📰 How Meaning Fell Apart | Meaningness
Author: David Chapman
Full Title: How Meaning Fell Apart | Meaningness
Document Tags: #Liked
During the twentieth century, it became apparent that attempts to build unshakable foundations had failed, and suspicion grew that it was actually impossible. That raised the threat of nihilism: perhaps everything is actually meaningless?
The atomized mode takes incoherence for granted. It does not seem a problem, in this mode; we don’t need systems. Meanings do not hang together. They are delivered as bite-sized morsels in a jumbled stream, like sushi flowing past on a conveyer belt, or brilliant shards of colored glass in a kaleidoscope. Or—to use the thing itself as a metaphor for itself—like Twitter.
Throughout the twentieth century, from the beginning of the breakdown of the mainstream systems until the breakdown of subcultures, the underlying worry was “not enough meaning.” The atomized mode delivers, for the first time, way too much meaning. It is overwhelming, like trying to drink from a firehose.
Because the shards of meaning do not relate with each other, it’s impossible to compare them. There is no standard of value, so everything seems equally trivial. The collapse of subcultural community has atomized society, and we find it impossible to construct satisfactory selves from the jagged fragments of meaning we’re bombarded with.
A new fluid mode may address our current problems of meaningness. My understanding of fluidity is tentative; it’s based partly on observation of current trends, and partly on the intrinsic logic of meaningness.
The fluid mode approximates the complete stance, which incorporates the accurate insights of eternalism and nihilism: recognizing that meaningness is always both patterned and nebulous. Likewise, the fluid mode acknowledges structures of meaning without attempting rigid foundations. Its values are collaboration, creativity, improvisation, intimacy, transience, aesthetics, and spiritual depth through community Ritual.