Why Everything is Meaningful

Frivolous chatter is meaningless,” says the man who fancies himself an enlightened intellectual. “I am concerned with greater issues in the world.”

“Why does your head wallow in things so alien to the situation of actual living?” comes the retort. “Why do you call ‘meaningful’ only that which is discussed in your ivory tower?”

Perhaps it is impossible to distinguish degrees of meaning by comparing them relative to one another. The production crew of a sitcom, the aerospace engineering team, the employees of a retail outlet, the screaming fans lining the red carpet, and the facility of a university, all share a common trait: they determine what is ‘meaningful’ based on a shared value set and a way of seeing the world that reflects the views of others around them.

The question, “What is meaningful?” seems to be largely inseparable from, “Who do you value?”

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Creed of the Dogmatic Moderate

I am a hardcore, fundamentalist moderate.

You will not deter me from constantly, tenaciously, and assertively seeking the middle way. The bulwark of my conviction is the pursuit of understanding: I shall never be persuaded to listen to one side at the cost of shutting out the other completely.

My choices, decisions and convictions are works in progress. The jury of my mind stays in habitual deliberation. I move forward with agendas to affect change in the world with the belief that acting, learning, reevaluating and transforming are interdependently inseparable.

The more committed I am to being a moderate, the more skeptical I also become of my own totalizing worldview — of moderation itself — and the more apt I am to question my own presuppositions, assumptions and perspectives.

I am a hardcore, fundamentalist moderate… at least I am today.

Standing for moderation means standing against extremism. The antagonistic forces to moderatism are ideologies which demand conversion and suppress the understanding the other on their own terms.

But compromise is not an option. It is the only way.

It is sheer hypocrisy to seek to “convert” people to “becoming” a “moderate” as if it is itself a kind of religion or sect.

True “moderation” simply seeks only to inspire a greater understanding of others — not to “deconvert”, circumvent or dethrone any particular belief system.

Thus, the creed of the dogmatic moderate: I commit to understanding others, and influencing as many people as I can to do likewise. Every person, of any creed, philosophy or religion can be a dogmatic moderate, for every person has the option of choosing to learn from those who believe and think differently.

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Attention Economy

It was back in 1971 that Herbert Simon suggested that “a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention” and now the difficulty of capturing people’s attention (“a highly perishable commodity“) has some theorists suggesting that the future “attention economy” will have “its own different implicit rules, roles, cycles, values, etc.

If everyone has everyone’s attention the value of attention is nullified. Thus to avoid mental bankruptcy, navigating an “attention economy” means saving, investing and being cunningly conscientious of your own attention.

If you treated your attention as a monetary value, would you be considered broke, middle class or well-invested?

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