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Imbibed, Embedded, and Projected: Meaning as Cathexis Complexes


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Personal)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2020/10/03

“Does one need to believe in a god to live a fulfilling, meaningful, morally correct and upright human life?”

One of the more tentative conclusions, the question seems poorly formulated and quintessentially a North American one. I suspect influenced more by Judeo-Christian evaluations of the important items on the dossier of life. As America and Canada remain Christian dominant, or Christian majority population, nations while not Christian nations per se, whether in founding documents or in Founding Fathers (can be shown in either case), the narratives of the Old Testament and the New Testament and the life of Jesus Christ — no doubt — provide a guide to life and living from womb to tomb (Thanks, Cornell), often in select interpretations, for Christians. Duly note, I am not Christian in the sense accepted by my compatriots if I took on the garb, the title, though some interpretations of Christianity, e.g., Christian Humanism, seem palatable, even laudable, sophisticated, and intriguing.

The formulation of the question leads to two things.

A famous non-sense question in linguistics is, “Do colorless green ideas sleep furiously?” A non-sense question compared to sensible questions including “Does Mars orbit closer to the Sun in the Solar System than Uranus or Haumea?”, “Does Euclidean Geometry and its derivative in the Pythagorean Theorem map onto the real world?”, “Does cheating on a Winter examination violate university academic standards and practices as well as internal, personal ethical principles of honesty?”

For example, does one live life choreographed, i.e., pre-planned though boring, or discovered, i.e., exciting though risky, or something in between, or a combination, or something else entirely? So, I would answer the question after thinking about it, with another question, “Is there another formulation of the question, more general, more practical, and more concrete?”

Because life seems far more open-ended than that, and life seems more akin to wrestling than dance. More things, to the point, seem out of personal, individual control than inside of it. However, as someone who studies psychology can tell you, either a friend or a student (or former student), they will note the concept of the Internal Locus of Control and the External Locus of Control.

When we look at the types and degrees of control, and then the individual sensibility and evaluation of the control, some things seem within individual plans and choices while others cannot exist within personal control. There, we have two senses of control — Internal Locus of Control and External Locus of Control — and then the physical reality of personal choices and the wide array of external imposition on the personal choices, in spite of the external or internal sensibility of control, or the individual decisions in any given moment.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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