Day 988: What does it all mean?

Every once in a while, I think

What does it all mean?

What does it all mean, when I think that?

Well, it might mean that I’m confronting:

  • change,
  • hope,
  • confusion,
  • concern,
  • the unexpected,
  • disappointment,
  • spirituality,
  • risks,
  • mortality,
  • all sorts of feelings, or
  • the unknown, in myself and in others.

Do you ever think (or even say out loud)

What does it all mean?

What does it mean when you do that?

Yesterday, as I and other people were wondering

What does it all mean?

… I took these photos:

IMG_4845 IMG_4848 IMG_4850 IMG_4851 IMG_4852 IMG_4853

IMG_4854 IMG_4855 IMG_4856 IMG_4859

IMG_4858 IMG_4861

IMG_4865

What do all those photos mean to you, dear readers?

The word “mean” reminds me, right now, about something that happened yesterday at work.  I and somebody else googled this bumper sticker:

Mean people suck.

What does it all mean, that we did that?  Because of confidentiality, I cannot tell you. However, I will tell you that the bumper stickers we found all cost less than 5 dollars.

What does it all mean that I include YouTube videos in these posts?

That‘s Emily Levine trying to explain  “What Does it All Mean?”  at a Ted Talk in 2014.

What will it all mean, to me, if you leave a comment?

A lot.

Meaningful thanks to Emily Levine, to all the people and cats who helped me create this post, and to you — of course! — for whatever meaning you make of this, today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , | 36 Comments

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36 thoughts on “Day 988: What does it all mean?

  1. I don’t really know what it all means Ann. I really, really don’t. Maybe that’s just it. We aren’t really supposed to know what it means. Maybe life is like an interpretive dance, everyone has a different take on it and the dance of life is their own, with it’s unique meaning.
    I like the photos, but the one that makes me think, is the one with the plants way up high. I wonder, how does one get up there to water them?
    Have a superb Tuesday!!!!!

    • I don’t know what it all means either, SD. I also don’t know what it means that when I invite people to write, draw, or otherwise express their thoughts and feelings about a topic in a therapy group, I often add, “Or, you could do an interpretive dance.” I think your comment means that you care about people and other living things.

  2. I think we are the ones who ‘give meaning’ and we get to choose the meaning we give…

    Yesterday I fell on the ground and realized — there is no meaning in the fall, other than the fact I fell and I’m okay. In fact, I’m pretty impressed with how my body has responded! 🙂

    I love that TedTalk — thanks for sharing it!

    And the meaning you give to my day is always filled with thoughts of joy, love, friendship, community, wonder and awe.

  3. I know this may sound negative, but as a naturalist all I can say is that the human race is the most vulnerable of all living species, and that humans just lack the ability to adapt. We have language and art to use as it began with prehistoric societies, but even that didn’t help, it even added to the sense of insecurity and feelings for a lack of God to protect us. When existentialism came, all these issues began to be addressed, although Plato and Socrates were already addressing them in their times:

    • The reason I brought Nietzsche up was because of his analysis of what he calls “slave morality”, which for him was brought on by religion and christianity. Plato employed the maxim ‘Know Thyself’ extensively by having the character of Socrates use it to motivate his dialogues. Plato makes it clear that Socrates is referring to a long-established wisdom. According to Nietzsche, this was only possible if one gave up this “slave morality” and owned up to one’s potential (overcoming jealousy or feelings of shame), for me it’s the basis for understanding what existentialism really means. The “what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger”, which was his most famous maxim, I think is addressing what Emily Levine said at the Ted Talk; one has to find that ‘balance’ to overcome feelings of shame and guilt; but how? Through “overcoming”, to having the courage to “own up” for what one wants or needs. Only through this test does one become, “what one is”. What he means has to do with element of ‘risk’ in one’s life. Just how far is one willing to go, how much courage does one really have, to become, what one is. This is why for him, Christianity did not help, because it provided too much shelter and fostered cowardice. As I’ve aged, however, I’ve come to realize that the older I’ve become, the harder it is to take risks; so this is not always as easy as Nietzsche made it sound.

    • Maria, I am very grateful to you and Nietzsche today, for helping us understand much more about what it all means. ❤

  4. Go with the flow!

  5. Doing okay with depression now? I have just been through a bad spot myself. I just go with paint to lose words

  6. When I was in high school I had an English teacher who had us read William Carlos Williams’s “The Red Wheelbarrow”, then talked at length about how, being mere high school students, we couldn’t possibly understand what that poem meant and that if we went to college and studied very hard we might be smart enough to comprehend it. She was quite serious, and I would go on to major in English in spite of her and learn that Williams’s poem meant exactly what it says. And while I felt some frustration with that teacher I also think that, unintentionally, she was appealing to our sense of pride, challenging us to prove her wrong. It’s a useful shift in perspective.
    I’m surprised Emily Levine didn’t mention Keats’s “negative capability”, the idea that the mind should be a “thoroughfare for all thoughts” and that two contradictory ideas can be held at the same time without canceling each other out–one meaning of the phrase “Mean people suck”.
    I’m still not sure what all this means, but it means so much to me that Oscar helped you write this.

    • This all means a great deal to me, Chris. At first, I thought your English teacher was mean, but you helped me find more meanings in her actions and in your reactions. I wonder what it means that we both majored in English and that we both found Keats and negative capability so meaningful. Oscar appreciates your meaning, also.

  7. NotAPunkRocker

    I find myself wondering that a lot recently…then I think, “So, what should I do now?”

    • Whenever I wonder what it all means, I eventually wonder what non-mean and meaningful step I want to take next. What I mean to say to you is this: I love this meaningful comment!

  8. I love your googling cat. Like us, animals have their own business they’re going about most of the time. It adds meaning to see it.

  9. I was not familiar with Emily Levine…an interesting speech. Finding that balance between control and chaos…has been a lifelong quest for us all. A thoughtful post, Ann. ❤️ Be well.

  10. Wow! Cool Blog! Glad I found it! Look forward to exploring here! Light and Love, Shona

  11. The past 2 days being Rosh Hashana had me thinking just that. What was, what will be, and what does it all mean? No answers just yet.

  12. What’s the point of knowing?

  13. I mean well, Ann, and sometimes am surprised to hear that I’ve come off as, well, a little mean, even when I didn’t mean to even a little!

  14. Pingback: Share Your World 2015 – Week 37 | Mama Cormier

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