Meaning as a limited resource

In modernity energy became the general principle. But energy alone does not suffice. Energy has an informational aspect. It can degrade. The same amount of energy may be useful to drive a change; or it may be a gray soup of singular parts in which nothing worth of note can happen anymore.

In post-modernity thinking lost contact to a substantial world. Thinking became lost in a space of abstraction. The general principle now is information. But information alone does not suffice. Information has a substantial aspect in that it can't exist without being inscribed into something and without being meaningful for somebody. The same amount of information may be useful to drive a change, to become reordered into something new; or it may be a random collection of data from which nothing worth of realising can originate anymore.

So we have three concepts: Energy, which always stays constant. Information, which seems to always increase. And Meaning, which seems to decrease antiproportional to the information carried by the same chunk of energy.

Up until now we were able to counterweigh this fugitive development by making use of greater and greater chunks of energy. But energy isn't unlimited. What we got is a greater and greater amount of information that became, in the whole of energy accessible to us, less and less meaningful.

While energy and information might be seen as very precise concepts, meaning might be not. Meaning is what lays in the answer to the question, what is it good for? If something is not useful or good for anything, it has no meaning. So, meaning depends on the structure and capabilities of the recipient of information.

We can't do much about our structure. Also we can't do much about our capabilities in a wide existential and epistemological sense. If this chain of thought has any merit, it leads to the insight that we should treasure meaning more and be very careful with it. Meaning is not inexhaustible, it dissipates if we make use of it. It's a limited resource. Maybe we should start to use words and symbols sparingly.

This inference is based on a somewhat loose analogy between meaning and physical usable energy, albeit grounded in the common concept of usefulness. Does the analogy hold? Is it fruitful? Useful? If not, why not?


p. s. Heidegger called and said: "Es kann auch sein, daß der Weg eines Denkens heute dazu führt, zu schweigen, um das Denken davor zu bewahren, daß es verramscht wird innerhalb eines Jahres." When I asked if he would like to elaborate on that, he said: "No."