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Number 42 in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

Updated on March 27, 2013
Number 42
Number 42 | Source

Is there anyone who hasn't heard for this magical number? During the time it became very strong symbol for modern generation and our sarcastic life philosophy.

Douaglas Adams did a great work with this simple idea. I don't know where did he found inspiration for his story, but creating the 'Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything' really taught us something interesting.

As you probably know, one part of this hilarious book is dedicated to explanation of the biggest question of the life: what's the point if there is one at all? And because so many great philosophers in the history failed to answer this question, human kind has only one option if they want to find out the reason of our life and existence - the supercomputer. And as any computer scientist knows, good thing about computers is that they always gives us some kind of feedback. But, that's not always something that we would like or even understand.

So, in his funny manner, Adams presented us the answer on the ultimate question. But that wasn't the answer that we expected, but absurd peace of information that couldn't be embedded in a context, and therefore, a supercomputer realized that all of it's effort was pointless, because humankind didn't really know what the question was in the first place. And I think that Adams' intention with this part of this book was to point out that some questions shouldn't be answered. Not just because it's impossible to give an answer, but also because if knew it, life would be so indescribably boring and pointless.

Finding the answer and reason for something as complicated and abstract as the life itself, should be something that we can't understand. We shouldn't be able to create that question in our minds actually. Because, when we came out with some important question, it usually sound dumb like: 'Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything, and that's something that even the supercomputer can't process in the correct way. So, this computer decided to create another one, in order to find out a better question which will lead us to the more logical answer. And that is the typical example of the question of chicken and the egg. If you have the answer, you will need the question, and vice versa.

So, just for a second, imagine that you know the answer to the ultimate question. What would your life look like? Imagine that the reason is something irrelevant to you. What will you do? Douaglas Adams, in his funny manner, gave us something to thing about, to laugh at, and something that we can't understand and can't make understandable. I think that he did us a favor.


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