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Author Topic: A question to your answer: a philisophical meandering
The Chump
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Icon 3 posted November 02, 2002 13:09      Profile for The Chump   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Here are two snippet's for you to contemplate:

Er ... Good morning, O Deep Thought," said Loonquawl nervously, "do you have ... er, that is..."

"An answer for you?" interrupted Deep Thought majestically. "Yes. I have."
. . .
"To Everything? To the great Question of Life, the Universe and Everything?"
. . .
"Though I don't think," added Deep Thought, "that you're going to like it."
. . .
"Tell us!"

"Alright," said Deep Thought. "The Answer to the Great Question..."

"Of Life, the Universe and Everything..." said Deep Thought.

"Is." said Deep Thought, and paused.

"Yes...!"
. . .
"Forty-two," said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.
. . .
"Forty-two!" yelled Loonquawl. "Is that all you've got to show for seven and a half million years' work?"

"I checked it very thoroughly," said the computer, "and that quite definitely is the answer. I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you've never actually known what the question is."

"But it was the Great Question! The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything!" howled Loonquawl.

"Yes," said Deep Thought with the air of one, who suffers fools gladly, "but what actually is it?"

A slow stupefied silence crept over the men as they stared at the computer and then at each other.

"Well, you know, it's just Everything ... Everything..." offered Phouchg weakly.

"Exactly!" said Deep Thought. "So once you do know what the question actually is, you'll know what the answer means."

Douglas Adams. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

(upon saving the Hogfather from never having existed-Ed.)
"I remember hearing," said Susan distantly, "that the idea of the Hogfather wearing a red and white outfit was invented quite recently."

NO. IT WAS REMEMBERED.

Now the Hogfather was a red dot on the other side of the valley.

"Well, that about wraps it up for this dress." said Susan. "I'd just like to ask, just out of academic interest...you were sure I was going to survive, were you?"

I WAS QUITE CONFIDENT.

"Oh, good."

I WILL GIVE YOU A LIFT BACK, said Death, after a while.

"Thank you. Now...tell me..."

WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF YOU HADN'T SAVED HIM?

"Yes! The sun would have risen just the same, yes?"

NO.

"Oh, come on. You can't expect me to believe that. It's an astronomical fact."

THE SUN WOULD NOT HAVE RISEN.

She turned on him.

"It's been a long night, Grandfather! I'm tired and I need a bath! I don't need silliness!"

THE SUN WOULD NOT HAVE RISEN.

"Really? Then what would have happened, pray?"

A MERE BALL OF FLAMING GAS WOULD HAVE ILLUMINATED THE WORLD.

They walked in silence for a moment.

"Ah," said Susan dully. "Trickery with words. I would have thought you'd have been more literal-minded than that."

I AM NOTHING BUT LITERAL-MINDED. TRICKERY WITH WORDS IS WHERE HUMANS LIVE.

"All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need...fantasies to make life bearable."

REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE."

"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little--"

YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE LITTLE LIES.

"So we can believe the big ones?"

YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.

"They're not the sam at all!"

YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY, AND YET-- Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.

"Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point--"

MY POINT EXACTLY.

Terry Prachett. Hogfather.

So you see the answer 42 is calculated by a machine who merely crunched numbers and facts to get a very simple and final answer, but in the realm of human nature we often do things that don't make sense with the direct outcome being irrelevent. The Question is why are we here and what are we supposed to do while we're here? The Answer is irrelevant. It's what I will call the Side-effect that matters. For all the great people who have sought to answer the great question have never really found an answer, but they HAVE managed to make positive contributions to those around them whether great in scope, or along a more personal level.

--------------------
Vedi Vidi Velcro "I came, I saw, I stuck around"
quality in posting since dec 2000

Posts: 184 | From: In my chair, in front of my laptop, at my desk, in my kitchen, in my aprtment, o | Registered: Dec 2000  |  IP: Logged
SupportGoddess

Solid Nitrozanium SuperFan!
Member # 822

Icon 1 posted November 02, 2002 22:58      Profile for SupportGoddess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Nice taste in literature. =)

--------------------
"A heretic is a man who sees with his own eyes."
-Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

Posts: 1148 | From: The Digital Temple | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
neotatsu
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
Member # 1429

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Icon 1 posted November 04, 2002 08:55      Profile for neotatsu     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
But the ultimate question is 'what is six times nine'. After that revalation Arthur said "I always knew there was something fundamentally wrong with the universe." Makes perfect sense to me, it gets to the same point you just made. Humans just assign values to things to try and understand them, but it's just 'human nature'. Seriously though, what if six times nine really is fourty-two...

--------------------
I'm curious... About what, you ask? EVERYTHING!

Posts: 2239 | From: Western WA | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
TMBWITW,PB

Member # 1734

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Icon 1 posted November 04, 2002 11:22      Profile for TMBWITW,PB     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by neotatsu:
But the ultimate question is 'what is six times nine'. After that revalation Arthur said "I always knew there was something fundamentally wrong with the universe." Makes perfect sense to me, it gets to the same point you just made. Humans just assign values to things to try and understand them, but it's just 'human nature'. Seriously though, what if six times nine really is fourty-two...

Actually the ultimate question started with "What is six times seven" but then poor Arthur ran out of Scrabble tiles. [Wink]

Besides which, in base 13 six times nine does equal 42!

Posts: 4010 | From: my couch | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
neotatsu
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
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Icon 1 posted November 04, 2002 22:57      Profile for neotatsu     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by TMBWITW,PB:
quote:
Originally posted by neotatsu:
But the ultimate question is 'what is six times nine'. After that revalation Arthur said "I always knew there was something fundamentally wrong with the universe." Makes perfect sense to me, it gets to the same point you just made. Humans just assign values to things to try and understand them, but it's just 'human nature'. Seriously though, what if six times nine really is fourty-two...

Actually the ultimate question started with "What is six times seven" but then poor Arthur ran out of Scrabble tiles. [Wink]

Besides which, in base 13 six times nine does equal 42!

Oop, excuse my blasphemy, but my point is still valid.

--------------------
I'm curious... About what, you ask? EVERYTHING!

Posts: 2239 | From: Western WA | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged


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