'Meaning' is an often used term, but it's something I've always found radically difficult to define. What is 'meaning', really? Is it rational truth? Is it experienced? Is it what most people believe?

I think it's an experience. The experience of the manifestation of an idea into reality, maybe we could even call it the 'experience of truth'. Not universal truth. I don't think that really exists.

If I call something a chair when I see it, I experience a sense of meaning from that when I do it with attention. I believe this chair to exist and it gets confirmed by my senses. When I achieve something, I also experience the manifestation of that achievement. This experience corresponds to my values (I value my achievement, like I value being correct about naming objects I see, like a chair).

We experience truth, a truth that corresponds to our values and accentuates our own manifestation in this world. Self actualization.

Underlying this transition, there is a plethora of complexity that can be found in context of exactly this transition of an idea or a belief between its existence in the 'self' based on values (phenomenologically), and that of the 'group'. If we look at ideas and beliefs from the level of the individual and the transitions thereof between the group and the individual, it aids us in slowly dissecting the process of meaning (I believe meaning is a status as part of a process in a value system, not a state on its own).

The system that defines the 'rules' or 'norms' of this natural selection (and how awareness and attention to beliefs influences the creation of new ideas and beliefs), are discussed in more depth in philosophical concepts like episteme (Foucault) and paradigms (Kuhn). More modern discussions of these things are also available around thinkers like Jordan Peterson.

Notes:

  • 'Self' is a reproduction of present experience within the experience (memory) of the past. A continuous process of attention;
  • Let's separate the world of ideas from the 'self' ('erzijn' from 'Zijn'?), to go forth on the wave of evolution, holding our very selves.