Reasons people say life has no meaning:
1. Religion – life had a clear meaning given to us by god. Meaning was about worshiping him
2. Modern science – scientists tell us life emerged from random interplay of chemicals and gases. Meaning for humans and all living things is survival and propagation of genes. Sounds true but futile and melancholy.
No objective meaning written in the stars, in holy books or in DNA
Due to varieties of unhappiness, one can state life lacks meaning. For example: in stale and loveless relationship, or single with trivial friends, or at school studying dull and disconnected topics, or a job that doesn’t seem important – not making a difference to anyone’s life and no profound part of self you can incorporate into work.
From these examples – a theory of meaning:
1. Meaning via communication – we’re isolated creatures and some of our most meaningful moments are to do with connection..with a lover revealing intimate self or friendship where truths about our lives can be shared or when travelling and striking up conversation with stranger and feel victory over cultural/linguistic barriers
2. Meaning via understanding – the pleasure felt when we correct confusion and puzzlement about ourselves or the world. No matter the job, the pleasure of our activities stems from common ability to map and make sense of what was once unfamiliar and strange
3. Meaning via service – one of most meaningful things we can do is serve other people. To improve others lives by alleviating sources of suffering or generating new sources of pleasure. This not only includes doctors, medical professionals but bakers, dancers, etc Some of most meaningful moments come when we transcend our ego and put ourselves at service of others or the planet. Service has to be in sync with our sincere, native interests.
Put it together and meaning of life = to pursue human flourishing through communication, understanding and service.
The concept of a meaningful life is plausible and comprises elements that can be named and fought for.