I hear a lot of different stories about how meaning should fit into one’s life
“What’s all this meaning bullshit? Just focus on doing your job well and providing for your family.”
“Wanting meaning is wanting a simple narrative to your life, no simple narrative can possibly be true which means you should forgo the impulse for meaning in favor of the truth.”
^some rationalists I know now
“Sure you can have meaning, but base it off of something real like ‘pushing the bounds of human knowledge’ instead of some ancient conception of a deity.”
^some other rationalists I know now
“Without meaning you might still be able to have an okay life, but you’re missing out on one of the most important/enjoyable/most-human parts of being a human.”
“Without meaning, you and your society will slowly degrade and fall apart and it is imperative that you find a narrative that works, otherwise game over.”
^Jordan Peterson maybe(?)
Question: Do you personally feel a need/desire/impulse to have something like meaning in your life? How do you feel when you have it? How do your feel when you don’t? If you do experience a need for meaning, how do you feel about having that need?
If you feel a need for meaning, what sorts of things feel meaningful? If you don’t feel a need for meaning, what is that like? If you feel a need for meaning but don’t endorse it, why is that the case?
Alternative Question (If your answer is something along the lines of “I don’t really care about meaning much, I mostly just try to spend time on things I care about”): Are you readily able to discern what you care about? Do you think and decide what to care about? Have you ever had the experience of caring about ABC for a long time, then some event cause you to no longer care about ABC? What does life feel like when you’re doing stuff you care about? What does it feel like when you aren’t?
This is an open ended and fuzzy topic, and I’m am looking for any and all personal experience data points you can provide.
Edit/Clarification: My main motive for asking is that I was planning to write some posts about meaning, and wanted to check if the views I was responding to were ones other people held, or just straw men. Again, I’m interested in either personal details of how you experience meaning, but also find useful hearing about people’s explicit models of “what is the thing in the brain that is meaning?” (I would conceivable ask for models as a related question, but I’m not sure how that feature works and don’t know what it looks like when used)