Archives for posts with tag: meaning
“Yes you can! No people to feel/live/see it, no spring.”

Remember Protagoras? “Man is the measure of all things”?

Without man, there’s no meaning?

Yes, our world becomes meaningless.
The moment we no longer care enough about it.
The moment we stop paying attention.

The other day I had a riveting conversation with my son.
With my 21 years old son.

I asked him to comment on my previous post.
The one about too many people allowing sentiment to cloud their judgement.
The one about even reputable news agencies using click-bait titles to entice readers. Hence reinforcing the habit of sentiment being allowed to cloud reason.

‘Life was never better for so many of us’, explained my son. ‘Since WWII most of us had enjoyed peace. Since the Spanish Flu, we hadn’t experienced a pandemic. Since Salk, we’ve led ourselves to believe we were safe from disease. Since the fall of communism, even the ideological divides have paled down. And now we have enough technology to feed the entire planet, comfortably. The point being that we have no idea how to deal in this situation. What to do. How to behave.
Simply because we have no relevant prior experience.
Until recently, historically speaking, we have successfully dealt with wars, famines and pestilence.
But it’s the first time that we experience such abundance.
We need to adapt to the new reality.
To transform it into an opportunity. Into an opportunity to go forward.
We have to avoid, at all costs, the pitfall of allowing this abundance to bog us down.’

Heartening, isn’t it?
That a person so young can find such deep meaning.
If I may say such things about my own son…

The only real difference between us and the rest of the living world is our ability to make informed decisions.

Since this is a rather vast subject, I shall divide it into chapters.

  1. From feeling to sentiment.

Something prompts us into action. Always. No matter whether we are aware of it or not, there is an underlying cause for each of our actions.
And when we speak about actions which imply our awareness, those causes penetrate our conscience as feelings.

We, more or less automatically, pull back our hands when they touch a hot stove. That is a reaction. Caused by a feeling.

Most of us – the able bodied, of course, would consider going into fire to save a loved one. Or a stranger. Even if pursuing that line of action might get us burned.
‘Going into fire’ – compared to ‘pulling back our hands’, implies making a decision. Which action – ‘making a decision’, is caused by a sentiment.

Sentiment being a feeling which has penetrated not only our conscience but our self-awareness as well.
We not only feel a sentiment, we relate to it. We’re not only aware of it, we elaborate on it.

Hence the difference between a reaction and a decision.
For as long as we allow ourselves to be driven by feelings, we only react to what’s going on around us.
If, and only when, we successfully transform feelings into sentiments we are able to actually decide. To control, to a degree, what’s happening in/to our lives.

To add some meaning to our, otherwise ‘mere’, existence.

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