I have been asked by a number of people who have read my last posting on ‘splitting and linking’ to expand on what I meant by the sentence: Besides being linguistic systems, on a deeper level we are actually meaning-seeking systems.
I had a fascinating breakfast with some of my wife’s friends this morning. We were a group of six – 2 men and 4 ladies. It was in the middle of the breakfast that the conversation moved into the ‘art arena’. I mentioned that I had gone to the von Gogh’s art exhibition in Basel, Switzerland in June this year. Unknowingly (to me), one of our party has a Fine Arts degree and as she added her insights and knowledge into the understanding of the various artists and their paintings, I became more and more enthralled and excited. I felt liberated and there was much joy in our group as we all contributed to the meaningful conversation.
Meaning-seeking systems thrive in situations where understanding is not yet complete, where there is more to the issue, where there are further perceptions to consider. Meaning-seeking systems are open systems that generate more and more insights. These insights unfold as ‘splitting and linking’ occur in our conversation. And the vehicle for this to unfold is in language, but more importantly in attitude. The conversational flow needs to be underpinned by an attitude of co-operation and ‘not-knowing’ for the meaning-seeking system to kick into top flight.
Ideas that resonate with our internal world, coupled with the ability to challenge this world is where the complexity of meaning exists. In other words, ‘connection’ and ‘challenge’ are what is required for deeper meaning to unfold. But there is another energy that the creation of meaning is dependent on; and that is the energy of joy and love. Meaning is not absolute and unchanging. Meaning is being created. In fact, deeper meaning is co-created. And it is in the relationships between people where language flows and where deeper meaning gets co-created.
Great art works are perfect playgrounds where meaning-seeking systems can gain deeper insights as well as to generate further information flow. Since art is a visual stimulation and can be interpreted in language in a ‘thousand or more’ different ways, it offers a target for the heat-seeking missiles to connect with. On a metaphoric level, I suppose meaning-seeking systems can be equated to playful heat-seeking missiles that seek to create (as opposed to destroy).
We all have unique personal stories to tell of some or other life experience. These personal stories have deep meaning to us. But as we share these stories in a loving, co-operative and curious interpersonal context, they re-ignite into further insights and ‘new’ meaning emerges. This is the nature of meaning-seeking systems. No insight is ever complete.