Do Humans Seek and Create Meaning (Part 4)?
November 11, 2016 – 4:29 pm | No Comment

Article #918
It is through our perception and connection with all life that we can experience meaning and have a fulfilling life.

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Do Humans Seek and Create Meaning (Part 1)?

Submitted by on June 25, 2016 – 7:23 pmNo Comment

Creating Meaning-Frankyl

Article #915

By John Cane, MA

What processes are involved when we seek and create meaning? Are we looking for answers within the system of creation we are a part of? Do we persevere because of an undercurrent of longing to feel? Maybe the question lies in the “seeking”. Is creation the seeker in all of us, looking for meaning as part of the process to connect by creating patterns, patterns within and around us? Are patterns the same as meaning in different forms of communication and connection in the universe? Dreams carry an energy or meaning while experiencing the dream and a residual energy to follow; maybe an energy that has no end? Humans gather information, metaphors and symbols because they are the tools we have evolved to become who we are on this planet. We seek and create meaning to manifest our personal destinies while in the process of helping others do the same. I trust that meaning connects us all. When we seek meaning it seems we seek to define. If we seek to define we seek to change, adapt, to understand and to survive. For example if we seek to find answers to cure cancer are we not seeking to creatively find treatment so we can continue a meaningful life? Meaning emerges as we understand reality better or parts of the reality each of us lives in.

When we seek to create meaning it is our intention to communicate something that is not directly expressed. It appears that in our search for meaning in life and in our dreams we are simply following an innate need to connect and discover the meaning of the universe within. When we search for meaning we travel a mysterious path to bring to light our interconnectedness through experiences, inside and out. This article attempts to explain what is involved when human beings seek and create meaning.

How Art Can Lead to Meaning

Is seeking and creating meaning part of the process of creating ourselves through self-expression? According to McCauley (2005), “Art is an end to a means, that means being artistic creativity”. My entire life I have been an artist in one form or manner. My arts’ passions have extended from performing to visual arts in many mediums. Part of my life as an artist has been consumed with the Taoist idea of an uncarved block and each of my artistic endeavors has helped me uncover new parts of myself and my personality. The term “artist” can be both overrated and underestimated, where some people who are incredibly gifted may believe being an “artist” takes a tremendous amount of talent and because of this there is a possibility that that same person may underestimate what they are capable of creating. One may not even attempt to create “art” because the idea is intimidating. Pablo Picasso once said, “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” I believe that more can be learned if we can witness our own lives outside of our everyday lives, experiencing creativity and spirit of the moment.

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi writes that notable art and science “involve a leap of imagination into a world that is different from the present” which can lead most people to judge such new ideas as “fantasies without relevance to current reality”. This “leap of imagination” is a gathering of inner resources to inspire meaning in a reality where there are no boundaries or limits. Csikszentmihalyi explains that the point of art and science is to go beyond what we currently consider real and to create a fresh reality. These statements are mentioned because regardless if you think you are an “artist” or not the act of seeking meaning is part of the process to create, allowing one’s spirit to open up and releasing what is inside to find meaning. When one is creative, the feelings experienced can be magical and uplifting. Some people say they are not creative, yet they dream at night and this is how the creative mind works.

Seeking and Creating Meaning through Learning

When we learn we use patterns to evolve. We are born with a blank slate. We search through our senses and create meaning through the world around us, and early on we create a framework of understanding for our life. From nothing we create a perspective to make decisions to seek what we need to survive.

We individually take in information and combine it with everything we experience and learn. We connect to others and start seeing how all is connected. Our emotions can help us to draw unique and varied conclusions depending on our emotional condition. In an effort to attain inner harmony we seek meaning to feel love and compassion through comprehending and appreciating our own emotions. Even through our dreams we can grow and learn to manage and influence our emotions to the point where we can control our destiny to not be angry or sad and imagine a way to change and move into the open. We are part of the complex system of the universe. We are all pieces to the puzzle and we can always learn more.

Learning from our dreams can bring us to a deeper understanding of meaning. It is impossible to learn less even as we sleep. In the process of seeking meaning, we create an understanding of our experiences. Psychologists, Feinstein and Krippner explain that we then use this understanding to guide us in making decisions and taking action. This is how seeking meaning becomes learning. When we reflect on what we come to understand or experience through our search, it allows us to look further into our beliefs to find deeper meaning through our creative processes. This reflection allows us to reassess our assumptions to reshape and adapt our beliefs. Feinstein and Krippner go on to say, “…incubating a dream using the same focus on several consecutive nights can bring progressively deeper insights about an area of personal concern”. Metaphor is the language of dreams. Interpretation of the dream reflects both on the interpreter and the creator of the dream. The interpretation of dreams involves cooperation between the dreamer and the person when they are awake, and another person if possible.

While awake and asleep we learn and we rework our perception of the meaning of an encounter, which can lead us into successive gratitude, understanding, and engagement.  In the process of thinking and not thinking, and knowing and not knowing we engage our innate need to search for meaning and answers to grow by interpreting new experiences. This development plays an important role in humans creating meaning.

About the Author

For over 15 years, John Cane, MA has helped over 100,000 individuals in areas of Self Improvement. John is a Life Coach, motivational speaker and writer who develops and implements confidence and self-esteem workshops in Baltimore, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. With a background in Psychology, he has six certifications in Personal Growth and Development. His Journal Books, ‘Important Things I Remember from My Parents’ are used in schools and as an aid for adults in gaining strength in self identity in the United States and Europe.

John Cane is the founder of Edge Advantage, Inc. Edge Advantage ( is a personal development organization dedicated to research-based, practical psychology training. Our focus is on communication, individual performance, and reducing stress. The objective of John’s websites is to bring the most current developments from these areas to those who use them everyday, educating in a form that is clear and practical. John is the webmaster of Self Help Guides Online (.com) and See the Obvious (.com). He is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Psychology at Saybrook University, Oakland, California. His specialization, Psychology of Creativity Studies focuses on finding ways for individuals to experience their potential and realize personal success. John also works with organizations implementing innovative strategies through a systems perspective.

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