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The Nature of Meaning

Café-Salon Philosophique #30

February 6, 1999

No. of Participants: 15

Evening's Topic: The Nature of Meaning

Samuel welcomed those new and old to our first evening back at the Troubadour Bookstore, which will be our permanent location. Thank you Deb and Justin for being such gracious hosts for our discussion gatherings.

Cafe also had the good fortune this evening to have two senior students present from Fairview High School, Boulder, CO where they participate in a philosophy club. Having perspectives from a teenager's point of view, (Heather & Alex) was very refreshing and added a new dimension to the evening's discussion.

Samuel shared once again with participants the purpose of Cafe-Salon Philosophique. Samuel believes that people in this Society don't exercise the right to speak freely or dare to speak out loud.

He then described why Cafe-Salon was developed - To provide a platform from which people would be able to speak their minds. Also, these philosophical gatherings offer a break from the "academia way of thinking" for discussing philosophy.

The first question for the evening was, "What is meaning?" Steve began the discussion by sharing how "every day provides a different meaning." "Words connect meaning with physical objects, actions and other words. Meaning is what a person experiences personally and individually." "Life can be very absurd, serious and/or found to be humorous, among other things." For Heather, meaning is what "she values," those things that make her happy or sad. Meaning is projected from the personality. She finds "setting higher goals" gives life more meaning. Alex associates meaning with "relativity." Reinhardt says, "life is what happens when you have other plans." "Don't become entangled. Open up to intuition." He believes walks and listening to music opens him up more fully to life.

Samuel says that "we create meaning every moment through our thoughts and actions." Vineeta believes she is "more right brain than left brain," and "tries to avoid using her left brain as much as possible."

Samuel then asked, "How do we establish meaning?" His response was by way of communication of the two hemispheres through the corpus callosum, "the bridge." The group then began discussing right brain, left brain activity.

Wayne described left brain activity as being "scientific and observatory." The right brain "resonates with intuition." Wayne commented on the fact that our Society is far too "left brained." Men more so. "Women seem to use the capacity of their right brains more than men." Vineeta doesn't feel she "uses much of her left brain."

Heather said "she didn't understand the concept of left brain, right brain or separation of the two. Samuel told her "she didn't need to think about that concept." "You haven't been polluted by society yet." Steve further elaborated on left brain, right brain functions. "The left brain is logical, rational, time-oriented, sequential and needs proof." "The right brain is spatial, intuitive, where dreams happen, and abstract thinking occurs."

Samuel commented, "Studying the arts permits both." Examples given were music needing to be written before played or drawings usually done before paintings occur.

We then bounced back to participants further defining, What is meaning? Stephanie says, "meaning, purpose and intention are all the same." One needs meaning before purpose can be found. Terri believes "connection turns into purpose." Cathy believes, "the spirit or soul helps you to understand and give meaning to life. It is the essence." Tom agreed.

Samuel added that the word spirit comes from "esprit," which means breathing or to expire.

"Spirit is the breath. Breath is the mover of the universe."

Steve added that "spirit is the constant rhythm that propels you forward." Attilio "doesn't think he has an objectionable purpose in the universe." He believes that "meanings are the justificiation for purpose."

Steve quoted Einstein as saying, "Life is a mystery." Samuel says, "We are the mystery." The puzzle in life is learning to live that mystery.

Working towards quality of life. Steve continued with that learning is essential for finding meaning in life. Learning and understanding knowledge helps to organize the brain and put things in proper perspective.

The next question asked, "What is your personal purpose and meaning in life?" "Passion, a strong desire, and things that I'm excited about tend to give me personal purpose and meaning," Heather said.

Alex realizes meaning by the "highs and lows" in life. He recognizes it by "joy or sadness," and it comes in "different degrees of intensity." Reinhardt thinks the meaning of life is the meeting with all of existence in life. He feels "blessed with meaning" in his personal life, and he believes age does not speak for wisdom.

Wayne feels as if he "doesn't have to tap into the universe. He doesn't feel as though he has to borrow, steal or get meaning from others. He believes we create our own personal meaning and passions."

Next question asked, "Is there original philosophy?" Wayne does not feel as though there is any original philosophy. He believes that we have to invent our own. Stephanie believes that we have to answer questions, seek out goals. She finds meaning in life when she "serves and enriches" other people's lives. She likes to give passion and meaning to her life so that she can give it to others.

Alex asked her what she gets from helping others and Stephanie responded "creating happiness for others." Steve finds that alot of times it is hard to accept praise. Samuel believes that we need to develop our own philosophy and speak for one's self.

Tom says, "we are spirit." We decide to come into this physical plane. It is our goal to remember who we are. We are here to affect the physical plane and to learn lessons, karmic lessons. Cathy says that life is spiritual. Attilio was asking, "what is meaning?"

Vineeta feels as though she's not living up to her potential. Steve feels as though the world "doesn't earn money, it takes money. Everyone takes something for nothing."

The discussion ended with participants giving their definitions of altruism. Points in summary were, knowing that unity is needed, seek to understand the truth, work towards seeing and making true beauty in the world through awareness. Create and spread joy.

Hope to see you there! Invite your friends.

The next Cafe-Salon Philosophique meeting will be held February 20, 1999 at 6:30 p.m. at the Troubadour Bookstore located at 1638 Pearl St., in Boulder CO.

Reported by Alessandra

"Samuel brings awareness to the soul of people and gives the artists who work under his direction the need, dedication, and love for the world of silence and the beautiful art of movement."


- Marcel Marceau, BIP 1961

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LCDS is an independent school for self-discovery through the human Arts.  The school offers seminars and workshops teaching the concepts of Theater, Mime, and Movement.