When I was reading for today, I started to wonder, “Is understanding really that important if I find a meaning that isn’t grounded in the artist’s or designer’s intentions?”  I like the idea of interpretation based on life-worlds, but the concept of understanding bothers me.  If I find meaning in a painting that is personally relevant to me, what does it matter if I took the artist’s intentions into account.  Sure I’m not exploring the history of the painting and, therefore, I can’t necessarily infer what the artist meant, but what if I’m not interested in what the artist meant.  In some cases I can see where this is helpful, such as art history, or learning from a designer’s solution to a design problem, but that’s not always important.

Also what happens when the meaning of something changes over time based on context?  Like in the fashion article, it talked about how the meaning of blue jeans have evolved over time.  If I don’t know the entire history of blue jeans, does that mean that I don’t understand that blue jeans are to be interpreted as casual wear in this day in age?  If I don’t know that the first person to make blue jeans intended them for rugged-wear, does that mean I am not expressing myself when I wear a pair because I ultimately don’t know what that pair of jeans means?

I also considered writing a post about traveling in a time machine and how understanding anything would be difficult because my life-world would be drastically different than the life-world of a person living in that time.  Including that traveling in shorter periods of time would be easier to understand because the context is closer to the context in which my life-world developed.  <– But I didn’t for times sake and there’s the gist anyway 🙂