I am always bewildered by a theist's desire for ultimate meaning. I know the topic surfaces with every atheist, and every atheist tries to explain the thought in a manner that would satisfy other atheists.
I think that question is personal, and can only be answered by the individual. I think the simplest reason for the search for meaning comes from those who have personal tragedies looking for the good in that tragedy. That would be a theist. A hundred plus people die in recent tornadoes; yet a child may be saved, a relic of a destroyed home found intact; a theist would say it's a plan and has meaning.
Pretty lame plan in my mind. Shit happens, get over it. If meaning is a construct of those who are believers, do atheists need concern themselves with the discussion?
For most of us, I think meaning ends up often being pleasure. That pleasure might be a simplistic as reading a book or watching a sunset; not sure if that devolves into meaning, or life.
Does meaning have anything to do with anything except personal experience?
I don't think there is meaning for me in the fact that someone accomplishes some deed, even if amazing because of said person's background. It is life. I don't feel meaning in my life to be as important as self worth or pleasure, and even self worth could be thrown off the cliff as well, it is really just another form of pleasure.
I guess I am struggling with the thought of meaning. Yes, there could be meaning in relationships and experience, there could be meaning in someone's accomplishments that may help others; or it could be a useless word that cloaks personal pleasure.
Some would think that pleasure in itself is not a goal, but meaning is. I think pleasure is the meaning.
Kant said, Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the oftener and more steadily we reflect on them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.
Is awe and hope, or pleasure and experience, all there is to the word?