chapter  4
15 Pages

The Construction of New Meanings

From infancy onward, healthy human experience is a constant search for meaning. The one-or two-year-old child begins to recognize that older people use sounds to represent things or events and soon the powerful hereditary potential begins to be expressed as “mama,” “dada,” “doggie,” and so on. Human beings have the innate capacity to do something no other animal species is capable of doing, albeit there is some debate on this (Gazzaniga, 2008). They can recognize and use language labels (or sign language) to represent regularities in events or objects. It is this incredible ability that distinguishes Homo sapiens from all other species of animals. The marvels of change in living things over the eons of time have somehow led in the last 50 millennia to an animal species that has this unique language capability. Humanness implies this capacity, and it also implies a capacity to discern these regularities with feelings. Humans think, feel, and act. Every experience they have involves thinking, feeling, and acting. This is as self-evident as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. What is not obvious is why and how humans construct their meanings for events or objects.