significance & the cleaved κόσμος

It seems that we are blessed with a kind of necessity of explanation for our κόσμος, a beginning in the simple mesh of old gods and reigning elements. Without such an ability to create a Whole as an answer, we would be in the order of schizophrenics, finding too much and not enough lasting connection between. As we begin to attribute new and more complex meaning (significance, Heidegger's Bedeutung) to our perceived reality, we dispense with each old order-as-κόσμος; the Whole grows and changes and yet, in its larger abstract sense, remains the same.

We narrate what was formerly the order of things back to ourselves as attributes of our history, but now as human creation; what was us also forms us. It is a first-order κόσμος for the original narrator, because the teller of myths tells what is; he or she explains the workings of the universe, and it would be cynical to denigrate this by using the word 'belief'. It becomes second-order for those who separate the story† from its present tense, where it becomes an external element able to be placed on abstract 'man'; it is now part of me, but as history, and filled with the horrors and wonders of history, i.e. not in the form of single events, but in the form of "what is man" the creature - history as social genetics. 

In the modern world, the explanation is given pride of place as the underlying κόσμος and man takes equal place as engineer, the modern schizophrenic forming-element wherein lies the potential to choose, control, and change one's future. We have realised our imaginative power in creating the connections that form our interpretation - that loaded word - and it is the past, howsoever fashioned, that founds our actions. Now Bedeutung is split between two irreconcilable worlds that only make sense in relation; the past, to be interpreted, and 'man', who uses the past to shape the future.

Significance gives over to formula, but without teleological trajectory, or with so many trajectories that it ends up as the same thing. And we wonder why people opt for an original first-order κόσμος? God isBedeutung. Or we give existential significance to art, or humanity, or Nature, or science. For those who refuse, comfort is taken in their knowledge of the meaninglessness of it all. They inhabit the space of ateleological movement in any and all directions, because such back and forth don't exist for first-order meaning, but they are all that exists for formula. 

The past and all the underlying first-order stories, scientific, philosophic, and religious, that constitute the 'is' and 'was' of man are information to be used in a certain way for the future. And now perhaps the problem is that comfort in meaninglessness is stretched thin and moral meaning is all but swept away. Perhaps we become all-pervasive narcissists with ironic regard for both future and past, or we become trapped in the mires of an unsatisfying depression (for even depressions can be enjoyable if they are meaningful, as will attest much art and many histories), in which we are unable to give forward significance whilst moving nonetheless. These two clear temporal directions leave the present impoverished and we become joyless on the back of this unknown formula for our future. 

Do we renew our comfort each time we examine ourselves and understand a bit more? It's meaningless, but at least I know it is. Take comfort in that. We lose faith, examine the loss, and take comfort. The storehouse grows and will never be satisfactory. The funeral is endless. Perhaps one day our bodies grow tired and we give ourselves over to meaning, a revolution in the world of sense. All great women and men are energised in some profound way. And the profundity lies in its not being chosen; no good formula for passion. 

† The word 'story' is less cynical than belief, because narrations are inherent in all forms of telling-what-is; science isn't taught from the most complex fundamentals, but starts at the simple fundamentals. The mind must sufficiently incorporate and habituate to these orders of knowledge before it looks deeper or further. "If I have seen further it is by standing on ye sholders of Giants." Newton well knew.