one article said that value was just an imaginary metric that doesn’t exist and that nothing was “worth it”.
I don’t think it says that, but I can see how you might think it does. But arguing with you is pretty pointless, so instead, here’s a different point of view that might shake you out of your current position. Dr. Richard Carrier has been arguing with a theologian on the existence of God. His arguments apply to any kind of philosophy that attempts to claim there is some way of life that can replace what we actually experience. I’m not sure if you can get this without reading through the whole thing, but Carrier’s point boils down to; reality shaped us, so understanding what’s real and true is the best path to happiness. Unless reality is designed to makes us unhappy, that has to be true. And unhappiness would less likely lead to survival, so if that were the case, we wouldn’t be here talking about it. The difficulties we experience are due to the impression of the process of evolution. There’s no way around that and attempts to shortcut it won’t end well. Here’s a good summary:
What humans more and more discover is that there could never have been anything worth seeking but a desirable life. And moral values and duties are what we must embody to maximize our opportunity for that. But evolution, being unintelligent and indifferent, did a better-than-nothing but still poor job of developing for us reliable organs of reason and moral perception. Which actually proves there is no God; for He’d be morally obligated to install in us reliable engines of reason and moral perception, while atheism successfully predicts evolution wouldn’t, requiring us to fix it.
Finally, you can’t just rewrite a social and cognitive system, much less on any arbitrary desire you may have. So it’s not the case that you can just “choose” to operate as if a different system exists. Try, and the system that does exist will crush or frustrate you. This is not only true of the social system (“thieves and gang members, serial killers, pedophiles and sadists” and “Nazis” statistically end up nowhere near optimal life-satisfaction, but typically end up crushed or miserable) but also of the cognitive system (such persons are psychologically always dissatisfied, with themselves and the world; often even wallowing in loathing and misery).
That’s from the section on the moral argument, starting here. https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/15591 There is an index, so you can pick sections. He also links to other essays of his, so you can dig deeper on his ideas. Here’s one on a moral god hypothesis, which applies to any philosophy that claims our evolved notions of value are imaginary. Showing how it doesn’t match what we experience