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What Does It Mean

Updated on March 28, 2023

We invented the words and languages to communicate the meaning of our intention and actions, to understand the meanings of what are happening around us politically, socially, and economically, and to explore the meanings of our life in special and of life on Earth in general.

In order to:

  1. Have a healthy social life, we need to have meaningful relationships with as many people around us as possible.

  2. Make plans for the future, we need to have a meaningful present.

  3. Justify our existence and moral conviction, we need to know that every occurrence has a meaningful outcome.

    Our life is too complex to be without meaning beyond the survival of the fittest. Behind Nature’s unpredictability, randomness, and live-and-let-die scenes, there are order, logic, and meaning. We are the only living thing in Nature evolved with the capability to ponder the answer to What Does It Mean.



With the same words, depending on how they are spoken and under what circumstance they are spoken, they can have different meanings. There are ideas that are floating in our mind that no among of words can convey. Our intended meaning can be misinterpreted and misunderstood due to preconception and subjectivity. Our relationship with the people around us is very complex. There are times that we do not want the others to know the true meaning of our action. When we are with our friends:

  1. We do not have to second guess the meaning of every piece of conversation and action,

  2. We talk about private life, family relationship, and office gossips,

  3. We exchange gifts during holidays, and offer/accept personal help when in need.

    All these happen without having to spend time to reflect on What Does It Mean.

It is another story when we interact with strangers and casual acquaintances:

  1. We are careful with the meanings of whatever we say and do,

  2. Questions like what you do at work, which school you went to, and what is your view on birth control, may have simple meaning but different implication to different people,

  3. A simple gift or good natured helping hand can mean unsolicited favor or unwanted friendship.



In order to live in harmony, wealth, and health in the man-made world, we not only have to be aware of what are happening but also have to know what they mean:

  1. When a democratic president is in the White House, we know that it means the government spending for the public welfare will increase, the defense spending will reduce, the trading with the foreign countries are encouraged with lower tariffs, etc. Knowing what the government may do enables us to be more aware of how our own ways of life can change and how we can make adjustments harmoniously.

  2. With a continued bull market, we know that it means the economy will be better, unemployment lowered, inflation higher, interest rate rising, etc. With all these information, we can plan our investment and or business developments accordingly.

  3. With the non-stopped discovery and introduction of new drugs, medical devices and procedures to fix our injuries, illness, and sickness, we know that it means we can expect to live a long life. If we can also eat a regular nutritious meal and do regular exercise, a long and healthy life is not out of question.


Why are we all different not only in appearance but also in mental and physical capabilities? Why some people are born into a life of affluence while some have to struggle to make ends meet all their life? We have a lot of choices to live our life but there are limitations. We try our best to drive safely and have a healthy life style but we are all at the mercy of tragic accidents, incurable diseases, and genetic predisposition:

  1. Is life unfair? – While some can be doctor or composer, others can only be janitor or office worker. While some can be banker or scientist, others can only be thief or murderer.

  2. Is life unjust? – While there are people who have committed horrible crime getting to live to old age with impunity, there are people who never hesitate to lend a helping hand to the needy people having their life cut short due to traffic accident or illness.

  3. Is life only about live and let die? – While we have enjoyed tremendous population growth and a steady increase of living standards, we are also plagued by world wars, regional conflicts, and wide spread disease epidemics that almost wiped out the whole population.

    We have found that life not only is all these things but also has hidden meanings that make our existence worthwhile, No matter who, what, and how a person is:

  1. One has at least a friend whom the person can share the inner feelings and secrets with,

  2. One has experienced a love for and or from someone, and

  3. One will leave behind something that will affect some lives into the future.



It is our instinct to know What Does It Mean. As a result, our life is no longer just for survival; our life has become a meaningful existence:

  1. At a young age, we learn the meanings of family, friendship, and faith. These intangible ideas will help us live a healthy, happy, and holistic existence later in life,

  2. As an adult, we learn the meanings of independence, insecurity, and indifference. These intangible feelings can make our existence undesirable, miserable, and intolerable,

  3. At old age, we learn the meanings of forgetfulness, forgiveness, and fate. These intangible concepts have made us realize that along the journey of life, there were choices, changes, and chances that affected the path but not its intended course.

    We are the only animal endowed with the gifts that enable us to understand:

  1. What is going on in Nature and to make use of its resources,

  2. The meaning of life in Nature and to make an effort for a meaningful existence.


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