Fundamental to every human’s determination of “How Shall I Live?” is the selection of what is “Significant.” The “Significance” of ones life is clearly known on ones death bed. To imagine oneself there—to decide what is the single most “Significant” Thing—and to adjust ones present life to make that one Thing happen is what I call the “Retrospectoscope.” The Umbrella term “Significant” embraces several variable ideas as to what is absolutely great or terrible. What is great or terrible depends on who is involved; on the intent; and compared to what. A Thing may begin as good or bad and turn out to be the opposite. Such ideas have sprung out of different African and European (among others) contexts. To elaborate, in C14 English, “Significant” was defined as ‘the meaning of something’ (e.g. force, energy); in 1579, ‘full of meaning’; in 1725, Consequence; and in 1761, of Importance. Subsequently, despite a broadening in scope, “Significant” retained the core ideas of being about the qualitative (or “worth”) and the quantitative (or things of “value”). Illustrative African examples of “Significance” diversity are: (I) its origin came from the blessed name given to every Ancient African child at birth–a name in keeping with its implied worth and value meaning—a name symbolizing to the child, relatives, and acquaintances that he/she was outstanding–a name serving as a mark or sign which distinguished the child’s outstanding deeds done in a prior lifetime (i.e. a good karma). (II) African people who distinguished themselves by great achievements were similarly recognized by members in the villages as ‘Significant’. Example: the successful medicine man’s therapeutic abilities had special meaning to the sick because they shed the bad + did curing.
(III) In medicine, Quantitatively Significant occurs whenever there is a measurable degree of change. When one says: “there has been no change in the patient’s condition”–meaning the patient is neither measurably better nor worse in degree—such is an “important” indicator but without it being significant. By contrast, to say: “there is no significant change in the patient’s condition” either confirms or throws doubt on the earlier prognosis because no meaning–like “better” or “worse”– exists in comparing the two. Here, “Significance” implies no qualitative change. (IV) Significant humans have Courage to be their Real Selves who keep their word; cultivate what they honor; immediately “rise to the occasion” to handle Things they would rather not; remain undefeated by continuing to try; and influence each other through useful products and not necessarily by direct personal contact. (V) Ancient African children, as like me, saw significance in engaging in Nonsense—in being Silly without thinking—since it is fun to participate in “stuff” going ‘nowhere’. The same occurs with Dance whereby one executes a pleasurable pattern without going anywhere. Fun does not lead to something else—it ‘just is.’ (VI) Some things have double (or more) Significance, as in how food is cooked and tastes as well as the extent to which nutrition is provided upon eating it.
(VII) Contemplation inside the flow of the Spiritual Elements was, for Ancient Africans, to be in a ‘state of Significance’. This required a self-induced Trance by so concentrating as to blend into the topic’s Truth which, in turn, displays correspondence with like-kind Cosmic things. To observe Things without inner turmoil, without “looking for” something, and without seeking a mental quest, permits recognizing the significance of what was formerly taken for granted or considered insignificant. It helps better planning. The point: simply being inside a new realm and experiencing a connection with whatever is in it (e.g. Compassion) and without an opinion is the way for the Significant to arise in ones mind. I call this MULLING. One progresses from time to timelessness; from space to spacelessness; from multiplicity to unity; from a dynamic mover to an unmoved Mover. At such higher levels of understanding, one has an increased ability to discern more interrelationships between dissimilar and/or similar things which have correspondence. From that alone, one can infer Principles and fashion Base patterns that promote their manipulating and maneuvering–as is vital to making for never ending evolutions of Significant new meanings and/or Forms to design/enhance Visions. This is also the path to Esoteric Thinking—i.e. revealing certain of the mysterious things about God; the things belonging to God; and the things revealed by God to humans.