Great article — enjoyed reading it and thought you articulated that viewpoint really well. I kind of float in and out of thinking that way depending on the day, but have a couple lingering questions I can’t get past, maybe you can:
- How do you reconcile the findings from Sean Carroll and his colleagues regarding dark matter, dark energy, quantum entanglement, string theory, etc., that kind of shatter the idea that the universe operates on fundamentally mechanical laws, and definitely explode any notion that we understand how the universe actually works?
- You’re saying that the universe will do its thing and we will do ours, but we technically are the universe, made of stardust and all that, there’s no “us” apart from the universe, so don’t we have to be somewhat infused with its inner-workings? And given that its inner-workings are so bound up with uncertainties (quantum, dark, etc.), I can’t justify to myself being so sure that meaning has no deeper roots than human construction, and that our existence isn’t somehow infused with those same cosmic uncertainties.
- This is the toughest one for me: generally, quests for meaning are tied to notions of “truth” or “reality”. But since we have such a loose grasp on what reality actually is, and how it works, how can we settle the matter of meaning? How can we confidently say that a sense of meaning isn’t in some way intertwined with an unknown aspect of the cosmos, or that deepest layer of the universe which we aren’t even remotely close to understanding?
And if meaning were just a human construction, why is it that we wouldn’t have figured out how to build it by now? Ultimately, I just never get how people like Carroll can say anything definitive about the meaning of the universe, the deepest question we can ask of it, when he knows better than any of us how little we understand of it.