The greatest philosophical question that every person usually contemplates at least once in week (usually when waiting in an unusually long line), is the meaning of life?
When we look at the word "meaning" itself in any english dictionary, we usually see two distinct descriptions.
First is purely descriptive - and we use it when we talk about a meaning of a word, and want to know what it describes. That is of course a relative construct, and applying it universally is fundamentally absurd, and we don't even have to look far to understand this.
Take the language itself, the way descriptive meaning is usually conveyed. Majority of English words have a distinct, concrete meaning to a person who speaks english, but to a person who knows only another, radically different language, they generally are about as meaningful as any random clump of sounds or shapes, and if we could perceive the world from a point of view of a chimpanzee, they all would be even more lacking in meaning. And for any entity lacking cognitive capabilities, assigning any meaning to anything would be impossible.
From a large enough perspective, the word "fire"(or any other word) does not have a greater meaning than any other sound or shape in existence. Different human societies and cultures assign different meanings to different sounds and strings of shapes, and no language of ours is ultimately more meaningful than any other.
Therefore, all descriptive meaning is created meaning, artificial and relative.
Second descriptive meaning of the word is utilitarian - it describes a purpose and significance of a thing to an entity capable of processing and analyzing information.
This is also purely a relative construct, and applying it universally is no less absurd than doing it with descriptive meaning. Utilitarian meaning (often called "purpose") of a dress might be to stay warm for one person, it might be to impress other people for another, or it can be to serve as a source of food from a point of view of a moth.
When we talk about a human life, a significance of it can be even more diverse. Purpose, significance of a human being can be to work for his master as a slave, to die for his king in a battle, to provide monetary gain to a salesman, to serve as a food source for a tiger or to provide warmth and nutrition to a tapeworm.
Of course, our lives can be also the most meaningful and significant thing in the entire universe for our mother, father, spouse or children. However, for many other people who have never seen us or heard about us we don't have any bigger meaning than a random grain of sand does.
We can see that what we see as a "purpose" changes drastically depending on a point of view, and is fleeting and relative.
So, there is no ultimately no universal and inherent purpose, ultimate meaning or significance of anything and anyone, and all such meaning is also created, artificial and relative.
The significance and purpose of a person's existence from his own viewpoint can therefore be anything he chooses. The sense of "meaning of my life" is something that makes any sense only for concious beings such as ourselves, rocks or simple forms of life are not capable of contemplating it.
If there is not any absolute meaning for any single entity in existence, we can naturally come to a conclusion that it is utterly impossible to create a meaning of the entire existence that is universal and absolute, and we are free to create our own meaning for everything.
Even if we take a point of view of many christians and muslims; that the purpose of our life is to worship the God who created us
, and without God our lives are meaningless, it is not hard to disprove it. Even if it were true and our origin could be traced to an intelligent creator, it would answer only the question of where we are all from.
However, the way how we came to be does not determine the internal significance and purpose we can give to our lives.
For any intelligent being capable of free and rational thought, God wouldn't carry any inherent and absolute meaning, God would still not have any absolute purpose. From a higher perspective, the god himself would be without meaning. We as humans might assign some meaning to his existence, but only if we choose to do so.
Many ancient Greek thinkers who believed that humanity could trace their origin to a divine cause, still understood that the gods who created us couldn't provide us a fundamental and absolute purpose in the same way that we can't provide an absolute purpose and significance to our children, and that this question could be objectively contemplated and resolved only within the human sphere.
As Albert Einstein wrote in one of his letters when asked about the meaning of life, "The belief in god is not a way out, for in this case you always may always ask, "Why God?"
I personally hold the opinion that we should ask that "one grand question" in a different way, and that is:
What is the highest goal for a human to have in life, and what should I do to make my life really worthwhile?
After reading the above paragraphs, maybe you understand that it's ultimately up to you to decide.
If you are currently not able to make a decision you are fully comfortable with, you can always look how the people around you currently approach this question, and how it was previously approached in the past. You can choose to leave it unanswered if you feel comfortable, there is no ultimate authority that says an answer surely does exist.
And if you feel like there should be an answer, as countless people in the past have felt, you can take comfort in that throughout the entire human history there was an universally common theme in how people answered and still answer this question, and if the majority of religions and philosophies share one principle, that principle would be that unconditional love is the ultimate and highest goal to which a man can aspire, and only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.
It may seem cliché, but that is what the the most satisfactory answer big question currently seems to be.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with saying it has actually been 42 all along.