The Sociologist Simmel shares my view: As George Simmel (1918) put it: “We are our boundaries.”
Psychological problems sometimes arise when we refuse to recognize that our “essential being” is a continual process of “differentiation.” Again, according to Simmel, the individual is a sociological category, in so far as she/he is a stranger to the category, and, the individual is a stranger, in so far as she/he is a sociological category. In this respect, the individual is neither social nor individual, she/he is the boundary that simultaneously separates the individual from society and joins the individual to society.
Meaning of life—What is it?
Thinking our way back to where we came from (a homecoming of sorts) is “the boundary problem of the meaning of life.” Most of us know our birthplace, but that’s not good enough—a more universal homecoming is what’s called for, — which is one reason why we have so many religions! But, I’m not talking about the use of scripture to justify this or that religion. Language cannot describe what I mean by “homecoming.” The homecoming path that I am talking about runs through language,– language at its source. In Cartesian Linguistics (1966, p. 29), Noam Chomsky says: “The limitless possibilities of language expression are constrained only by rules of concept formation and sentence formation, these being in part particular and idiosyncratic but in part universal, a common human endowment.” Our “homecoming” must not only take us back to “the individual as stranger,” but also to the human endowment which entails “concept formation at its source” (double bonus here, language and number arise from the same source). This ultimate goal is what life’s meaning is all about, but it is probably not for everyone. For “those who seek,” though, the journey, I am told, is no less rewarding than the actual destination!