Some things just do not stop in this life. Knowledge is one of them. Its quest continues. Each discovery leads to another, and it’s never-ending. That’s why we have pres and posts because even if one concept has been thoroughly investigated, there are still reactions, protests, and other issues that follow.
Look at the idea of meaning, for example. According to Plato, meaning can be had from what we see, hear, observe, and notice in the environment. Reality according to this view provides meaning for things. But this was questioned later on. Structuralists believe surface meaning is shallow and superficial because underneath, there is an underlying structure that provides more meanings.
For instance, a protruding soil that creates a small mound cannot be interpreted just by looking at its appearance. You have to dig deep to find out what’s causing the soil to protrude. By doing so, you will discover the soil is being pushed upward because there is a piece of camote underneath. That’s the meaning, the explanation, the reason why the surface looked that way.
But finding the growing camote underneath is not the end of it all. According to the post-structuralists, finding the underlying structure is not enough to explain meanings. Because according to them, meaning is unpredictable and changing, and it’s multiple. For instance, the piece of camote underneath could also mean food for the farmer; it could also mean a kind of root crop or a kind of plant root, it’s also medicinal, etc.
From there, sources of meaning can still be reassigned to many other concepts and phenomena. The people behind this constant transfer of meaning from one source to another do not stop theorizing about other possibilities. Meaning then becomes elusive though it is constantly cornered by theorists. The result is an endless proliferation of theories, generating concepts and insights that later become widespread.
The concept that we think already explains everything is, after all, questionable in many aspects. The view that meaning can be had from reality is too shallow, they say. So there is a need to dig deeper to find the underlying reason behind it. But even that reason again is not enough, because it could have plentiful meanings and interpretations.
This makes meaning too elusive, requiring an endless quest for it. It’s like a game that must be played continually, or else there will be no winner, and we will end up losers in life’s playground.