Years ago, while living in Chicago, I read a book during my commutes to work at a marketing agency titled Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl. While reading this book, I found a couple of things that struck me a bit sideways-or a little bit odd. One was a single pointed style of solution orientation, and the second as contained in the title-the implicit emphasis on something called, Meaning. The observation and claim in the book was that Meaning was essential to not only happiness, but to functioning in life. Taking into account the horrifying psychological and physical conditions of Nazi occupation and totalitarian regime which imparted citizens and human life with the scars of trauma in the forms of depression and anxiety.
Meaning, has always been something I observed as a friend of Narrative. And Narrative works as a raw material of stories. Stories are not truths-they are fabrications, similar to fabric. Stories are often to convey an underlying message that is sometimes direct and other times more available to subjective interpretation. Stories can become fables, with these moral ideologies embedded in them, or stories can become the histories conveyed through generations as truths. Stories can also be entire fabrications, in that bits and pieces of experience or ideas are selected, quite often for political or capital gains. In other words, stories can run a close but different aspect of a lie, a fallacy, a fabrication.
When I get to thinking about Fabrication, as a word, and what it means-to strip away meaning to find some kind of truth (because I am always interested in this business of truth finding) I use a mode of deconstructivism and etymological research. For in seeing clearly a meaning, I can form a closer to objective view and perhaps locate an element of truth.
Here we go: What is a piece of fabric? What constitutes a garment? It is not just a color and shape and material. No, this material is made up of many threads, woven together. And where did the thread come from? Labor, efforts of resources such as human, animal, land, machines, energy. In deconstructing to the basic elements about a literal piece of fabric, I am able to access the truth of a garment, which is really not a simple object but rather a complex constituent of many many efforts. Then there are the psychic or ideological components to what brought the choices forth in the garment. Before going into that, the question worth asking: how does understanding a garment relate to meaning as being an aspect of a story?
There is quite a famous story about an Emperor who wears no clothes. That when people awake and SEE they find that the riches and grand life the ruler has been promoting around-are all pomp and circumstance. The Emperor is actually nude. And when he is nude, his body bare and able to be seen. This undeniable truth, both is the doing and undoing of this popular story and fable.
And so, when I have been finding some writing’s by Hannah Arendt, I am excited by the ways in which she articulates the difference between Thought, Reason, Meaning and Truth.
Personally, I much prefer the Truth-as it sometimes stings -the bullshit obliterating quality truth has on lies, fabrications offers a sense of freedom that Meaning cannot offer. Meaning gets messy fast, as it ties objects and desires into some kind of feedback loop-one which I would describe as a snag in a sweater. An annoying thing that begs to be fixed otherwise the risk of a hole is made.
To be free from the desire for meaning, through the avenue of a desire for truth has led me through a path that contains a more complex variety of experience.
I hope to continue this conversation, through comments, and in sharing the article I find greatly fascinating. https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/09/16/hannah-arendt-the-life-of-the-mind/
There is also this delightful article https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/06/21/mary-mccarthy-between-friends-evil/
as I am quickly becoming a fan of this Brain Pickings website, as it makes learning and reading fun again. A refreshing experience from any of the current news events taking place in the media. And I am inspired to see so much writing about thinking, truth, desire, compassion, and things that really work in life that are not based in fear, manipulation or control.
The desire to share this, is of course to share the excitement of joy, contentment and levity that I experience within my mind and body with these ways of thinking, which has translated into greater freedom to enjoy every sip of air and go forward making any artwork I feel deeply inspired to and offer a value to others in doing so. This experience replaces the heavier experience of fear what clouded my vision and held my body back from taking action on the ideas and things I care about deeply. I always seek to share avenues in which others may find more freedom, joy, contentment and satisfaction in the elemental basis of existing. For life itself, the only truth I found between the relationship of truth and love, through the pursuit of experiences that are not for meaning, but rather for the truths to exist in and of themselves. A powerful love that has me gaze in amazement, wonder and awe-while navigating any of the fears or challenges in life or work.