Turning older or the “ultimate answer to the great question of life, the universe and everything…”

hitchhiker's-guide-to-the-galaxy-coverAt a crossroads in my life on a number of issues, I was thinking today that getting older doesn’t necessarily coincide with getting wiser. How do you determine if you’re on the right track after years of pursuing, as Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series author Douglas Adams aptly put it, the “ultimate answer to the great question of life, the universe and everything”? And, do you really want or need to know the answer at all?   I guess I’m not that old, but, I’m not that young any more either. In fact, in two days my age will reach a certain number, which, if you are an Adams fan, you will recognize as the actual answer to “the great question of life, the universe and everything”, at least as calculated by super computer Deep Thought.

After spending seven and a half million years calculating the ultimate answer, Deep Thought muses that perhaps the question was a little too broad.

I guess in the pursuit of the ultimate answer to “life, the universe and everything” I agree with Slartibartfast, who tells Hitchhiker anti-hero Arthur Dent:

 “I always think that the chances of finding out what really is going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say hang the sense of it and just keep yourself occupied… What does it matter? Science has achieved some wonderful things of course, but I’d far rather be happy than right any day… [But I am not,] that’s where it all falls down of course.” 

I too understand how being right doesn’t necessarily make one happy. And, there are lots of activities out there to keep one occupied, writing inane ramblings in blogs being only one of them. Maybe our lives are that much richer by not being able to predict the future and base our decisions on any kind of certain future outcome. Perhaps we are not supposed to know both the ultimate answer and ultimate question – it might make life too predictable and boring. Or, would it make it dangerous? 

As I remember from listening to the Hitchhiker’s Guide radio play long ago:  

“There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.

There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

There is a third theory which suggests that both of the first two theories were concocted by a wily editor of The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in order to increase the universal level of uncertainty and paranoia and so boost the sales of the Guide. This last theory is of course the most convincing as The HitchHiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is the only book in the whole of the known universe to have the words DON’T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on the cover.

I guess in the end that’s the most important thing, whether you’re 42 or 92 – not to panic.



2 Thoughts on “Turning older or the “ultimate answer to the great question of life, the universe and everything…”

  1. I don’t know… panic sometimes is important to survival as well. :)

    I don’t know how much of an indicator happiness is in terms of decision making. I recently read in Psychology Today that happiness stays fairly consistent throughout ones life… regardless of the circumstances one is in (unless of course a series of devastating occurrences keeps happening). Interesting post, made me think about a few things myself.

  2. True :-)

    I’m a fairly happy person by nature, but, then again I can’t say I’ve been met with a lot of devastating occurrences. I think writer-types have a tendancy to accept anything that happens that maybe isn’t the best as at least a useful experience to write about later. Plus, writing about such experience likely lessens the emotional impact, i.e. you work out the unhappiness you might experience more quickly.

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