Posted by: Jamie Hahn | May 21, 2010

Looking for meaning?

More than ever before, humans are searching for meaning.  We’re in the midst of a shift in our collective consciousness.

In his book, A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink describes this shift as a move away from “left-brained” analytical thinking and materialistic consumerism toward a more holistic “right-brained” approach that emphasizes aptitudes like design, storytelling, symphonic thinking, empathy, play, and the pursuit of meaning.

He quotes Gregg Easterbrook, an American journalist, on this topic: “A transition from material want to meaning want is in progress on an historically unprecedented scale–involving hundreds of millions of people–and may eventually be recognized as the principal cultural development of our age.”

Heady stuff.  If we’re to believe that the primary “want” in our lives has become meaning, then it follows that individuals and organizations will need to change their patterns of interaction.

Of particular interest to me is how organizations and corporations will change to meet this shifting tide, and, as a communicator, how I can influence and shape that change.  Gone are the days of traditional marketing with it’s emphasis on newspaper clippings and interruption advertising.  Digital media (blogs, podcasts, social media, videos, among others) is giving businesses incredible opportunities to engage customers and stakeholders in ways never before possible.  Coupled with compelling content, these technologies, and the companies that use them well, will have the power to change the way we do business.

I’m excited to be on the forefront of this transformation, and I look forward to hearing stories of your search for meaning (personal or business-related) as well.

Be well,



1. Daniel Pink, A Whole New Mind (Riverhead Books, 2005).

2. Gregg Easterbrook, The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse (Random House, 2003), 317.



  1. Hi, Jamie,

    Have you heard of Jacques Ellul? He was a twentieth century philosopher and theologian who spent much of his time on technology and it’s affect on humanity (namely propaganda). On the surface he would suggest we cannot find meaning in or through technology because it is by nature tyrannical. “Human beings have to adapt to it and accept total change,” he wrote in his book “What I Believe”. He also says we love it and all it’s gadgets (him included).

    Your interest is in how this transformation will effect corporate behavior. This change is in motion. It is influencing how we communicate with companies and the products we use. Looking at it through Ellul’s viewpoint, we might also say technology is forcing both the organization and the individual down it’s own path. One where we lose or sacrifice our human freedoms. We see it as finding meaning when in fact it is some sort of conformity.

    After reading your piece, I immediately thought of Ellul’s view of technology and supposed you might find it intriguing. Truthfully, though, I tend to believe we humans have the ability and grit to overcome what would try to control us. We repeatedly escape our Egypts, you might say, and we love doing so. We love the interaction and the challenge. In one breath we yell, “Forward the Light Brigade!,” all the while knowing we are riding, “into the valley of Death.”


    P.S. If you are interested, you could start here:

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