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Measuring the Quality of Meaning

Updated: Feb 21

It takes less time to do a thing right than it does to explain why you did it wrong.


 Can meaning be measured? Based on what standards? Can such measures help us understand ourselves and others better? Can meaning quality help us self-regulate? How can the therapist, counselor, coach, and consultant leverage the model and method to help clients?


I will explain how meaningful purpose psychology (i.e., MP and logoteleology) answers these questions and its benefits. If you have not read recent articles in this series, I suggest you do so to understand the context and gain deeper insights. To your benefit, I have added links to key articles as references. I will also share short reviews of those concepts relevant to the subject.


Review of Terms

Let’s start with the foundational definitions that will allow us to understand the quality of meaning.


1. Meaning: In meaningful purpose psychology, meaning is an aim backed by causes. Viktor Frankl defined meaning as “what is meant.” Based on Frankl’s explanation, again, we define meaning as an aim backed by causes. Nothing can’t be meant and even happen without a “for the sake of” or reason, motive, and justification; in short, a why. As far as we know, all other definitions for meaning meet this criterion: they have an aim and a raison d’etre or reason for being.  For a more detailed explanation of our definition of meaning, please read our articles, Decoding the Essence: A Deep Dive into the Anatomy of Meaning, The Anatomy of Meaning, and Whisperers of the Mind: Meaning’s Self-talk. Meaning sets the behavioral agenda.


2. Meaning-construct: A theoretical model containing, defining, and explaining the dynamics of six factors managed by operators (e.g., if-then). It contains the psychological instructions used in the development and functioning of personality, much like the DNA has a person’s genetic instructions.

a. Rational

       i. Attributes: A person’s defining and inherent character traits or qualities; an ascription or designation of intent.

         ii. Beliefs: The outcome of knowledge, a firmly held opinion or conviction, a view of what is true, accurate, or objective.

         iii. Values: Reveal a person’s principles or standards of behavior. It is the depository of the conscience and enables self-regulation. There can be no self-regulation without regulations.


b. Sensory

     i. Feelings: A sensory, affective, and intuitive experience. It calls attention to what matters or is significant. Feelings mean something.

     ii.    Attitudes: the learned, relatively stable tendency to respond to people, concepts, objects, and events in an evaluative way through a like/don’t like continuum. Feelings incite attitudes and reveal temperament and dispositions.


c. Aim: the critical thinking gate where meaning content is vetted. It gathers and consolidates all the available data and ensures congruence or unity between all the factors. It acts as both a computer’s CPU and a meeting facilitator.

    i. Aim-intention: is characterized by a directional uncertainty or a weakness in resolve. For instance, not deciding for lack of information or procrastination.

    ii. Aim-goal: A resolute and unwavering commitment and resolve to decide and act.


Meaning constructs are not random, accidental, or unsystematic. As the mental DNA, the construct has a specific organized pattern designed to fulfill a subsequent agenda and aim.


3. Meaning set: Reveals a person’s meaning content. For instance, what they attribute to being true, accurate, and authentic about themselves and others, what they say is true about a situation, the operating values that form judgments, and the associated feelings and attitudes that prompt a response (i.e., aim). There is a relatively fixed meaning of life meaning set (existential identity or being), which makes us recognizable and predictable to self and to others. We also engage constantly in moment-to-moment transactional meaning sets daily (e.g., habits, routines, social interactions). These happen at the awareness and unawareness levels. Meaning set content reveals in behavior or purposeful action.


4. Meaningful Meaning: An aim spurred by a reason intended to edify and improve self, others, and the environment.


5. Meaningful Path: A life choice with five sequential life-enhancing elements.

a.   Love (prosocial behavior)

b.   Peace and Peace of Mind (physical and psychological safety)

c.   Happiness (well-being, contentment, gratitude)

d.   Engagement/Interest (a state of flow. Doing interesting things with interesting people at exciting places for noble ends.)

e.   Prosperity (spiritual, experiential, intellectual, and financial)


As a rule, these follow a sequential process where, for instance, there can be no peace or psychological safety unless the prosocial element is met first.  Reaching the state of genuine happiness requires that physical and psychological safety conditions are satisfied, etc.


Mental DNA

Meaning constructs are not random, accidental, or unsystematic. As the mental DNA, the construct has a specific organized pattern designed to fulfill a subsequent agenda and aim.

Meaning Quality

Now that we have a basic understanding of the key definitions, let’s answer the questions with which I started this paper.



Measuring Meaning

Measuring The Quality of Meaning: Can meaning be measured?

The answer is in the affirmative. Meaning sets have content that can be measured. For instance, is the content of a belief affirmed by an opinion or backed by robust empirical and peer-reviewed evidence? An opinion has a lower quality compared to empirical evidence.


Based on what standards is meaning measured?

There are four standards in the Meaning Quality Model for measuring the quality of meaning.


1.   Meaning Intelligence

2.   Meaning Health

3.   Meaning Congruence/Harmony

4.   Meaning Awareness/Mindfulness


Meaning Intelligence is determined by content and accuracy. Content in terms of how much information the person has. Accuracy is the correctness, precision, and validity of the meaning’s content. Facts hold higher quality than hearsay. Knowing an answer is more intelligent than ignorance or the lack of knowledge.


Meaning Heath meets the criteria of the meaningful path. The meaning is healthy when it is prosocial and promotes physical and psychological safety, well-being, exciting engagement, and prosperity. All psychological disturbances betray unhealthy meanings.


Meaning Health and Intelligence

Meaning Congruence/Harmony reveals agreement, accord, cooperation, synergy, and win-win mutualism among the six factors of the meaning set. Discord, conflict, and cognitive dissonance are terms used to describe the lack of harmony within the meaning. Disharmony can be helpful when it leads to finding ways to reconcile and find agreement. Disharmony can generate creative and curious thoughts and actions. It wants to close a gap for something significant.


Meaning Harmony


On the other hand, when the factors cannot reach an agreement and synchronize effort, they, too, create and explain mental disturbances or pathologies. As a rule, meaning health impacts and influences the meaning’s harmony. For instance, we can sense harmony or lack by paying attention to the content of our self-talk, which leads us to the final quality factor.


Mental disturnance


Meaning Awareness/Mindfulness: being sentient – capable of sensing or feeling; conscious of or responsive to our meaning sets’ sensations and thoughts. It is being open, receptive, and attentive to what is happening now. This standard is evaluative but non-judgmental. It can objectively determine the significance or condition of the meaning set content by careful appraisal to reach an understanding. The lack of logoteleological meaning awareness explains why people, groups, organizations, and nations can cruise through life under sustained detrimental conditions, not knowing what to look for to solve their problems.


Meaning Awareness

Can such measures help us understand ourselves and others better?

You bet! As a coach, leadership and psychological assessor, and consultant, I use the four quality standards to help my clients better understand what is being meant by their behavior and outcomes and test the aim’s quality. Logoteleologists know how to mine, extract, expose, explain, and interpret information leveraging the science’s resources, including meaning quality.

Here is what some clients say:

 

"He [the logoteleologist} completely changed my perspective and direction in life; I often felt I was climbing the wrong ladder of success, and he guided me by asking questions no one else had ever asked me. I recommend him to anyone feeling lost or lacking purpose. 10/10, my friend, you changed my life." Leighton H., Florida 

 

"… my life has had a lot more direction and clarity with how I interpret situations and give them meaning. Specifically, I can use Meaningful Purpose Psychology (MP) methods to evaluate my thoughts and beliefs about myself, others, and situations." Adrian W., New York

  

",… I can bear witness to the value of both the professional and personal application of the Logoteleological method. This method provides the possibility of understanding the motivators of human behavior in-depth, with a series of accessible and verifiable frameworks related to self-knowledge and understanding others. Thus, the greatest value the Logoteleological method delivers is the potential for genuine self-determination that transcends trait predispositions." Carmen R., Mexico

 

The MP method benefits everyone by helping them discover their life’s answers. Hence, our tagline: Boston Institute for Meaningful Purpose: Discovering Life’s Answers. ™


Can meaning quality help us self-regulate?

Yes. Starting with meaning awareness and mindfulness, you can be guided by a qualified logoteleologist through a process that tests the quality of your meanings’ intelligence, health, and harmony. Through psychoeducation and (in my case) coaching and consulting, clients self-determine and select those choices that will serve them best in their developmental goals. This guidance includes

· selecting and following intelligent, healthy, and harmonious meanings,

· learning the practice of mindful awareness of what is happening and

· making the appropriate adjustments in a positive and self-disciplined fashion when there are deviations or potential deviations.


The mind, after all, is logoteleological. It operates as a mental GPS from meaning to outcome.


Mental GPS


One of the benefits of being self-aware and mindful is that it can create conditions to be centered. Centered people can remain calm, comfortable, confident, and collected under challenging conditions. They can control negative feelings and handle stress and complex scenarios more efficiently and quickly.


How can the therapist, counselor, coach, and consultant leverage the model and method to help clients?

Fortunately, the meaningful purpose psychology (MP) method has application in all the practices mentioned above. Some practitioners include MP methods to complement their current approaches. For example, I have used them in my coaching and Organization Development consulting practices as stand-alone and with Transactional Analysis approaches.


Boston Institute for Meaningful Purpose

You can learn and benefit from our methodology by attending our training programs, and if interested, you can study to become a certified Logoteleology Practitioner. Please get in touch with me if you are interested in learning more. I can be reached at Luis@bostonimp.com.

Finally, what is the quality of your

·         meanings?

·         relationships?

·         professional experience and accomplishments?

·         Life?

 

Boston Institute for Meaningful Purpose: Discovering Life's Answers. ™

________________

-Free Webinar: Meaningful Purpose Psychology: An Introduction for Practitioners. Tuesday, March 19, 2024, 9:30 – 11:00 AM EST.

To Register

 

 

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