[Question] What is your personal experience with “having a meaningful life”?

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.”

^my grandparents

“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.”

^my parents

“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)

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