The Table Video

Finding vs. Making Meaning

Finding vs. Making Meaning


And I also like the idea of using the term finding meaning rather than making meaning. Because for me, I know that it’s used a lot, making meaning, but for me, if I’m trying to make meaning, I feel like I’m taking LEGO blocks and I’m trying to put them together and I’m trying to build something up so that I can make sense of this in a very cognitive way. But if I take this approach of finding meaning, then I think, well, I’m gonna look around me, and is there meaning in this world? Is there meaning here? And kind of looking for it. I find that quite helpful.

And in fact, that’s where religion comes in, right? So people from a variety of fields, philosophers, cultural psychologists, I’m thinking of several authors, have made the point that one of the primary functions of religions is to provide some kind of guidance for suffering, for encountering a suffering in the world.

And the feel that I’ve done some work in post-traumatic growth, it’s recognized that the most robust, meaning-making systems are religions. They go from birth to death. They go from the beginning of time to the end of time. They address everything in between. And so there’s a sense in which they are usually the systems that people turn to try to understand what’s happening in life. So I agree with you. Finding meaning is probably the most helpful term here.