It's All About Meaning
All those other things—authority/fame/money/metanarrative—just validate the meaning (or create meaning where there was none). When someone says something is important, what they really mean is that it has meaning. When people do things that we consider absurd or stupid, those things are creating/validating meaning for those people.
This is a similar structure to Lacan’s objet petit a, but in place of our ideal self is the meaning, and in place of the other is the Meaning Validation Device™.
This is important to remember when thinking about motivation—we are ultimately motivated by the meaning.
This is why stories and empathy are so important.