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Do You Get Me


A Radio Philosopher Writes:


Reflecting the other day on whether or not I mean what I say or indeed succeed in saying what I mean, I was drawn to consider what I mean when I say I mean something. Which is to say: what exactly do I mean and, if I mean it, does it actually mean anything - to me or anyone else? Am I capable of meaning in a properly meaningful sense or is my meaning compromised by my inability to say it meaningfully? I may indeed mean to mean something, but do I really mean it in the sense that my meaning is both meant and meaningful?

Viewed in this way, meaning per se is a slippery old fish - an imperfect container of thoughts, the meaning of which may be unstable over both time and space (actual or conceptual) and may mean other than we mean to mean when we mean to express it meaningfully. So is there an intrinsic meaning to meaning or merely meant meaning and - if I may be so bold - can we really mean something or only mean to mean it and fail in making what we meant to mean clear both to ourselves and others? This I contend is in and of itself a meaningful question. But are we meant to understand it?

Take for example the expression "I meant to do it" - pertaining perhaps to the washing up or an intention/decision to buy wet rather than frozen fish. In what meaningful sense did I mean to do it. Did I mean to do it and failed or did I mean to do it and undertook to do it as a deliberate intentional (even premeditated) and intention-ful act? The example is, of course a trivial one, but in offering it I mean to draw attention not only to the ambiguities and ambivalences of "meaning" as a word [an interesting but ultimately non-meaningful question] but the ontological and epistemological problematics of meaning to mean something et in ipso - not only, as it were, as intention but also as an expression of the desire to express meaningfulness or - might one say - to prevent the absence of meaninglessness. Further, does the absence of meaninglessness pre-suppose the presence of meaningfulness or rather do we mean to imply something altogether more meaningful when we say this? The conjecture is I contend an essential one: meaningful in and of itself but not necessarily capable of meaningful expression.

In all of this all I have really meant to say is that though I have meant to make my meaning clear, I may not have done so, meaning that I failed - or in another sense - triumphed by illustrating the problem with which I began: did I mean what I said and/or have I said what I mean? I mean it's really difficult to know, if you know what I mean.

SUMMARY: It's a tricky one if you get my meaning...

RECOMMENDED READING: Anyone requiring further obfuscation on this important topic should read A.L.Wind and P. Iss [2005] The Meaning of Meaning, Threadbone Press


Readers requiring help in understanding the musing above are advised to consult The Meaning of Meaning by A.L.L. Wind D and P.Iss, wherein they will find little or no enlightenment.

Readers requiring help in understanding the musing above are advised to consult The Meaning of Meaning by A.L.L. Wind D and P.Iss, wherein they will find little or no enlightenment. Alternatively they can get out more.


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