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Hypermeaning

One of the issues I've been dealing with in my practice is the production of spiritual meaning while neither resorting to religion nor falling into the trap of the intellectual impotence of new-age spiritualism. When the war came, it complicated the issue further. It is tempting to see war as a great manufacturer of existential sense in a world suffering from a crisis of meaning. It is not that the meaning became more difficult to produce than it was in the past. It is that, as some are often too keen to beat the dead cliche—with freedom comes responsibility. After the 'death of God', every individual is responsible for their authentic existential meaning. It's an arduous task. And as with other things, some do it better, and some do it worse. Yet it's another type of required labour for everyone to perform.


Some of those who reject modernity often see catastrophic events like wars as a spiritual force, a pure ablution capable of filling with meaning the hollowed-out sacred. It works. Such forces can take the hefty weight of responsibility (and freedom) from one's shoulders. However, I would call what emerges in this way hypermeaning instead. That is a meaning traumatically imposed, a meaning you can not escape from, in contrast to the authentic meaning that takes continuous toil to produce and sustain. It takes work to identify and oppose it. At times it would present itself unexpectedly in the artistic practice, conferring it a dimension you weren't aware of. And at times, it might make you feel as if you're alienated from your own work.

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