Passion and Meaning


Passion and Meaning by P.K. Odendaal - 15 April 2013 (completed version)
 
... I'm afraid I've been thinking .... a dangerous pastime, I know. From Beauty and the Beast
The last article I wrote about Passion, Emotion and Delusion left many questions unanswered and thus prompted me to rethink the subject - and this opened new perspectives in my mind. I never could have thought that passion and meaning were such integral and connected concepts.
I will start off with a simple sentence.
'Over 230 000 people were killed in the Tsunami which hit Indonesia in 2004.'
This is a sentence containing words. This sentence means nothing for people who cannot read or write. They may think it is a funny sort of worm with two eyes in front and four eyes at the back.
It also says nothing to someone who does not know what the meaning of the words in this sentence is.  For someone who only knows grammar it says a little more - it says that it is a Sentence with eleven Words, two Numbers and two Verbs. That still means almost nothing, but it somehow teaches us something about the reader of the sentence - his ability to recognise patterns.
Apart from that this sentence says nothing to someone who does not have passion. For those without passion it may only add another statistic to the history of the world. It must become obvious to you that I am using the words passion and meaning interchangeably - which is exactly the point of this article.
Passion and enthusiasm is the result of the things I understand - those things which has meaning to me - which gives meaning to my life. Passion however is the instigator and driving force for every sort of emotion which is engendered in me. And sad to say ... these emotions are good and bad, but mostly bad and many times evil. The problem is that good and evil goes hand and hand, and if I do not exercise my passion with caution - something my free will allows me to do - then I will naturally choose the evil way, because of my original sin or my fleshly inclinations. I support Sartre in this notion, except that his free will had no moral basis.
In the background of this sentence there is however thousands of people who still live in grief and trauma, because of this sentence - but you would not know that when you do not know what grief means. And grief can only grow out of passion. The emotion which is irrational, unstable and unthinkable always flows from passion. So in the end it is only meaning or passion which counts.
Now for a totally different sentence: 'Who am I and what am I doing here?' I can go with you through the same type of exercise that I did above. Whatever the sentence we work with, where does meaning lie?
It comes down to the level of abstraction. What can I abstract from what I see? I have published two articles in this regard. The first one is: 'What do you see?" and the second one is: 'What do you not want to see?' Both consider my level of abstraction - about how much I can abstract from things I see and like and the second about how little I wish to abstract from things I see and do not like. So in the end it is my ability or willingness to abstract what I want or can.
I started this article with a simple sentence, hoping that everyone can abstract what I wanted them to see. But there is a deeper level of encryption and abstraction possible, but that takes learning, knowledge and study to do that.
As an example: The first sentence above could have been written without spaces. Spaces have no meaning, so removing those spaces would not detract from the meaning that can be abstracted from that sentence. But then you need to be able to recognize patterns in the sentence to abstract the words and numbers separately.
If we go further back we can start to arrange the letters and figures in a random way, so that the patterns are not recognizable anymore, and we need some decryption to do that. And that is the problem we are sitting with today which prevents us from understanding the meaning of life and many other phenomena. If we can reach that lowest level of intelligence and decrypt it, then we will be able to understand why we are here. And of course if we find that lowest encrypted sentence and we do not know that it has intelligence or it is encrypted, we will say we have found nothing - but it is out there - and that is what the universe was made of - nothing. God did not give us arranged tips, dead giveaways or spaces to orientate ourselves. He wanted to hide it from us, and that is why He says in scripture: Pro 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. You might want to read my article on Nothing to understand that.
The whole object of this exercise is to search where meaning is seated or located in the universe. Presently we do not know, but we will pursue it until we can come very near to it, although I doubt that we will ever reach that goal.
And that brings me to gravity. It may seem totally out of place here, but we are spending billions to find out where the origin of gravity is seated or located, and I am quite sure we will never find it, as it is my contention that it is seated in God - the same origin as meaning. And that is why I think a search for meaning and a search for gravity is the same type of search.
If you are not mathematically minded, you can skip the next section.
Although it will not get us any further, I wish to digress somewhat and play a game of encryption, which will in any case bring us nearer to an understanding of the complexity of the search for intelligence and meaning.
We start again with our first sentence - only a shorter version:
'Over 230 000 people were killed'
Our first task will be to remove spaces, but that is easy and I need not elaborate on that.
Our next task will be to encrypt the sentence. The most basic level of encryption is to take each letter or figure and instead put its next door neighbour in its place like in:
'pwfs341111qfpqmfxfsfljmmfe'
This would be easy to decrypt if we know it was originally in English.
And this is why the evolutionists say that there is no intelligence in Creation. It is quite easy for them to argue that there is no intelligent design on the lower levels, but their resolve to be atheists is greater than their resolve to understand the intelligence encrypted at these more basic levels.
As a third step we may argue that the sentence was in English and basic universal information would rather be based on a universal concept such as numbers - and we will encrypt this into the most basic numbering system which is the binary one.
Here it is:
01010000 01010111 01000110 01010011 00110011 00110100 00110001 00110001 00110001 00110001 01010001 01000110 01010000 01010001 01001101 01000110 01011000 01000110 01010011 01000110 01001100 01001010 01001101 01001101 01000110 01000101
If we use a Base64 character set to encode this binary sequence it becomes:

T3ZlciAyMzAgMDAwIHBlb3BsZSB3ZXJlIGtpbGxlZA==
 
If you know Organic Chemistry you know where I am going.
This is a typical DNA sequence: CCC TGT GGA GCC ACA CCC TAG
How do we go from any basic encoded structure to the protein shown above? If we know, we will know how life started!
Here is an easy unencrypted example:
fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too. Cna you raed this? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.
I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulacity uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabridge Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in what oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny lproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mni d deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmoranttl
If you can raed tihs forwrad it.
End of digression.
I need to pursue meaning further.In the sentence we started with, we want to ask who understands the meaning of the sentence and where does that person get the meaning.

In my opinion the meaning is seated in the intelligence of the observer - be that mathematical, scientific or emotional. That is clear from our argument so far, but what is not clear is where that person gets the ability to understand that sentence in its fullness - if such a person does exist at all. We can all understand something, but who can understand this sentence in all its depth and ramifications? And that is the quest mankind is after - to understand fully.

However, we can never understand fully, for a full understanding only comes from God. Scipture says in 1Cor. 13:12  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. We see here that we do not even know and understand ourselves - and for many of us this quest for understanding ourselves and the meaning of our lives is a lifelong quest.
One always comes back in all these types of arguments to a God which cannot but exist and in which all understanding and intelligence is seated.

If I return to the argument of the evolutionists who worship the Darwinian Delusion, it is clear that it is so blatantly false. Their argument is that we, as a super species of Creation were created by someone or something which had no intelligence. They know for themselves that something which wishes to create something else can only create something which has a lower level of intelligence than itself. It is plain that we cannot even make ourselves - and this proves the argument.
What we have received - the meaning of things and our understanding of it - can only come from God. How many people have I heard witnessing that now that they have met God, they are at peace with God and themselves and understand the meaning of life. The quest for meaning is not a rational or intellectual one like the one I have started with, but a quest for God.