Both implicit and existential meaning are important constructs in fully understanding human experience. The editors of this volume present a forum for an array of viewpoints and recent research that address the notion of optimal human growth.


Gary T.Reker and KerryChamberlain

The construct of meaning can be conceptualized as consisting of two different, but interrelated aspects. The first, called implicit or definitional meaning, refers to the attachment of personal significance to objects or events in life. It involves the process of assigning or structuring meaning and addresses the meaning of experience, such as in the “meaning of growing old,”the “meaning of leisure,”or “cultural meanings.”Since objects or events have implicit meanings, individuals undergoing an experience must strive to make sense of the experience. They must discover for themselves what “being a married person” or “growing older” or “having arthritis” means as an experience. Understanding the processes of implicit meaning is facilitated by the explication of diverse personal meanings of human experiences, obtained largely ...

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