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The word ‘meaning’ has only recently become meaningful for me.

  1. Aug 25, 2008 #1
    The word ‘meaning’ has only recently become meaningful for me.

    In school I would ask Sister (I was raised as a Catholic and was taught by nuns) “what does this word mean” and she would give me the dictionary definition of the word. Until a few years ago the word ‘meaning’ had only one meaning and that was the dictionary definition.

    What has changed in my world is that I have begun studying cognitive science, which has led me down many different intellectual paths in search for answers to many questions that has arisen as a result of my studies.

    SGCS (Second Generation Cognitive Science) as described in “Philosophy in the Flesh” by Lakoff and Johnson, details a new paradigm for cognitive science. This new paradigm for cognitive science might be called the embodied mind.

    This new paradigm constructs a world view based upon the empirical evidence that there is no duality of mind/body but that we are in fact an embodied mind.

    The foundation of SGCS cognitive science rests on the concept of meaning. The concept of understanding rests on meaning, and the concepts of truth, created reality, knowledge, objectivity, and subjectivity follows as a result of our understanding.

    I did a Google search for quotes about meaning and I will share a few of these with you.


    If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is a part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us.
    Hermann Hess

    There is not one big cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.”
    Anais Nin quotes (French born American Author of novels and short stories, 1903-1977)

    “The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it.”
    Carl Gustav Jung quotes (Swiss psychiatrist, Psychologist and Founder of the Analytic Psychology, 1875-1961)

    “Meanings are not determined by situations, but we determine ourselves by the meanings we give to situations.”
    Alfred Adler quotes (Austrian psychiatrist whose influential system of individual psychology introduced the term)

    Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend - or a meaningful day.”
    Dalai Lama quotes

    “The essence of intelligence is skill in extracting meaning from everyday experience.”
    “Meaning is not what you start with, but what you end up with”
    Peter Elbow quotes

    “Our obligation is to give meaning to life and in doing so to overcome the passive, indifferent life”
    Elie Wiesel quotes (Romanian born American Writer. Nobel Prize for Peace in 1986. b.1928)

    “What we see depends mainly on what we look for.”
    “What we see depends upon what is meaningful to us.”
    John Lubbock

    Meaning is what touches us in a fundamental way

    “If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is a part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us.”
    Hermann Hesse

    “Love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning.”
    Chuck Palahniuk quotes (American freelance Journalist, Satirist and Novelist. b.1961)

    “If I could tell you what it meant, there would be no point in dancing it”
    Isadora Duncan quotes (American Dancer, best known as one of the founders of modern dance. 1877-1927)

    “I miss the meaning of my own part in the play of life because I know not the parts that others play”
    Rabindranath Tagore quotes (Indian Poet, Playwright and Essayist, Won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, 1861-1941)

    “Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it [is] he who is asked.”
    Viktor Frankl quotes (Austrian psychiatrist and psychotherapist. 1905-1997)
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 25, 2008 #2
    What empirical evidence is there that there is no duality of body/mind? I would agree that there is no universal meaning, but that people create their own. I don't really get the point of the post though...
  4. Aug 25, 2008 #3

    Categorization, the first level of abstraction from “Reality” is our first level of conceptualization and thus of knowing. Seeing is a process that includes categorization, we see something as an interaction between the seer and what is seen. “Seeing typically involves categorization.”

    Our categories are what we consider to be real in the world: tree, rock, animal…Our concepts are what we use to structure our reasoning about these categories. Concepts are neural structures that are the fundamental means by which we reason about categories.

    Human categories, the stuff of experience, are reasoned about in many different ways. These differing ways of reasoning, these different conceptualizations, are called prototypes and represent the second level of conceptualization

    Typical-case prototype conceptualization modes are “used in drawing inferences about category members in the absence of any special contextual information. Ideal-case prototypes allow us to evaluate category members relative to some conceptual standard…Social stereotypes are used to make snap judgments…Salient exemplars (well-known examples) are used for making probability judgments…Reasoning with prototypes is, indeed, so common that it is inconceivable that we could function for long without them.”

    When we conceptualize categories in this fashion we often envision them using spatial metaphors. Spatial relation metaphors form the heart of our ability to perceive, conceive, and to move about in space. We unconsciously form spatial relation contexts for entities: ‘in’, ‘on’, ‘about’, ‘across from’ some other entity are common relationships that make it possible for us to function in our normal manner.

    When we perceive a black cat and do not wish to cross its path our imagination conceives container shapes such that we do not penetrate the container space occupied by the cat at some time in its journey. We function in space and the container schema is a normal means we have for reasoning about action in space. Such imaginings are not conscious but most of our perception and conception is an automatic unconscious force for functioning in the world.

    Our manner of using language to explain experience provides us with an insight into our cognitive structuring process. Perceptual cues are mapped onto cognitive spaces wherein a representation of the experience is structured onto our spatial-relation contour. There is no direct connection between perception and language.

    The claim of SGCS (Second Generation Cognitive Science) is “that the very properties of concepts are created as a result of the way the brain and the body are structured and the way they function in interpersonal relations and in the physical world.”

    Quotes from “Philosophy in the Flesh”—Lakoff and Johnson
  5. Sep 4, 2008 #4
    " My life hath been the poem I would have writ, but I could not both live and utter it."
    Henry David Thoreau
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