Monday, May 16, 2011

Configuration of Meaning

In the name of Allah The Beneficent The Merciful

When we encounter with new information, we search in our mind to find words or concepts that are related to the new information in order to understand it.  Therefore, the content of our mind is the frame of reference that we refer to each time when we try to understand or when we want to make judgment.  The function of the frame of reference is to configure the meaning of a new information that we want to understand.  

For example, to understand the word 'epistemology', we refer to all the ideas and concepts in our mind (which is also called our frame of reference or our configuration of meaning) which are related to the word 'epistemology'. If we were able to relate the word 'epistemology' with the words 'study', 'theories', 'and', 'sources', 'knowledge' in our mind, then we can understand that epistemology means the study of theories and sources of knowledge.  If in our mind, there is no such word as 'theory' or 'source', we still cannot understand the meaning of epistemology.  We have to search for the meaning of 'theory' or 'source' first before we can understand the word epistemology.  

Therefore, understanding is depended very much on the content of our mind which we use to configure (understand) meanings...that is because the content of our mind is used for configuration of meaning. 

This also means that the more ideas, concepts and knowledge you have in  your mind, the deeper and the broader your understanding will be.  That is why some people can write books about a 'concept of knowledge'.

Configuration of meaning is worldview.  It is our perspective of the world around us.  We understand things according to our worldview.  It is the environment in the mind within which our mind function.  Our worldview is the foundation of our actions.  Our behavior is determined by our understanding which is based on our worldview.  What is the components of worldview?  Can everything in our mind be considered as our worldview?

There are millions of concepts and ideas in your mind--e.g. names of your friends, things you own, games, TV programs that you like and hate, your belief, your fear, etc.  There are also information about things that you believe as false--e.g. you think that communism is wrong, unicorn does not exit, ultraman is only imagination of people's mind, atheist is wrong, etc.  But these ideas, concepts and information do not make up your worldview.

The constituents of worldview are of ideas, concepts and knowledge in your mind that you consider as the truth.  If, for example, a young boy was taught that ghost exists and ghost lives in dark, wooded and secluded areas, he may think that he stumbled upon a ghost when he discovered an ugly creature in a dark, wooded and secluded area.  This is because he wanted to know the thing that he just bumped his mind (through his learning from his parents) that thing might refer to a ghost which his parents warned him about.  This happens because the boy considers that ghost exists and the information from his parents is the truth.  If a person was taught that ghost does not exist, then the ugly thing he stumbled onto was not a ghost but other creature; thus the information about ghost in his mind is not a truth and it will not be the make up of his worldview.  Therefore, our worldview might consists of truths or it might consist of just opinions and conjectures or falsehood.

Our worldview is like our looking glass; if our looking glass is dirty,then we cannot see clearly; if is is colored, say blue, then we see yellow things as green; if our looking glass is crystal clear, then we can see everything very clearly.  Therefore, to understand and to perceive the truth, we should have clear worldview, that is, worldview that is based on true knowledge, true and clear concepts.  For instance, your friend invites you to go to a rock concert to relieve your stress.  If you are not clear on the concept of happiness and nature of man because in your mind you do not have that knowledge and understanding (meaning that this is not part of your worldview), you might not think twice and accepted the invitation.  But if you understand that stress is caused by soul's deprivation of it's needs, then you should know that soul can only be relieved from stress if you give it spiritual boosters, like for example, by listening to songs that glorify Allah's attributes.  Rock concert might give you short term pleasure and you will experience stress again after the rock concert.  Short term pleasure is not happiness...happiness is long term gratification.


  1. well said. very meaningfull and deep =)

  2. That's brilliant. Ummi please teach me how you write nicely :) Son in.. from Istanbul.

  3. BarakAllah Ummi I read it again and again. I got some benefit from this article Alhamdulillah. It will make my worldview clear so I can differenciate truths from the falsities and appriciate the things I have. May Allah reward you in this dunia(world) and the akhirah (hereafter) Ameen.
    I will rethink who I am! terima kasih banyak Ummi.

  4. it will help me to understand the meaning of life in the proper way inshaAllah. The first thing is life very very short time and I will consider my priority Islamic worldview as the way of life before I act, behave, react, experience, write, read,accept, reject, question, answer, judge, decide, and so on. Allah knows the best.
    Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu (30 marks) a young man is from Istanbul Turkey