Seminar about “Life, Language and Meaning” gets deep with SUU’s John Belk

John Belk, Southern Utah University’s English Composition Director and an expert on rhetoric, invited students to consider life, language and meaning during a Radical Academic Discussion Lecture. The Honors-sponsored event was hosted in the Student Center on Oct. 19.

As with all of the components of their RAD Lecture series, the Honors Program opened the event to any students and staff interested in participating. Due to the diverse turnout, the discussion involved a multitude of perspectives on a range of topics.

Belk started by establishing the definitions of key terminology and reviewing different opinions on life, language and meaning. Then, the crowd connected the three together, diving into the purpose of life.

“Language helps us build meaning, meaning helps us build better lives and better lives help us better use language,” Belk said.

Professor Rosalyn Eves, who studied rhetoric with Belk before being hired at SUU, chimed in often with insightful commentary.

“We have a tendency to think that the purpose of life is to find happiness, but what they found out is that you’re much better if you look for meaning rather than happiness,” Eves said. “It’s so cool that meaning is something we can create in combination with each other and mediate with language.”

The seminar provided an opportunity for people to think about things they wouldn’t regularly focus on. All the participants had the opportunity to delve into deeper thought.

Honors Council member Dean Goebel said, “It really opened my mind on how much the language we use affects the way we think and how much language in general can limit us or change the world.”

Story by: Kale Nelson
Photos by: Andrea Rodgers