I noticed since my previous remark (#0) that Rand also wrote a little about the meaning of the world and the human being in it in her fiction Anthem, which was written in 1937. In my 1946 edition of Anthem, Rand writes:
And now we look upon the earth and sky. This spread of naked rock and peaks and moonlight is like a world ready to be born, a world that waits. It seems to ask a sign from us, a spark, a first commandment. . . . It seems to say it has great gifts to lay before us, but it wishes a greater gift from us. We are to speak. We are to give its goal, its highest meaning to all this glowing space of rock and sky. (p. 84, emphasis added)
I stand here on the summit of the mountain. I lift my head and I spread my arms. This, my body and spirit, is the end of the quest. I wished to know the meaning of things. I am the meaning. (p. 86, emphasis added)
This view of meaning in the natural, bounded life of an individual human being is harmonious with the view Rand expressed in 1943 (post #0). The 1937 engagement with the human search for meaning is a precursor of the 1943 engagement.
One of Keith Augustine’s challenges in his article was to answer the impulse people have to find meaning in their existence by trying to look beyond nature. They seek life-meaning by seeing themselves as part of the value productions of a cosmic supernatural intelligence, which is God.
Rand’s 1937 and 1943 visions offer a naturalistic satisfaction of the human desire for life-meaning. Here is another, contrasting naturalistic vision some readers may enjoy. It is the closing paragraph of The Ontogeny of Information (1985) by Susan Oyama:
Can it be that if we really reinsert ourselves into the world, see our development, investigations and technological control as actions within a network that we support and alter and that supports and alters us, see freedom and responsibility not as denials of causality but as a particularly human acknowledgement of it, if we see nature, including our own, as multilayered and constructed in development, not prior to it, if we see the world as truly our home, . . . with all the loving reliance, multiple attachments, pride and farsighted maintenance that home entails, is it possible that we will no longer need a mystical hidden message? Is it possible that the only message is our lives in our world and the life of our world in its universe?