we, and I mean humans, are meaning makers. We do not discover the meanings of mysterious things, we invent them. We make meanings because meaninglessness terrifies us above all things. More than snakes, even. More than falling, or the dark. We trick ourselves into seeing meanings in things, when in fact all we are doing is grafting our meanings onto the universe to comfort ourselves. We gild the chaos of the universe with our symbols. To admit that something is meaningless is just like falling backward into darkness." (p184)
The greeting of peace (as-salamu 'alaykum) has many meanings. One of these meanings is that the person you are greeting will be safe from you (from your tongue, your heart, and your hand) and that you will not transgress against that person with your words or your deeds. This greeting is also a prayer for peace, safety, mercy, and blessings. We should take these noble meanings, which we so often say with our tongues, and make them our way of life in our dealings with other people.
The meanings of life aren't inherited. What is inherited is the mandate to make meanings of life by how we live. The endings of life give life's meanings a chance to show. The beginning of the end of our order, our way, is now in view. This isn't punishment, any more than dying is a punishment for being born.
I really don't know what exactly all the songs mean. Sometimes other people have meanings and when I hear them I think, 'That's really a better meaning than I thought, and perfectly valid, given the words that exist.' So part of what makes a song really good is that people take in different meanings, and they apply them, and they might be more powerful than the ones I'm thinking.
Hearing has consequences. When I truly hear a person and the meanings that are important to him at that moment, hearing not simply his words, but him, and when I let him know that I have heard his own private personal meanings, many things happen. There is first of all a grateful look. He feels released. He wants to tell me more about his world. He surges forth in a new sense of freedom. He becomes more open to the process of change. I have often noticed that the more deeply I hear the meanings of the person, the more there is that happens. Almost always, when a person realize he has been deeply heard, his eyes moisten. I think in some real sense he is weeping for joy. It is as though he were saying, "Thank God, somebody heard me. Someone knows what it's like to be me.
Much has been said about the meanings we make of illness, but what about the meanings we make out of cure? Cure is complex, disorienting, a revisioning of the self, either subtle or stark. Cure is the new, strange planet, pressing in. The doctor could not have known. And that made me, as it does every patient, only more alone.
The Text is plural. Which is not simply to say that it has several meanings, but that it accomplishes the very plural of meaning: an irreducible (and not merely an acceptable) plural. The Text is not a co-existence of meanings but a passage, an overcrossing; thus it answers not to an interpretation, even a liberal one, but to an explosion, a dissemination.
Because of their origin and purpose, the meanings of art are of a different order from the operational meanings of science and technics: they relate, not to external means and consequences, but to internal transformations, and unless it produce these internal transformations the work of art is either perfunctory or dead.
An amoeba is a formless thing which takes many shapes. It moves by thrusting out an arm, and flowing into the arm. It multiplies by pulling itself in two, without permanently diminishing the original. So with words. A meaning may develop on the periphery of the body of meanings associated with a word, and shortly this tentacle-meaning has grown to such proportions that it dwarfs all other meanings.
I myself, a professional mathematician, on re-reading my own work find it strains my mental powers to recall to mind from the figures the meanings of the demonstrations, meanings which I myself originally put into the figures and the text from my mind. But when I attempt to remedy the obscurity of the material by putting in extra words, I see myself falling into the opposite fault of becoming chatty in something mathematical.
We are not determined by our experiences, but are self-determined by the meaning we give to them; and when we take particular experiences as the basis for our future life, we are almost certain to be misguided to some degree. Meanings are not determined by situations. We determine ourselves by the meanings we ascribe to situations.
the word 'fine'. As in 'I'm fine', 'it's fine', 'that looks fine', etc. For a man the word fine has, tops, three or four meanings and that's only because of the fairly recent edition of 'Dang, girl! You look fine!' Otherwise 'fine' would range somewhere between satisfactory and of superior quality. For a woman the word 'fine' has like seventy meanings and depending on voice inflexion can actually mean 'If I'm questioned again I'll stab you in your sleep'.
Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.
The age-old, seemingly inexorable process whereby diseases acquire meanings (by coming to stand for the deepest fears) and inflict stigma is always worth challenging, and it does seem to have more limited credibility in the modern world, among people willing to be modern - the process is under surveillance now. With this illness, one that elicits so much guilt and shame, the effort to detach it from these meanings, these metaphors, seems particularly liberating, even consoling. But the metaphors cannot be distanced just by abstaining from them. They have to be exposed, criticized, belabored, used up.
I really love folklore. I had read a lot of faerie folklore that informed the books I wrote. I also really love vampire folklore; my eighth grade research paper was on [it]. [With this project, ] it was really helpful to think about the way you can use language. When you're writing about faeries, you can't call anyone "fey"; there are certain words that become forbidden because they're actualized in what faeries do. When you write about vampires, you could think the same way about things like the word "red" or "hunger"-it's interesting to think of the ways that the words have double meanings, or different meanings that shifted.
Yes, it is true that one generally needs to speak to the members of the key audience for a product or service. But as we are not trying to plumb an individual psyche for psychological motivation, but are rather trying to elucidate the relevant symbolic cultural meanings and practices, information garnered from those who do not like something is also relevant to understanding the cultural picture. In fact, contestation between points of view and meanings is a crucial aspect of the social dynamic. These nodal points of disagreement and different points of view can be precisely the most intriguing domains of cultural movement and thus new opportunities.
Patricia L. Sunderland
He should have known better because, early in his learnings under his brother Mahmoud, he had discovered that long human words (the longer the better) were easy, unmistakable, and rarely changed their meanings, but short words were slippery, unpredictable changing their meanings without any pattern. Or so he seemed to grok. Short human words were never like a short Martian word - such as grok which forever meant exactly the same thing. Short human words were like trying to lift water with a knife. And this had been a very short word.
Robert A. Heinlein
Lacan, as we have seen in our discussion of Freud, regards the unconscious as structured like a language. This is not only because it works by metaphor and metonymy: it is also because, like language itself for the post-structuralists, it is composed less of signs - stable meanings - than of signifiers. If you dream of a horse, it is not immediately obvious what this signifies: it may have many contradictory meanings, may be just one of a whole chain of signifiers with equally multiple meanings. The image of the horse, that is to say, is not a sign in Saussure's sense - it does not have one determined signified tied neatly to its tail - but is a signifier which may be attached to many different signifieds, and which may itself bear the traces of the other signifiers which surround it. (I was not aware, when I wrote the above sentence, of the word-play involved in 'horse' and 'tail': one signifier interacted with another against my conscious intention.) The unconscious is just a continual movement and activity of signifiers, whose signifieds are often inaccessible to us because they are repressed. This is why Lacan speaks of the unconscious as a 'sliding of the signified beneath the signifier', as a constant fading and evaporation of meaning, a bizarre 'modernist' text which is almost unreadable and which will certainly never yield up its final secrets to interpretation.
The third facilitative aspect of the relationship is empathic understanding. This means that the therapist senses accurately the feelings and personal meanings that the client is experiencing and communicates this understanding to the client. When functioning best, the therapist is so much inside the private world of the other that he or she can clarify not only the meanings of which the client is aware but even those just below the level of awareness. This kind of sensitive, active listening is exceedingly rare in our lives. We think we listen, but very rarely do we listen with real understanding, true empathy. Yet listening, of this very special kind, is one of the most potent forces for change that I know.
Carl R. Rogers
God clues us in to the fact that, "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." In short, God is not logical. This is not to say that he is illogical, only that he is not limited by logic. Simplified, "logic" is connecting the dots. We identify the dots we consider relevant, then connect them into lines and patterns. God, on the other hand, may see that, beneath one of the dots is a stack of a trillion more dots, each of which may be combined with the others. Little wonder that our ways and meanings frequently fail to match God's ways and meanings. Great wonder that, when they don't, we tend to fault him.
For Hood's sake, ' the foreigner muttered. 'What's wrong with words?' 'With words, ' said Redmask, turning away, 'meanings change.' 'Well, ' Anaster Toc said, following as Redmask made his way back to his army's camp, .. 'that is precisely the point. That's their value - their ability to adapt -' 'Grow corrupt, you mean. The Letheri are masters at corrupting words, their meanings. They call war peace, they call tyranny liberty. On which side of the shadow you stand decides a word's meaning. Words are the weapons used by those who see others with contempt. A contempt which only deepens when they how those others are deceived and made into fools because they choose to believe. Because in their naivety they thought the meaning of a word was fixed, immune to abuse.