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Meaning

Discussed in: Episode 19

Current cognitive science tells us that there are three components of meaning that that contribute to meaning in life. (C.f. work by Samantha Hanselman.)

  • Sense of coherence (nomological order). “The more coherent, the more intelligible, the more things fit together for you, the more real they are, the more meaningful you find your life.”
  • Sense of significance (normative order). “How deep in reality, how good are the elements of your life?”
  • Sense of purpose (narrative order). “Does your life have a direction? Is it moving in a course?”

“Meaning is to have a nomological order that connects us to what is real, it is to have a normative order that connects us not intellectually, but existentially to what is good so that we can become better. Meaning is to have a narrative order that tells us how we can move forward through history, both collective and individual history. But what I’ve tried to show you is that these are not three separate things. They’re like the three dimensions of the space of meaning, the three axes of the space of meaning.”