A Functioning Human Being—The Meaning Of







End Of My Bicycle Trips—Not The End Of My Blog

I enjoy posting on my WordPress blog. This experience, for me, is always worthwhile. However, in addition to deriving emotional benefit from my posts, I also have an intellectual investment, more often than not, in what I post. Because my philosophy is, as far as I can tell, unique, my philosophy has a credibility gap. However, intellectual ideas, if credible, have a history. Soon—my more academic posts, will describe some of that history. Not only will I describe the relevant history that supports my philosophy, I will also describe some of the necessary implications that arise as a consequence of my philosophy.

My “future time MV dialogue” precedes the start of my academic posts and, as of this writing, I have decided to post some questions and answers before I even get to the MV dialogue. A while back, I participated in Yahoo’s question and answer forum where participants solicit answers to their questions. I’ve decided to post some of those questions with my answers—over the next week. My hope is that these answers will serve as an introduction to what these “new eyes” (new perspective) entail when one gazes out upon nature, mind, and divinity; “new eyes” that evolved out of my studies in the academic disciplines of structuralism, epistemology, and symbolic interactionism self-concepts.

[Footnote: My answers to the YA questions that I will be posting over the course of the next week are based on my philosophy of life, a philosophy that one could say began a long, long, time ago when a Professor (Zoology) of mine told the class (in reference to how he will teach his class) “function always follows structure.” The truth of the matter is that in the biological sciences the debate concerning structure first or function first is still going on, but the debate, for me, ended (actually it never even began) with the words of my Professor. In fact, now, for me, without structure, debate itself, would not be possible. Anyway, I just thought I’d say right up front that my answers to the YA questions I am about to post are grounded in my belief: Structure first and everything else second—even God. Also, the Zoology pictures/drawings that introduce these Q&A posts were drawn by me while looking down a microscope as part of the lab work for that late 1960’s Zoology class.]

So let’s begin! The five central ideas behind Symbolic Interactionism describe, I believe, what it means to be a human being. In order to get to this level (and beyond for a select few—not me) is what my philosophy is all about. According to Wikipedia:


Five Central Ideas Behind Symbolic Interactionism

There are five central ideas to symbolic interactionism according to Joel M. Charon, author of Symbolic Interactionism An Introduction, An Interpretation, An Integration.

1. “The human being must be understood as a social person. It is the constant search for social interaction that leads us to do what we do. Instead of focusing on the individual and his or her personality, or on how the society or social situation causes human behavior, symbolic interactionism focuses on the activities that take place between actors. Interaction is the basic unit of study. Individuals are created through interaction; society too is created through social interaction. What we do depends on interaction with others earlier in our lifetimes, and it depends on our interaction right now. Social interaction is central to what we do. If we want to understand cause, focus on social interaction.

2. The human being must be understood as a thinking being. Human action is not only interaction among individuals but also interaction within the individual. It is not our ideas or attitudes or values that are as important as the constant active ongoing process of thinking. We are not simply conditioned, we are not simply beings who are influenced by those around us, we are not simply products of society. We are, to our very core, thinking animals, always conversing with ourselves as we interact with others. If we want to understand cause, focus on human thinking.

3. Humans do not sense their environment directly, instead, humans define the situation they are in. An environment may actually exist, but it is our definition of it that is important. Definition does not simply randomly happen; instead, it results from ongoing social interaction and thinking.

4. The cause of human action is the result of what is occurring in our present situation. Cause unfolds in the present social interaction, present thinking, and present definition. It is not society’s encounters with us in our past, that causes action nor is it our own past experience that does. It is, instead, social interaction, thinking, definition of the situation that takes place in the present. Our past enters into our actions primarily because we think about it and apply it to the definition of the present situation.

5. Human beings are described as active beings in relation to their environment. Words such as conditioning, responding, controlled, imprisoned, and formed are not used to describe the human being in symbolic interaction. In contrast to other social-scientific perspectives humans are not thought of as being passive in relation to their surroundings, but actively involved in what they do.”


About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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One Response to A Functioning Human Being—The Meaning Of

  1. bwinwnbwi says:

    “We are, to our very core, thinking animals, always conversing with ourselves as we interact with others. If we want to understand cause, focus on human thinking.” Quote from above.

    In 1922, Werner Heisenberg, as a student, asked his professor and friend-to-be, Niels Bohr, “If the inner structure of the atom is as closed to descriptive accounts as you say, if we really lack a language for dealing with it, how can we ever hope to understand atoms?” Bohr hesitated for a moment and then said, “I think we may yet be able to do so. But in the process we may have to learn what the word `understanding’ really means.”

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