Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Depth of meaning

We are most happy when the depth of meaning we are able to create with something matches the amount of reality it is able to provide.

Naomi Klein's book "No Logo", while often times frustrating to read due to the naivete about implications of her idealistic view had some interesting tangential implications.

In one section she complains of how, as children, she and her brothers would run around the house of her hippie parents shouting commercial slogans like "cukoo for Cocoa Puffs". Reading between the lines, it seems like the complaint is the obvious superficiality of these ideas. They have no depth and hence little meaning. However this raises an interesting question. Shouldn't the amount of meaning one is able to get from something determine it's appropriateness? It seems like too often people, like perhaps Klein, assume that we base our judgments on collective ideas of appropriate depth and usefullness. Unfortunately for Klein, she assumes that the minority progressive counter culture elite should get to tell the majority what they should like. But doesn't this fail to take into account the amount of meaning an individual may actually be able to get from something. For kids, "cukoo for cocoa puffs" may actually mean more than any anti-burgeouse rallying cry. While it may not lead to much, isn't is naive to force people into things that are not understandable or meaningful for their reality? In this sense, always planning for the future may mean you have no base on which to progress.

In terms of the gospel, it is interesting that lack of a systematic theology seems to imply that relative value may be more important that absolute value. If not, wouldn't we have more focus on the incomprehensible (abstract doctrine) than on the applicable (faith repentance baptism)? What we do with things may be more important that what we could do with things. Of course this may just be my empirical leanings coming through.

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