PAGE IN PROGRESS What you see here is a page of my hypertext book POWER of meanings // MEANINGS of power. Initially empty, this page will slowly be filled with thoughts, notes, and quotes. One day, I will use them to write a coherent entry, similar to these completed pages. Thank you for your interest and patience!
Barthes’ mythologies to explain meanings
Shakespeare: "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Milton: "The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven."
Meanings in animals. Mary to Sky about Max:He does now know yet what you mean.
What is unique about human beings is that we understand the world and communicate with each other symbolically. Symbolic interactionism what this means is that we see the world and communicate with each other using meanings (ideas and associations we attach to objects of reality) we seek meanings, while meaninglessness (when we cannot find a meaning) scares us [see Frankl's Man's quest for meaning] On the down side, we depend on meanings that exist in our culture/society/community, it is hard/scary for us to question meanings and see that they not natural and absolute meanings have in a sense power over us because of how hard it is for us to question them meaninglessness does not have to be bad (mindfulness meditation is about trying to step outside the meanings that surround us and be in the present without giving it names of trying to have it make sense)
The first half of the name of this project is "power of meanings" because to me, it is essential to see people as creature who see the world and themselves through ideas in their heads that are often not directly connected with reality at hand. Some of these meanings are created by people, so theoretically they have power over them. But mostly, meanings in our heads have power over us, unless we discover our personal power to distinguish between what is and how we see it.
One example - my anxiety around flying. Dealing with it requires distinguishing between how I see things, how I feel, and what is.
Humans are the species that are not afraid of fire. Their ansesstors probably were afraid, till at some point Homo Sapiens was able to attach new meanings to fire: warmth, home, protection, food...
Human being are meaning-makers and meaning-seekers. We see the world through meanings that exist in our heads (symbolic interactionism). These meanings are not natural or absolute, but they often appear for us to be. Most people do not question the meanings that they subconsciously adopt as they grow up in a certain community/culture (it is easier to question meanings of a community/culture that you do not belong do).
We can say that meanings are a form of macropower, in a sense that they are not created and maintained by any specific individual but by communities and cultures, or even the whole society. The bigger the group - the more difficult it is to challenge these meanings (for example, meaning of money).
As with other forms of macropower, the relationship between meanings and power is paradoxical. Meanings are created and maintained by people (so people have power over meanings) but meanings also impact people's ways of being, thinking, and doing things. This is not to say that some people create meanings that impact other people while not being impacted by them themselves (although this can sometimes be the case). In a paradoxical way, people can be maintaining meanings that are at the same time impacting them (and not necessarily in a neutral or harmless way). Money is one example.
In this paradoxical relationship, no individual has absolute power over any meaning (especially over shared meanings, which exist due to actions of many people); at the same time, we can at the same time assume that no meanings have absolute power over individuals.
Each object (broadly understood) can have multiple meanings, and it is theoretically possible for an individual to choose to focus on some meanings over others (to understand under which circumstance it is possible we need to take into consideration the complicated subject of free will).
Roland Barthes “Mythologies” talks about how ideologies are created when some meanings pretend to be dominant and natural.
Any object (broadly defined) can mean a variety of things, which means that it can have a variety of associated ideas in the human mind. But different people can notice or prioritize different meanings depending on their circumstances. Sometimes some people may wish to persuade other people to prioritize certain meanings (this is done through persuasion or propaganda).
From The King of the World (chapter on Versailles) ” As the King boasted in his memoirs, one of the most visible effects of his power was to give ‘an infinite value’ to something which in itself was nothing.”
Changing meanings: my perception of the film “to the right from the elevator “
“it’s god’s plan” - way to give meaning and avoid meaninglessness
To question meaning, be like Data (from Star Treck). Остранение, [Xander's demon girlfriend in Buffy]
how we can see meanings change throughout our life (example: my attitude towards color combinations, how looking at street fashion bogs changed my style )
meanings can make you commit murder: honor, duels, honor killings, Pushkin
The power of taking an insult and turning it into strength: queer, Yankee Doodle
basic meanings: approach or avoid; these meanings are maintained the most basic survival part of our brain - amygdala https://tyelabtest.org/wp-content/uploads/tyereview2018.pdf
https://www.tenpercent.com/meditationweeklyblog/building-a-refuge-from-fear "One night I was biking home along the Hudson River, a bit later than I normally do. It was getting dark, and there is a part of the path that leaves the riverside and goes into a more wooded area. It was dark, and I was seized by this terrible fear. It came so intensely, and I felt unsafe and frightened. I felt cornered, and it reminded me of those nights at home as a child... At that moment I said to myself, “You can do this,” and I brought my attention into my belly and breathed through it. It was so magical that a moment later I was able to notice that in the darkness the fireflies had come out. What had seemed scary and dark revealed these bursts and beams of light flickering everywhere inside it."
Meanings: friend said, why is it so difficult for domestic people to separate old things from memories. These things are not memory. You need to throw them away sometimes ! Me, saving dog un Minecraft
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