Coming face to face with how we make meaning
“The world is out there, but descriptions of the world are not. Descriptions of the world can be true or false—the world on its own, unaided by [language], cannot. The world does not speak. Only we do.”*
Transformation is the process of becoming aware of how and why our assumptions have come to constrain the way we perceive, understand, and feel about our world.
We live in a world where meaning is attached to almost everything, but not as if we were the ones who put the meaning out there. We think it’s really out there. Questioning that has us come face to face with our structure of meaning, which defines our relationship with the world and gives us a hold on our identity. We relate to ourselves as existing in space and time, and from different roles. We take for granted that we just are a particular way with no real thought to the actual nature of being. Coming to know being in a new way allows us to directly impact who we are, how we see, how we act. How the world occurs for us and the way we deal with the world are shaped by language. There is no “is” world, or as Nietzsche says “…there are no facts in themselves. For a fact to exist we must first introduce meaning.”
Because we speak and listen, we have access to our selves. We have the power to alter the way the world with which we’re engaged occurs for us. In recognizing that, we come to know in a new way—we transform some part of how we make meaning. Transformation is a departure from familiar notions of selfhood (free from interpretations with which we have unwittingly identified) and addresses instead the being part of being human. That is where the infinite possibility of living an extraordinary life actually lies.
*Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony and Solidarity, 1989
Landmark Forum leader
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