If we assume that there is no extrinsic meaning in life (objectively speaking), it follows that one needs to have intrinsic values to make one's life meaningful.

However, an objective observation of our world tells us that we are just a set of random particles in a vastly huge universe. From that follows that we just exist and things like values, desires, morals, .... are just "psychological" constructs that are neither right or wrong (and we mostly will never get to an answer like that).

The cognitive dissonance then appears as follows:
Analytical thoughts mostly occur to understand and categorize something (as right or wrong for example) - but this striving is contradictory to the belief that, objectively speaking, we will never get to a right-or-wrong answer and that there is no actual (physical) meaning or value.

This of course can lead into a deep rabbit-hole:

  • loss of intrinsic meaning and values ("they don't really exist - so why search")
  • inability in general decision-making("how to decide when there is no right/wrong" or "why decide when there is no meaning")
  • apathy, anxiety/panic/GAD (as a result of impression of no control over one's life), OCD, dissociation, depression...

What does research or practical application suggest, when it comes to analytical (and probably rational) thinking patterns that create a cognitive dissonance, which subsequently (can) create serious psychological issues?

  • $\begingroup$ Do you have any references that may assist the reader understand more of the background? E.g. intrinsic v extrinsic, dissonance, and what are the serious psychological issues? $\endgroup$
    – Tony Mobbs
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 19:08
  • $\begingroup$ I actually tried to keep it short so it wouldn't get too confusing. An example for extrinsic/intrinsic would be motivation(extrinsic when motivated to do sth. for money vs doing sth. because you have fun doing it). The serious psychological issues are listed in the third bulletpoint. I guess "serious" is relative, but in my opinion a psychological disorder can be considered "serious" when it hinders a persons ability to cope with life. Cognitive dissonance is a psychological term, which refers to a state of mind with two or more contradicting beliefs, that causes mental unrest(short version). $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 21:32
  • $\begingroup$ Framing this as "cognitive dissonance" does make it seem as though this is a psychology question, but I don't think this is an example of cognitive dissonance, I don't believe that such thoughts can cause "serious psychological issues" (more like serious psychological issues can cause such thoughts), and I think that asking for "common ideas" makes this question off-topic here. There is no atheism stack, but the philosophy.SE has several questions on meaning of life in the context of atheism, so maybe try there. $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Commented Aug 9, 2022 at 23:47