The meaning of life

Last night, I happened across the website of a recent book “Making Meaning: How Successful Companies Deliver Meaningful Experiences”, which is a guide for corporations on how to gain customer loyalty by delivering meaningful experiences. It seems that many companies are trying to become a source of meaning in our lives. They believe that if they can succeed that we will come back for more of the experience that they deliver and purchase more of their produce or service.

The authors, through extensive sociological research, have identified 15 key meanings that people around the world value. Your experience of these meanings is being targetted by people who want to sell you something. Here they are (listed in alphabetical order)

  • Accomplishment
  • Beauty
  • Community
  • Creation
  • Duty
  • Enlightenment
  • Freedom
  • Harmony
  • Justice
  • Oneness
  • Redemption
  • Security
  • Truth
  • Validation
  • Wonder

This is an extraordinary list covering meanings that are more usually linked to religions, cultures, political parties and social movements. What is the long term impact of the commercialisation and commoditisation of our experience of these human meanings?

Comments

  1. Ben Lancini says:

    The personal experience of meanings is reflected as a persons ‘values’. The conceptual marketing of values like “beauty” and “freedom” constrains their definition to a very narrow subset of what their potential scope of interpretation might encompass. It can narrow these interpretations to the point of meaninglessness. These values or beliefs really have a cost to the holder, a cost not acknowledged by those who are selling them –

    Beauty at the expense of a fantasy of superficiality.
    Freedom at the cost of responsibly for the deeper consequences of one’s actions.
    Harmony at the cost of gagging or hiding dissent.
    Security at the cost of freedom.
    etc.

    At their heart, these values as marketing element are just a husk. Hollow and insubstantial. Humans are not rational entities, we are easily be manipulated if we are not vigilant Likewise are nations. What is the long term impact of the commercialisation and commoditisation of our experience? It is to lose meaning in our lives. To become more superficial, alienated, scared, malleable and reactionary. These are characteristics of weakness, not strength.

    For a thorough examination behind this trend see –
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Century_Of_The_Self

  2. Noe Packineau says:

    Insightful points:D I will need some time to absorb your points.

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