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The Pleasure of Meaning

Uploaded by palma on Oct 12, 2000

Sam Vaknin's Psychology, Philosophy, Economics and Foreign Affairs Web Sites

People often confuse satisfaction or pleasure with meaning. It is one thing to ask "How" (what Science does), another to seek an answer to "Why" (a teleological quest in most cases) and still different to contemplate the "What for". For instance: people often do something because it gives them pleasure or satisfaction – however this does not endow the act with meaning. Meaningless things can be – and many times, are – pleasant and satisfying.

A prime example is human games. Games are structured, they are governed by rules and represent the results of negotiations, analysis, synthesis and forecasting. They please and satisfy. Yet, a few will dispute their meaninglessness.

Games are useful. They teach and prepare us for real life situations. Sometimes, they bring in their wake fame, status, money, the ability to influence the real world. And even this does not make them meaningful.

It is easy to answer HOW people play games. Specify the rules of the game or observe it long enough, until the rules become apparent – and you have the answer.

It is easy to answer WHAT FOR do people play games. Pleasure, satisfaction, money, fame, learning, simulating real life experiences in anticipation and preparation for them.

But al this does not draw us an inch closer to the answer to the question:

For meaning to exist, we must have the following (cumulating) elements:
  • A relationship between at least two distinctive (at least partially mutually exclusive) entities (space-time is the result of such a relationship)
  • This relationship must manifest itself as the ability to map important parts of the entities unto each other ("Important" – without which the entity is not the same, an identity element)
  • That one of the entities should be larger than the other in some important sense. One of the entities must be physically bigger, older, more encompassing, mappable to more entities, etc.
  • That there be an interpreter to discern and understand the relationship between the entities (therefore, an "intelligent" interpreter)
  • That such observations would lead the interpreter (potentially) to explain and to predict an important facet of the identity and of the behaviour of one of the entities (usually, in terms of the other, within the context and while using the laws of mathematical logic)
  • That the understanding of a "Meaning" will...

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    Uploaded by:   palma

    Date:   10/12/2000

    Category:   Science And Technology

    Length:   4 pages (960 words)

    Views:   1872

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