Free flow of meaning

This is a post in my organizing ”between and beyond” series. Other posts are here.

Arleta Griffor has written two essays in The Search for Meaning, which is a book edited by Paavo Pylkkänen. Griffor writes about the self-organizing nature of the implicate order and how to deal with misinformation, among other things. This post is based on Griffor’s second essay Mind and its Wholeness.1

Limited and fixed meanings
David Bohm makes the point that meanings, which constitute the content of consciousness, are limited. There is nothing wrong with this as long as the meanings correctly inform activity within its limits.2 The limitation of meanings becomes serious, if not destructive, when meanings are applied beyond the limits within which they are relevant.3 What is serious is that activity becomes a self-sustaining trap when meanings are fixed. One example of such a trap is to hold rigidly to one’s worldview. Attributing absolute necessity to fixed and limited meanings is a common contradiction. It is a dominant factor in the generative order of society.4

Misinformation, self-deception, and violence
Misinformation is inappropriate, rather than simply incorrect, generative information.5 Misinformation is destructive. Individuals and groups who are entrapped in incompatible assumptions and presuppositions cannot do otherwise than to protect themselves against the threat which they represent for each other. This protection takes the form of self-deception and violence.6

Multiplication of misinformation
The world in which we live is shaped by our meanings. Meanings are fundamentally confused in a world full of conflict and violence.7 Meanings constitute the very essence of what we are. If the essence is gone, we are gone as well.8 Misinformation multiplies because new meanings are superimposed on old ones.9 Contradictory attempts to clear up misinformation create more misinformation. Meanings become inbuilt in our consciousness. Past misinformation is active now, informing the outward order of human life and the inward order of consciousness.10

Consciousness and profound perception
The only way to meet the challenge in a relevant way is to transform the order of consciousness.11 To reach the source of the generative order, perception has to be very profound indeed. What is needed is a total shift at the core of the mind’s order of activity.12 If this possibility is actualized, there wouldn’t be any need to impose additional, thought-created order.13 Attempts to impose order on human beings, for example with rewards and punishments, result in further fragmentation and conflict. Imposing order is an attempt to create order starting from the wrong end.14

Free flow of meaning
Bohm suggested that free flow of meaning is primary. It is actualized as a two-way activity where meaning shapes the points of view, and the points of view shapes the meaning. Dialogue is an example of this. Dialogue is different from ordinary discussion where people argue from fixed positions. Discussion doesn’t lead beyond existing meanings.15 Dialogue, on the other hand, creates new common meaning, shared by the whole group.16 Dialogue is a creative movement of unfolding of ever more subtle and new meanings in contact with the whole.17

1 Paavo Pylkkänen (editor), The Search for Meaning: The New Spirit in Science and Philosophy, (Crucible, 1989), pp. 295–315.
2 Ibid., p. 295.
3 Ibid., pp. 295–296.
4 Ibid., p. 296.
5 Ibid., p. 314.
6 Ibid., p. 297.
7 Ibid..
8 Ibid., p. 298.
9 Ibid., p. 303.
10 Ibid..
11 Ibid., p. 305.
12 Ibid., p. 308.
13 Ibid., p. 309.
14 Ibid..
15 Ibid., p. 312.
16 Ibid., p. 313.
17 Ibid., p. 314.


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