Thursday, July 7, 2016

Meaning

What does it all mean?  Why are you so mean?  Do you mean it?

"Man's search for meaning."  As if "meaning" is out there somewhere, just waiting to be discovered.

Can you identify...that is, can you put me into actual, physical touch with...any thing, being, system that creates meaning other than a human being.  Computers organize data, humans extract the meaning from that organized data.  Animals act, based on instinct and to some degree on learning, but it is humans who identify the meaning of the acts.  When you drop something it falls, which we understand to mean that gravity is acting on that thing, but the thing merely falls, and it is the human that knows what this means.

Humans are the only identifiable source of meaning.  If you say that the existence of the universe means that God must have created it, it is you to whom it means this.  And while others may agree with you (and still others disagree), they are simply agreeing that this is what it means to them.  It can not be shown that this meaning exists outside the minds of those to whom it has this meaning.

And, along with meaning, there is beauty, nobility, compassion, love.  Yes, I know, these things seem to exist outside of ourselves...we observe, we feel, we are impacted by so much that exists outside of us, but it is inside of us that meaning, beauty, nobility, compassion, and love exist...it is inside of us that these meanings exist.

Since the advent of self-consciousness, can you possibly understand the vastness of meaning that has been created within the minds of human beings.  And in such a small space.  If you were to take the volume of the brains of all the human beings that have existed and will exist, it will be such a microscopic volume in comparison to the volume of the universe, and yet it has filled that universe with meaning...at least, that is how we feel.

What will it mean when human beings no longer exist?  And to whom will it mean that?

There is plenty of evidence (and thinking, modeling, experimenting) to suggest that the meanings that human beings have created (progress, value, worth) are in the process of creating a world in which human beings cannot exist.  A world that is, on average, four degrees hotter than the one in which human beings developed, cannot support the continued existence of human beings.  Not because we won't have enough air conditioners, but because the weather that will result from that hotter world will prevent us from growing the food that we need to sustain our bodies.

And, when our bodies are gone, what will become of our meanings?