Did you ever wonder how you can make a difference with your life in an overpopulated city, or how to be more than “all in all, just another brick in the wall”? All past wisdom helps little in this regard. We need a new approach, one that has not been tried before.
This is exactly what is expressed in retired Professor Bob Lichtenberg’s new autobiography, My Life Making Meaning. This work describes his life and how he finally arrives at the explicit idea of making meaning. Bob then implemented it to make meaning for a maximum number of people.
The idea of making meaning is the greatest idea. For what greater reason can we exist? Yet, it is our only undeveloped idea. Bob found almost no research on making meaning. He started this by defining “meaning” as “the impact of anything, usually positive.”
He dramatically conceived this idea after beholding his newborn son, and only wanting to “make meaning for him and other people.”
Bob’s book begins with his earliest recollections of his childhood in a lower class Chicago neighborhood. The main factor then was his alcoholic father. He made Bob feel poorly about himself, and much lacking in self-confidence, he also felt driven to discover the reason for his worthless existence.
All this led Bob to study in college philosophy as a way to answer such basic questions about one’s life. He was awarded a full fellowship with a large stipend to Tulane University in New Orleans, where he met his super-sweet and pretty wife. He was quite disappointed with philosophy as an aid to his searching for answers to his life’s questions. Yet, he quickly jumped the academic hoops on way to the terminal degree (Ph.D.). After he earned that, he taught his search in philosophy at many colleges in five states. The idea of making meaning progressed slowly, but surely, in Bob’s mind over his forty years of teaching.
Besides teaching, another major development in the idea of making meaning came in Bob’ quarterly philosophical journal, “The Meaning of Life.” He conceived, wrote, and even published by himself sixty-two issues of this journal.
By far the biggest section of My Life Making Meaning is Bob’s one-paragraph summaries of what he regards as the best essays in his journal. These summaries come from many areas of study: human nature, ethics, logic, reality—to name a few of the fundamentals. He selected these summaries for their potential appeal and interest to the typical reader. They make up the largest part of the book by far. Yet, Bob believed that the phrase “the meaning of life” did not quite capture the idea about living a worthwhile life that he had sought so long.
The last part of My Life Making Meaning elaborates the main aspects of the idea of making meaning. Bob had slowly arrived at this idea via writing his journal and holding a series of monthly dialogues that he named the “Seekers,” now in its twentieth-eighth year in his beautiful bungalow or bountiful backyard (formerly in restaurants). This last part of this book concisely summarizes the main aspects of making meaning and motivating to make it for yourself and others. Bob lastly tells his readers how he makes meaning for the most people that he can. My Life Making Meaning is the most recent book in his project to develop the idea. This is his seventh book that he has penned in this series. For the others, please “visit” his website, BobLichtenbert.org.
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