The desire to believe in meaning
Checking out Ben Harper now.
Beautiful piece 👏
Too good not to comment on! But this is going to be inarticulate. I don't work very hard to make sense of my thoughts about meaning. I agree that it's strangely indispensable to people, even to the extent that e.g. I suspect much of the "mental health crisis" is not at all physiological in origin. Another variation on Frankl might be: those without the right "why" cannot bear *any* "how," just as e.g. modern first-worlders somehow cannot bear to live extremely comfortable, fun, and stimulating lives. No "why," no dice.
The really grim part of this is that as we age, the kinds of "whys" we seek escalate, and eventually entangle with death, power, history. What was adequate to persuade, motivate, and sustain you ten years ago will not be ten years in the future. Once, you may have dreamed of "being able to do this for a living." How satisfying is that to you now? Later, you dream of "being successful"; nice work! But soon: we want to have "impact," and it has to be increasingly profound, it has to stretch from the realm of the purely personal into the impersonal and immortal zone of history, become part of the consequential story of the species! Or it must be *beautiful*, into the impersonal and immortal zone of the aesthetic! It must transcend us, in any event.
Or you can shift a bit: go local, familial, if that scratches the itch; or go lateral into e.g. "impacts on communities." But I think there's a "meaning" treadmill just as there's a hedonic treadmill, I'm sorry to say. It's us; we are the mills, Gabe.
I do not have good advice, but this made me think mystical things like: "Gabe already has the meaning he's seeking." I'm sorry, I'm a stoner!!!