One of the Four Cornerstones of Meaning in our model, Expression is a source of meaning for the artist, the activist, and…well, everyone. This section will explore things further, providing case studies and psychology regarding expression and meaning, barriers and solutions to harness meaning in this way, and even lists of resources for you to take personal expression to the next level.
Scroll to the bottom of this page for a simpler map of the expression section, where you are presented with each page.
Expression is Magic
Throughout our short existence on Earth, communication has formed out of evolutionary necessity and human expression, in the same vein, has evolved to take shape in a multitude of ways.
During the artistic era of Expressionism, new standards were created in terms of how we viewed art. Art became a medium for the worlds within an artist, rather than for expressing what we saw in our external world. Art became an analysis of one’s own feelings. Artistic judgment wasn’t based on strict composition and form. Instead, Expressionism became about painting, which allowed us to reflect and self-assess how it made us feel.
Other forms of expression have evolved in our time, based on oral traditions, physical geography, religious beliefs, language, and emotional psychology. A song connects us to a world outside of our own experiences. Dance can express feelings of anger, pain or joy, dating back to a time when humans wanted to imitate sounds just as birds do. Literature can allow us to understand ourselves and other cultures in the midst of an ever-changing world. The breadth of expression in our human experience transcends time and space through mathematics and even architecture.
As we dive into the multi-faceted cornerstone of Expression, let’s consider ways that you can communicate your own unique experience to the world.
Expression is Story
“Storytelling is the greatest technology that humans have ever created.” — Jon Westenberg
Each one of us has a unique story that is constantly unfolding. And since the dawn of human existence, our species has utilized storytelling to express their fears, beliefs or dreams. The Australian Aborigines used oral narratives to accurately convey 7,000 years of their cultural history. Their cross-generational cross-checking gave an incredibly consistent account of their cultural and geological history.
And yet much of our history tragically goes untold. Survivors of the Holocaust gave their oral stories to the United States Holocaust Museum, and this form of expression has given future generations around the world a connection to our collective past in order to prevent similar genocides in our future.
We forget that we wield this power of story. It can be easy to forget the simple fact that, yes, we as individuals are special. Yet tragically, without sharing our stories, our lives can seem listless, unworthy, or lacking in a sense of meaning. We must find ways to narrate our stories. And that’s where our cornerstone of expression comes into play.
There is power in story as expression. There are even healing hormones like dopamine and oxytocin that are released when we share a story for others to bear witness. And when we tell our stories, we can rest in knowing that we are not alone.
But how exactly do I start to understand my story? And how do I figure out a way to express it?
More on Storytelling:
There will be a lot more to cover regarding Expression as a source of meaning and purpose. If you’re excited to learn methods for a better life of expression, to see how others have done it, or even to see a list of companies, articles and tools to get you further, read on!
You can read through each page in this section in order, or click on the visual navigation to jump around. Both are below. Enjoy!