If you want to understand a human being or the human condition, what is the single most important question you should ask?
Most religious people would probably ask, “Do you believe in God?”
The most important question most secular people, especially progressives, could imagine asking is probably a policy question. Today it would be “Do you support Donald Trump?” Otherwise it might be “Do you support abortion rights?” or “Do you support gay marriage?”
As important as all of these questions are, in attempting to understand human beings, especially large groups of human beings — i.e., their society — the most important question to ask is “What in life gives you the most meaning?”
The answer does not explain everything, of course, but it explains the human condition better than any other question.
The reason is this: After food, the greatest human need and human desire is meaning. Even more so than the ability to reason or even to speak, this is the great divide between human and animal. We share all other needs with the higher animal species and share many needs with some of the lower animal species. Like them, we need food, shelter and companionship. But, while human beings seek and need meaning more than anything except food (and companionship — but for human beings, companionship usually provides some meaning, and sometimes enough), no animal needs or seeks meaning. As an aside, this is one of the reasons I believe in God, the Creator. There is no evolutionary explanation for the need for meaning. Meaning is not a biological need. ….
Read more here stream.org/the-question-that-explains-almost-everything/