Our cognition craves meaning

We can’t help but look for meaning in our lives, because this is how we work. The search for meaning is the modus operandi of our cognition.

Obs.: this is a refined thought from my personal notes, and was originally published here — https://www.timelesscraft.org/cognition-craves-meaning

Photo by Tolga Ulkan on Unsplash

Our cognition has many features, such as: the use of analogies, concepts and theories, narratives, and mental imagery (cf. Features of cognition). But all of them serve for one purpose only: making sense of the world around us.

Because if we don’t really understand the world, we are incapable of acting properly — we are incapable to surviving, and the Brain has evolved to survive.

Then, our cognition is the tool to assess, comprehend and interact with the world. But we can’t act upon information only. All stimuli that our short-term memory (or, Working memory) receives and process has no utility if it is disconnected with the interpretation we have from the world. In other words, we can’t act upon what is meaningless to us.

For being more specific, meaningless information not even get to our working memory — it can’t cross the Active inhibition. Thus, we simply ignore (even unconsciously) everything that is empty of meaning.

Finding patterns, connecting distant information, and producing insights are the modus operandi of our brain. It is heavily equipped with tools to scan the world and seek desperately for purpose on every single event.

And if it is how our brain works, we can’t help but approach life in the same way. Purpose and meaning are not new topics. Neither are they modern inventions. They are the only way we know to experience the world around us.

Thus, meaning is not something inherent in things, but ingrain to our interaction with things. We must find an explanation behind everything so we can localize ourselves in reality. We crave for concepts, narratives and linear logics that makes our lives more comprehensible.

Even when we say that life has no purpose, we mean it.

Our cognition craves for meaning, because it programmed to make sense out of things even when they make no sense at all.

Reference

Byrne (2008), Learning & Memory

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Crypto enthusiast and philosophy-head. Into pragmatism, craftsmanship, artistic expression, and lifestyle experimentation.

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Icaro Moro

Crypto enthusiast and philosophy-head. Into pragmatism, craftsmanship, artistic expression, and lifestyle experimentation.