Meaning of life
As far as the meaning of life is concerned, from my perspective it's always been aligned to the necessity to create your own, since I believe it's inextricably tied to your personal philosophy, whether you chose to formalise it or not.
As far as our relationship is concerned (self) in my view the universe is not GOD, nor do I believe in pantheism or naturalism. Rather, surely, if we are to take modern day science seriously then, I believe, one has to accept the idea that the Universe is some sort of chance creation – and for those of religious view, one that cannot exist without GOD. Although it exists independent of GOD's it responds with encouragement from a creator in terms of the allegory of a child to its loving parents. Camus was the only existential philosopher to claim existence or life was absurd, although Sartre saw merit in his philosophy to respond positively to living a meaningful created life in accepting such a starting reference point.
The problem of time and the contradiction of the freedom (free will) inherent in quantum theory versus the general theory of relativity and determinism.
On the other hand, Einstein, as a deeply religious man, found himself struggling with the obvious contradiction between quantum mechanics and his general theory of relativity so he invented his discredited theory involving a cosmological constant as a solution. In effect to appease his religious beliefs and overrule his own science contained in his general theory of relativity.
In another frame we have the inconsistency of time as we experience it. As one is aware there is no such thing as time in physics- but only space time: the amalgam of time plus motion. But as Raymond Tallis points out, from our personal experience, we always experience time as a never ending series of NOW's. This aspect troubled Einstein as well as the freedom inherent in Quantum mechanics. These realities contradicted his idea of determinism as in pantheism which suggests GOD is a controlling entity in everything.
In other words his idea of a deterministic world, GOD does not play dice with the universe.
He became desperate to invent a solution. But his idea of a smoothing effect applicable to his so called cosmological constant was what he hoped existed but has never been detected and today is widely discredited.
Modern day science has no answer to this continuing mystery with all sorts of hypotheses suggested as solutions involving string theory and other world dimensions attempting to resolve the mystery. So science is in crisis, just as analytical philosophy and epistemology tend to be discarded as authorities in themselves within postmodernity. But they remain very useful tools to support a more comprehensive narrative process about any topic and more particularly in how to find a more meaningful life in the tradition of the great philosophers. One could argue philosophy, given a more humble approach to embrace the expanded narrative, is even more relevant today and continues to make slow progress.
Raymond Tallis suggests human beings move in and out of nature so that we have the ability to transcend its determinism.
Another topic for discussions: is s philosophy making any progress?
Until fairly recently western philosophy was regarded as science and the term metaphysics from the Greeks introduced for discussion on those aspects that lie outside of physics.
So in the early period philosophy and science both played out on the same hymnal sheet to demonstrate progress much more easily than today. Herein one sees advances in science but in philosophy in many writer’s minds (such as the late Stephen Hawking) philosophy is claimed to have lost its relevance and not kept up to date with the advances in science.
To add to this perception, beginning with the likes of the late Richard Rorty ( Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature ) it has been argued that philosophy needs to cast aside its undue emphasis on epistemology (philosophy can’t claim specialised knowledge) and analytical philosophy (likewise nothing special can be claimed relating to philosophy) in favour of just the broad narrative.
The future of philosophy
The future progress is going to slow but it’s continuing in my view as opposed to saying it’s stagnated.
Just as the enlightenment philosophers may have got a bit carried away with the idea they could view a human being as if looking outside of the world we inhabit, so the post modernisation may also want to dismiss some of the gems from the past. E.g. rescuing the self - I remain a Kierkegaardian and Kierkegaard’s existentialism to me continues to change the lives of some that study it - progress in rediscovered attributes relevant today. Likewise Stephen Hawking’s conceited view eventually science would discover a world view for everything inclusive of a quantum general theory of relativity that would uncover the mystery of quantum mechanics has not materialised. At least Hawking did later withdraw his claim.
So that, if anything, in relation to reality, science remains at the crossroads rooted in mystery. It must turn to metaphysics if we are to form philosophies that help make sense of our life.
So I think the sense of wonder will always drive philosophical inquiry forward as I would call that progress.
But feel free to offer alternative views to my notes.