What comes to my mind immediately in answer to this difficult question is love. Without love life has little meaning : love for one's fellow man; love for one's spouse and one's children; love for one's friends; love for one's students; for strangers, for those who come from afar. Without this surely life has little meaning.

And linked with love comes meaningful work of some kind. Without the dignity and meaningfulness of work it is very hard to love. We need to feel we, too, are lovable in order to be able to love others. We need to feel we have some intrinsic worth and this often comes through work, whatever kind of work that might be.

In my own case I am a writer and thus a reader and hope with my words to reach out to others as the great writers have done for me. I hope to form a community of some kind, to share my own preoccupations, my insights, and my emotions with others. As a writer one hopes to distract and to teach and ultimately to uncover some deeper truth about life and share this with others. One needs to aspire to some higher cause, some higher realm. Certainly religion can give our lives its ultimate meaning in its hope for an after life, but above all it seems to me we cannot live in complete isolation and our attempts to reach out to others gives our lives the meaning it needs.

I agree, love is what gives our lives meaning. Love can come in many forms, and it may be hard to define; yet it is certainly a tangible feeling. It is also a great source of motivation to do great things. Instead of simply doing what is necessary to survive; a passion of some kind can make us yield greater accomplishments. If people think they're motivated by the opposite. It is because they are truly seeking a sense of love, and belonging. A life motivated by hate is unnatural, and misguided.