An interesting subplot from Douglas Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” that sets the tone for this blog. Also, spoiler alert.
Once upon a time, a race of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings sought to learn the answer to the ultimate question. The question that would solve the mysteries of the universe. The question that would explain life, god, and everything else as such. The ultimate question… of Life, the Universe and Everything!
It took them millions of years to build Deep Thought, a computer built for this special purpose. Deep Thought ran for seven and a half million years to compute and then check the answer to the Ultimate Question. A grand pan-dimensional carnival was organized when Deep Thought was finally ready to share the answer. Beings from far across the galaxy assembled in front of Deep Thought to finally hear the ultimate answer. Lunkwill and Fook, descendants of the original programmers who built Deep Thought, started the conversation with the greatest supercomputer ever built in space-time.
Lunkwill: Oh great Deep Thought, have you attained the answer to the the ultimate question? The question… to Life, the Universe and Everything?
Deep Thought: Have an answer for you? Yes. But you’re not going to like it.
Fook: Please tell us. We must know!
Deep Thought: Okay. The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything is…
[wild cheering in the crowd]
Deep Thought: 42.
The crowd remained silent. No one understood the answer.
Deep Thought: I checked it very thoroughly, 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.
Lunkwill: But it was the Great Question! The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything.
Deep Thought: Yes, but what actually is it?
[A slow stupefied silence crept over the men as they stared at the computer and then at each other]
Fook: Well, you know, it’s just Everything … Everything …
Deep Thought: Exactly! So once you know what the question actually is, you’ll know what the answer means.
Deep Thought went on to propose a plan to build its successor – the ultimate supercomputer. The new computer would compute the ultimate question. Such a computer would encompass an entire planet, and would have life itself in its computational matrix.
It would be called the Earth.
In a few selected sub-threads of time, Earth is still busy computing the ultimate question. Some believe the computation is bound to fail as Earth’s fate is doomed in all threads of space-time. Others are more optimistic about Life, The Universe and Everything.
In either case.