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Philosophy & Action Essays
Volume X - Essay #91: July 2009

"Meaning and Purpose"

        Virtually nothing that most people do is from Free Choice. The Culture-Structure has pre-programmed you all since birth to be a mindless cog in the machinery of Consumerism. Your primary desires are Materialistic or Hedonistic, collapsed into a false merger with Survival.
        Like over-populated lemmings, the societies of Planet Earth charge toward the precipice, never stopping to Reason, to Choose, to seek the guidance of one's Self – much less guidance from Silence. If you do attempt any such contemplation, you will be pushed aside or trampled by the mindless mob behind you.

        The Universe is Existential; the Culture-Structure of Mankind is not. A plethora (love that word!) of False Meaning is crammed into every subservient individual, which is the supreme False Purpose of each and every local segment of the Culture-Structure. This False Purpose is to keep you running the proverbial treadmill, the Rat Race. And as Lily Tomlin has pointed out: "The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat."

        The first requirement of becoming a Free Individual is setting aside ALL of the (False) Meaning that was forced upon you by the Culture-Structure, of the Culture-Structure and for the Culture-Structure. All of it, each and every, one at a time, now and forever.
        This is not to say that you should reject all such meaning, for that is merely knee-jerk resistance. Refusing to pay taxes, refusing to marry and-or propagate, refusing to participate in the marketplace or the election process – these are negative actions and such re-action merely gives the same power away as does blindly obeying the dictates of the Culture-Structure. You play the game by refusing to play the game: switching to 'not that' is not any different.

        What has to take place is giving up Meaning itself. All Meaning. The existential act of choosing 'No Meaning' is the eye of the needle thru which you – all Mankind – must go. Not easy, but Life is not easy, nor standing as an Individual against the (False) Meaning machine that is the Culture-Structure.
        Besides, how easy is your life now, going along with the Culture-Structure? You have no Self, no Choice, no Satisfaction in life, Life is empty of real Meaning while you agree to and settle for the False Meaning that the Culture-Structure is built on.

v                    v

        A simple methodology for setting aside all False Meaning is to live from the context of Empowerment. When you stand on Empowerment, you cannot act from False Meaning, the two realms are mutually exclusive – just as the self-generated context of Love displaces Hatred, and just as the self-generated context of Purpose displaces Hope.
        For some of you, this can be a memorable day, The Day when you threw off the shackles of False Meaning. For others, it will be an on-going struggle to discover another damn False Meaning and turn loose of it – by standing in Empowerment and maintaining each new opening, and then searching for another False Meaning, an on-going search.
        What becomes available after the commitment to existential Self-hood [No Meaning] is that you can then begin to construct Freely-Chosen Meaning and Purpose. You will then call the shots in your Life as an Individual using Reason, which to the extent that you invoke it, will displace the silly and dis-empowering anti-Reason [False] Meaning provided by the Culture-Structure.
v                    v

        The Universe provides no a priori inherent Meaning for Life. The quest for the Official Meaning of Life is a distraction, so that you and all Mankind have no access to Power.
        All this False Meaning that you inherited was made up. If some Official Meaning actually existed, then why has the Culture-Structure not located it? Folks have been pretending to look for the Official Meaning of Life since Mankind first walked upright, so where the hell is it??
        The good news and the bad news is that no such Official Meaning of Life exists. Bad news for the Oligarchy when this knowledge becomes widespread, because all the meaningless crap – the treadmill, the rat race – that drives ancient & modern societies becomes visibly meaning-LESS!
        The good news is that Meaning, like Wealth, can only be created by the Individual. Meaning exists only because you say so: If you parrot some inherited False Meaning, then nothing is created. But notice the pressure from the Culture-Structure to lend credence to 'benefits' of you committing to their False Meanings: if you had no inherent Power, then why would they brainwash you to do their bidding?
        ONLY an Individual can create Meaning, and it is as simple as speaking that Meaning into existence.
        The other good news is that you surrendered your natural right to create Meaning by parroting all those empty False Meanings of the Culture-Structure – money, fame, 'fun', status, security – none of which have or will produce a satisfying Life. But if you once surrendered it, all you have to do to regain your Power is to say "No more!".

        You all have no idea how to create Meaning. What is required to create Meaning is giving up all the inherited False Meaning and stand in existential Nothing, or 'No Meaning'. From there, the Individual Self can invent Created Meaning – Freely-Chosen Meaning and Purpose.
        One way to clarify this process is to choose freely to create Empowerment. Standing in Empowerment, the Meaning that you create will not be False.

        So even if what you create seems to appear the same as before, you will be in an entirely different ballgame. Take 'family', for example: the inherited False Meaning of 'family' has no Power, things don't work, grudges persist, the concept comes with a ton of baggage – mothers are such a way, fathers & sons & daughters are this way, relatives are like this or that. What the Culture-Structure provides as Family is a messy soap opera – surf across the cable channels and the news – or some pseudo-deal like "Father Knows Best" which is delivered in the context 'not real'.
        But the Freely-Chosen Meaning of Family is fresh and clean when invented from No-Meaning. What you create from there has no baggage, you can create Family as it should be: Family as Love, as Communication, as Warmth, as Laughter, as Contribution – down the generations past & present.

        The other good news is that once you invent yourself as a Free Individual, nobody can take it away from you. They can kill you for it, but they can never take it from you. In point of fact, the Culture-Structure is designed so that you all surrender Meaning & Power on-goingly: Stop giving it away, halt the surrender of the Self, and you will retain all the inherent Natural Power that you can possibly need. While you create and maintain Freely-Chosen Meaning and Purpose, nobody can take it away – no way, no how!
        Your Self-hood cannot be taken away. The only reason that you lost it was because the Culture-Structure cheated you by offering their False Meaning in its place. All you had to do in return was to surrender your Power . . .
        All that is necessary to recover your Power as an Individual is to Stand AS an Individual from this time forth. The Individual can then throw off the shackles of False Meaning by the mere existential Act of Will of saying so, and then inventing freely: creating bright and shiny new Meaning, which cannot be taken away.

v                    v

        During the Summer this essay was created, I was party to a one-on-one conversation on this subject (in the context of homework from a Landmark Education seminar). And when the other person asked "Why bother?", my ad hoc response went over quite well. In writing it down later to append to this essay, it evolved into a poem. (I don't try to be a poet, but I never argue with my muse.)

the world takes no notice
as I strap on my rusty armor
(that chafes at every joint)
and clamber up to sit upon
the skittish steed
that is my Purpose

the windmill takes no notice
as I lower my wobbly lance
and jab my spurs against the flanks
of my tired and wheezing mount
and point myself hell-bent toward the looming giant

the world may take no notice
or if it sees, not care
but for a moment or two
my Purpose is my Self

and for a moment or two
my Life is such
that I feel the wind upon my face

v                    v

        How you will know that you got this done, that you have chosen a Meaning that is sufficiently challenging, is that your new Freely-Chosen Meaning sings in your veins, and when you are In Action per your Stand In The Matter, you will experience the sharp thrill of the wind upon your face – and experience that you are empowered.

        How you will know that your new Freely-Chosen Meaning will provide Power is that only YOU can get this job done, and that the outcome is not certain, that if you do not take this on, to completion, then it will not happen.
        Save the whales? World peace? Other people are doing something about these matters, though much more needs to happen. But what about that book or invention that you've been thinking about for years, that you 'put on the back burner', what about that? Or what about doubling the reading scores at the school that your kids go to? Or what about organizing your neighborhood to replace the blight of poverty with the presence of Pride – those are big enough Meanings that you will have to generate Power, by empowering others.
        Said another way, your new Freely-Chosen Meaning isn't big enough unless it requires you to give it away to others.
        The bigger your commitment, and the more daunting it may seem at first, the more that will be required of you, the more empowerment your commitment will generate, and the less you need care about the rancid, not-working False Values of the Culture-Structure – standing in Empowerment, your choices will empower others, and the satisfaction in your accomplishment increases accordingly.

        This Working Minds Philosophy of Empowerment thing is what I have taken on, and it won't get done unless I generate a far greater reach, get a huge conversation started, put billboards along the freeways here and there, get written up in Time Magazine or be interviewed by Oprah – like that.
        The central Meaning and Purpose of the Working Minds Philosophy of Empowerment is the Fulfillment of Mankind's Potential; in order to do anything about that I must ongoingly get off my butt and fulfill MY potential, which automatically requires that I enroll legions of others in fulfilling THEIR potential. Tough job, but there is no better Life than living into a Future that requires your Self to push the proverbial envelope, to expand beyond your comfort zone, to risk possible failure, to Put Your Life On The Line for a Freely-Chosen Meaning and Purpose.

        Once you generate and maintain momentum in such empowering activities – in each and every area of your Life – then there can be no turning back.
        Your Life has Freely-Chosen Meaning!, and the Oligarchy has lost another mindless minion – you are free!

        Once you are empowered – once you empower your Self – nobody can take it away.

        Just step off the treadmill of the Culture-Structure and you will be free.

[copyright 2003 & 2009 by Gary Edward Nordell, all rights reserved]

First published on the WMail Philosophy Newsletter Volume IV Issue #34 in August 2003, and now revised
and also the basis for the website Meaning & Purpose / Working Minds Philosophy of Empowerment

This essay is excerpted from Chapter Nine of my forthcoming book, "Working Minds: A Philosophy of Empowerment".

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