|Photo by BernardP|
Modernity is characterized by the fact that man has emerged from his in-ness in a horizon, from his containment in a womb; all the facts discussed under the heading “the end of in-ness” above are evidence to this development. Of course I am here not speaking about empirical individuals. When I say “man” here, I am speaking about the general form of the logical constitution of being human, the concept or logic as the medium of the existence of a concrete empirical individual. Man has emerged from the ocean of meaning. He raised his head above the surface of the ocean and now has it out in the open. He has awakened from the One Dream or Sandplay that existence in the world had been and now is fundamentally and irrevocably extra ecclesiam, as Jung had pointed out, as well as extra naturam. He has lost his myths, his symbols. He now looks back down upon consciousness at large from outside. The flight to the moon and beyond to other planets, the observation of planet Earth from satellites, the looking back down upon the Earth from outer space: all this is the technical objectification of the psychological fact that consciousness has now taken a position outside itself and has become aware of itself and of man as consciousness. He has hatched from the Orphic world egg (End Of Meaning, by Wolfgang Geigerich).
Man has emerged from the ocean of meaning and has no idea what he has emerged from. He does not recall what he has lost. This is why we ask the question, “What is the meaning of life?” Man once swam in meaning, but now he has walked out of it and cannot remember from whence he came.
Spending one’s life searching for meaning seems to have the opposite effect, i.e. the more one searches, the more life seems meaningless. It is akin to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which states that
the more precisely one variable is known, the less precisely the other is known. This is not a statement about the limitations of a researcher’s ability to measure particular quantities of a system, but rather about the nature of the system itself (Wikipedia).
I can say it no better than Geigerich himself:
What is the delusion? The search for meaning seeks something that cannot be sought, because any seeking for it destroys what is to be gained. Meaning is not an entity that could be had, not a creed, a doctrine, a worldview, also not something like the fairytale treasure hard to attain. It is not semantic, not a content. Meaning, where it indeed exists, is first of all an implicit fact of existence, its a priori. It can never be the answer to a question; it is, conversely, an unquestioned and unquestionable certainty that predates any possible questioning. It is the groundedness of existence, a sense of embeddedness in life, of containment in the world—perhaps we could even say of in-ness as the logic of existence as such. Meaning exists if the meaning of life is as self-evident as the in-ness in water is for fish (ibid.).