Imposing fixed meanings

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The eternalist ploy imposing fixed meanings is the first of several that hallucinate meanings that don’t exist, in order to avoid perceiving nebulosity.

This ploy tries to force a pre-determined set of categories on experience. These often have fixed positive and negative values, and demand that you take particular actions in response to them. The “abominations” of the Old Testament are examples. “Stereotypes” are one contemporary secular manifestation.

Often these categories don’t fit, and the imposed meanings are wrong. When you act on them, reality eventually slaps you upside the head. You get unpleasant outcomes you didn’t expect—based on your wrong categorization. Then you are shocked and confused; the conceptual system breaks down and you have no idea what to do.

The antidote is curiosity. Wonder what things mean; investigate without presuppositions. Allow things to mean whatever they do, or to remain mysterious or meaningless if that’s what they want. Avoid premature judgements of meaning.

Ultimately, the antidote to all eternalism is to understand, recognize, accept, and stabilize the complete stance: that meanings are always fluid, partial, changing, and vague.


This page is in the section Eternalist ploys and their antidotes,
      which is in Eternalism: the fixation of meaning,
      which is in Meaning and meaninglessness,
      which is in Doing meaning better.

The next page in this section is ⚒ Smearing meaning all over everything.

This page’s topic is Eternalism.

General explanation: Meaningness is a hypertext book (in progress), plus a “metablog” that comments on it. The book begins with an appetizer. Alternatively, you might like to look at its table of contents, or some other starting points. Classification of pages by topics supplements the book and metablog structures. Terms with dotted underlining (example: meaningness) show a definition if you click on them. Pages marked with ⚒ are still under construction. Copyright ©2010–2017 David Chapman.