the flower then not be?” “There’s no meaning. What’s the meaning of the universe? What’s the meaning of a flea? It’s just there. That’s it”
This is, of course, radical in the extreme … as radical as Angelus Silesius’ “rose that is without why,” or the Zen master’s one-hand thunder-clap, or Meister Eckhart’s prayer to God that he may be rid of “God.”
–“Comparativism in a World of Difference”: The Legacy of Joseph Campbell to the Postmodern History of Religions, a presentation given by David Miller at the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago (1994).
If meaning is the wound, paradox is the tourniquet.