Sunday, June 14, 2009

Embracing the Story of My Life

A switch has been flipped on in my head.

While reading a the book Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief
an idea has captured my attention: 'Meaning implies action'. I could feel something stir within myself as I chewed on that concept.

Many stories can be told about the meaning behind a situation. Relatively few understand that meanings are entirely personal. Religion, Family, Nation, Fan Club, etc., all benefit from the fiction of one meaning to a set of facts. Put plainly it is a lie, but a lucrative one.

I sometimes feel pity, sometimes anger, towards the delusional 'objective meaning' crowd. Yet I also admire the beauty of their predicament. Yes, they are witless puppets. However, by living the unexamined life they are able to fully embrace the 'reality' of the world they see around them. Actors giving the performance of a lifetime to an empty theater.

There is a Charlie Brown cartoon where Linus becomes aware of his tongue. Noticing how it presses all "lumped up" against his teeth he loses the ability to ignore it. His attention becomes completely absorbed by his inability to control his awareness. Linus is trapped by the undeniable truth of his own tongues existence. In explaining his predicament he also inadvertently traps Lucy in the same tongue-awareness-prison. As I now trap you dear reader.

Similar to Linus loosing the ability to disregard his tongue, I've lost my ability to suspend my disbelief in regards to the meaning of life itself.

I've become an actor without a script forced to improvise. Unable, I stand awkwardly mute on the stage. Viewing the empty chairs before me, my poor performance at least goes unseen. I take solace in my own obscurity. Ultimately I find myself becoming both boring and bored.

That was before.
Meaning implies Action

Odd as it may sound. Recently I find myself becoming more personally involved in my own life. Almost as though I am awakening from a long slumber.

There is no neutral moral stance towards the meaning of my surroundings. I become aware, which forces moral judgment and action.

That is the key.

There are levels, shades, and contexts of course. Water is wonderful when I'm thirsty, evil when it rains on me. The very awareness itself motivates. Awareness and motivation are irreducibly bound together. It is impossible to have one without the other.

I understood more than most care to know about meaning and morality. What I had failed to appreciate however was that the two are one.

Aha! I have found a copy of the script. Now I just have to play my part to the best of my ability.

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