The philosophy of meaning is based on the structuralism theory, which implies that people split reality into signs or various categories of objects in order to derive sense in life (Clarke, 2004). Nevertheless, the concept of structuralism has become redundant because most people are focused ideally on the synchronic view of life without actually having the effective knowledge to integrate time into the broad topic of sign language (Clarke, 2004). The consequence of the failure to incorporate the various components of philosophy has led to the failure by many individuals in understanding the meaning of life (Clarke, 2004).
One of the factors that have made it difficult to understand the philosophy and meaning of life is language (Clarke, 2004). For instance, in the past the relationship between individuals and language was not clearly understood (Canfield, 1997). Along this line, Clark (2004) argues that language was used as a social fact, and was therefore considered to be independent of anything that was personal.
However, this inaccurate perception of philosophy was coined as a result of lack understanding of the relationship between objectivity of the world and different people’s subjectivity. According to Canfield (1997), a dialogue can be created between objectivity and subjectivity by considering meanings as being subjective and values as being objective.
In order to gain an understanding of the task of any individual within given system, there is need to consider to questions that relate two different aspects (Canfield, 1997).One is why the particular individual associates himself or herself with a given society and how the individual relates himself or herself with the society (Canfield, 1997).
The first question of why leads to the production of meaning in philosophy (Canfield, 1997).This is because the concerned individual attempts to search for the subjective gist of his or her life; for instance, why he she should be in a relationship (Canfield, 1997). On the other hand, the other question of how guides one in converting various meanings into values (Canfield, 1997).
For instance, the answers to the question of how leads one to being able to change the answers into purposeful values as he or she learns further the significance of engaging in various relationships with different individuals (Canfield, 1997).The values obtained are then integrated into language for the purpose of further communication (Canfield, 1997).
The values that different individuals develop progressively are significant in their exploration of the mind (Clarke, 2004). These values are gained from exposures at personal level, and during interactions among individuals (Canfield, 1997). From the various exposures, it is possible for individuals to organize their life plans based on a multiplicity of issues (Canfield, 1997; Clarke, 2004). Such issues include a personal account of philosophy of life, ethical standards and values; careers, plans and ambitions and different views on life such what ignites success and growth, and so forth.
My account of philosophy in relation to philosophy of meaning and value
The philosophy of meaning and value is a convoluted topic that needs an understanding of various issues and their integration in order to unravel the truth (Canfield, 1997; Clarke, 2004). For instance, it is difficult to comprehend why an individual may screw his or her eyes at something. Nevertheless, is obvious that when someone looks at something, then he or she is relating to the object in sight, unless of course the observer is bored at the time of the observation (Canfield, 1997; Clarke, 2004).
In addition, if the observation is passive, like the observer looking at someone else, then the observer will derive very little meaning from the observation process (Canfield, 1997; Clarke, 2004). Thus, in order for one to obtain a clear meaning from a given phenomenon, he or she has to use an active approach so that the results are worthwhile (Brown, 1997).
While it is difficult to understand the philosophy of meaning, it is equally difficult to comprehend some instances in life. For instance, why do people get into various types of relationships even with the knowledge that the relationships are bound to pose problems? According to Brown (1997), the process of exploring relationships in order to get their meaning involves the analysis of the meaning of these relationships. But what is the outcome of a given relationship when the emotional bonds to power and reliance on each other are overcome? This question is answered in the following section.
Implication of meaning and personal philosophy of life
My opinion of meaning is that it arises from different individuals’ relationships. In referring to meaning derived from relationships, Brown (1997) notes that different individuals produce different meanings to the societies with which they relate. Further, Brown (1997) notes that a meaning does not necessarily arise solely from an individual who is in isolation.
Here the point put forward by Brown is that an individual in isolation cannot be perceived by a society recognized as being important by a society because in the first place, he or she is not in contact with the society, hence no remarks can be made about him or her. In short, Brown (1997) connotes that if individuals do not make contact, then no meaning can be deduced from them.
Is it possible for an individual in isolation to produce a new meaning? This is point that is amenable to discussion because it is generally thought that new meanings are made in solitude (Sharma, 1987). However, Redner’s (1986) answer to the question is no. The reason for such a standpoint is that an individual as a meditator in his or her solitude, never produces any new meanings, or if any new meanings are produced , they are just limited to the individual who produces them (Redner, 1986).
In analyzing an individual and meaning further, Redner (1986) also notes that an individual meditator functions within pre-set values and confines of his or her spiritual tradition. In spite of such a view of an isolated individual, a society cannot on its own be perceived to have meaning if does not have individuals (Redner, 1986). In essence, the society and the individual are terms that cannot be disentangled for the sake of understanding philosophy. In emphasizing this point, Redner (1986) notes that a society does not evolve on its own since it is made up by individuals.
According to Brown (1997), some of the meanings created by individuals create useful meaning to the society. In view of this point, I opine that all individuals create meaning to the society, with reference to Redner’s (1986) point and the common knowledge that individuals make up the society. In common parlance, every individual produces some meaning, but the reality is that the society is always unwilling to accept some of the meanings, which they consider inept (Brown, 1997).
The conventional approach of the society to various meanings is to be subjective. Subjectivity however leads to lose of value of some ideas that would be very helpful. Along this line, Brown (1997) notes that meanings can only enter an arena of dialogue if they are objectified into real values. Additionally, meanings can be used to transform individuals whereas the values obtained are worthwhile in cementing relationships among various individuals in a society. The values also affect ethical standards among individuals as discussed below.
Ethical standards and values
Ethical standards are very important particularly in organizations where high standards of moral etiquette are required, such as the Department of Homeland Security. According to Freeman, Engels & Alteruse (2004), ethics relates to the study of various standards of moral judgment and conduct. Similarly, morality relates to attributes if character, particularly the rightness or wrongness of a person’s actions. The Department of Homeland Security aims at that ensuring that their staffs portray etiquette and professional conduct (“Homeland Security”).
As a technical program manager for the Department of Homeland Security, I am charged with the responsibility of ensuring that information and education exchange is carried out in a cordial manner.
Philosophical ethics dictate that I should serve the United States in a manner that ensures that a friendly relationship exists among its citizens. Such exchange of information includes information and research in matters that relate to the development of homeland security and related technologies (“Homeland Security”). Thus, my philosophical ethics should encompass working within the set standards to ensure that a high standard of professional ethics is observed.
One of the areas in which the Department of Homeland Security strives to maintain high ethical standards and values is in training (“Homeland Security”). In this regard, I should use my professional skills to ensure that the department effectively trains people in services that require quick response, such as prevention of terrorism and crisis management.
It is evident that the United States has failed in some areas or shown weakness in tackling areas insecurity in the country (“Homeland Security”). Along this line, I should as a professional be at the forefront in ensuring that training is outsourced from countries that have demonstrated strength where the United States has failed. In addition, my professional ethics require that get I involved in international activities such as coordination with other officials in order to ensure that counter-security matters are tackled.
Career plans and ambitions
I would like to use the career opportunity I have as a Technical Program Manager in the Department of Homeland Security to positively influence people. I would like to get rid of the notion of negativity that denies people their opportunity to deliver meaningful values to the society.
Since no society can exist without individuals, I would like to use my time to ensure that the society is transformed by transforming individuals accordingly. This is because as earlier mentioned, each individual has the potential to bring some meaning to the society. It is because the society tends to be too subjective that some meanings produced by individuals are never open to discourse, hence they end up not being turned into values. As part of my ambitions, I would also like to rise and become a Chief Advisor in matters concerning US security domestically.
View of growth and self-development
My view on growth and development is that in order to achieve significant growth both in life and career wise, there is need to inculcate meanings in life in every person and ensure that the values are developed into values. As noted by (Sharma, 1987), meaning applies to concepts which function in a mode that can neutralize instances of anxiety. In this respect, my view is that all manner of anxiety should be gotten rid of in order to inculcate a sense of positive meaning in the society. Along the same line, there is need to develop the various positive meanings as it is through doing so that individuals can gain confidence to fight against anxiety. Sharma (1987) stresses this point by noting that values are applied in defense of individuals against anxiety.
In order achieve a multifaceted growth level, I have drawn a personal action plan to show my ambitions and to guide me in ensuring that I reach the desired level within a stipulated period of time.
Personal action plan
Aims of the personal action plan
The aim of my personal action plan is to develop practical work plan to detail my objectives, goals within a suitable time frame.
My personal vision is for the US to not become a target for terrorism particularly from outside threats. This would enable the government to focus on domestic policies that would enable to live peacefully without having to always look over their shoulders. Consequently, individual time and money would be better spent on meaningful activities, as opposed to on those caused by having to have live with a domestic security policy that is on high alert.
My personal mission is to ensure every individual in the US becomes productive by being active in terms of meaningful achievements. If what everyone does will have meaning, then it will be easy to convert the meanings into real values that can be beneficial to the society.
Focus on the action plan
My focus on the action will be ensuring that each of my objectives is achieved within the stipulated time. Along this line, I will ensure that security issues in the US are given top priority and that each individual is able visualize the benefits of improved security. This will involve not only ensuring that there is safety in the country but also ensuring that other regions outside the US are well equipped to promote safety and peace.
Personal and systemic assets
The skills I have in as a Technical Program Manager are helpful assets in ensuring that the Department of Homeland Security becomes vibrant in dealing with insecurity issues. I would like to impart these skills to others through training and offering resourceful materials to recruits in the department and in the public .
Skills to learn
With the realization that the US needs to be more tactical in dealing with insecurity, there is need to continuously upgrade and improve intelligence and skill sets to handle outside threats to citizens . In line with this, I would like to gain more skills in dealing with high-level crime such as international terrorism and other external threats that face the US.
Although philosophy is convoluted in terms of difficulty in defining some terms, meaning and values are terms that cannot be de-linked from the topic. It is important to appreciate the meanings of activities performed by everyone so that the values can be converted into values to be adopted by the society. In addition, it is paramount that the society becomes objective and not subjective towards values so that the values are given an opportunity to thrive.
Brown, D. (1997). Philosophy of Meaning, Knowledge and Value in the Twentieth Century. Reference Reviews, 11 (3)
Canfield, J.V. (1997). Philosophy of Meaning, Knowledge and Value in the Twentieth Century: Philosophy of English Speaking World in the Twentieth Century. London: Routledge
Clarke L. (2004). Defining Reality: Definitions and the Politics of Meaning. Argumentation and Advocacy. 40 (3)
Freeman, S J.; Engels D. W. & Altekruse, M. K. (2004). Foundations for ethical standards and codes: the role of moral philosophy and theory in ethics. New York: Elsevier
Homeland Security. Federal employment information fact sheet. Retrieved on 20 February 2009 from, http://www.usajobs.gov/infocenter/
Redner, H. (1986). The ends of philosophy: An essay in the sociology of philosophy and rationality. London: Routledge
Sharma, G. R. (1987). Trends in contemporary Indian philosophy of education: A critical evaluation. New York: Atlantic Publishers & Distributors