Wow, lots of good thoughts from readers over the past week. I’m trying to digest them. Making a list is usually a good start when I’m confused, so here’s my list of candidate explanations so far. Add to the list or debate or reflect on an insight below! And stay tuned for a special post this week revealing my personal motives for this project in a special interview with Emily Roberts.
I think sense making is
- Coherence we can act on
- Explaining something to yourself until you understand it
- Integrating meanings detected by the body, mind, and spirit
- Telling a convincing story
- Assigning meaning based on connections to other things
What this list tells me is that sense making requires the whole of a human being: not just our minds, but also our bodies; not just our emotions, but also our will to act. This echoes what I’ve learned about being an integrated person. And being integrated makes you healthy, so there is a profound way we can say sense making is what keeps you sane.
The list also tells me that understanding involves symboling. That is, we understand something when we see it as a symbol or a sign for something else more meaningful. “Ah, I understand now. X really means Y. That makes sense.” And it seems that a symbol requires a story in order to be a symbol. A story posits a process (a plot), and a plot is what creates meaning.
So stories integrate. Stories are integration machines. And health-making machines. Maybe I should try writing a story about all the things on my ball next!