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I put out a call on twitter today for suggestions on topics for this next blog post. Most of the replies were to technically ridiculous, I couldn’t spell them again if my life depended upon it. So it seems that when you remove the ridiculous you are left with the outright lunacy of @holuxuxa who suggested “the answer to life, the universe and everything”.

Douglas Adams would have it that the answer is 42. I doubt this for several reasons.

  • I was 42, once, for a whole year and I didn’t understand the world any better then than I do now I’m 21. Again..
  • 42 is not a prime number nor does it occur in Fibonacci’s sequence. If 42 were so special, it’d be in at least one of these. Preferably both.
  • I watched a lot of Charmed back in the day. I have a daughter of the right age, OK? Anyhoo, according to the witchy sisters, it was all about the power of three and while three is a factor of 42, so is 1, 2, 7… you get the idea. Not sounding so special now, is it?
  • Wikipedia’s definition of 42 is as follows: “The natural number following 41 and preceding 43.” *yawn*  Sorry, did I miss something deep and mystical there? Thought not. But it did go on to tell us about some interesting facts about Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland.
    • The book contains 42 illustrations.
    • Rule 42 in the court of the Red Queens stated that all persons more than a mile high should leave the court.
    • In The Hunting of the Snark the Baker had “forty-two boxes, all carefully packed, with his name painted clearly on each”.

Interesting stuff, but hardly world shattering.

  • The former country of Czechoslovakia’s dialling code is +42. Yeah, so what? Didn’t exactly lead to world domination for them.
  • Coldplay has a track called 42 on Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends. Nuff said.
  • There are several companies out there called Forty Two something or other but not one of them is challenging Steve Jobs for world domination.

    On balance, I think it’s fair to say that while he wrote some very entertaining books, Douglas Adams knew nowt about the Big Question.

    I will tell you what I think it should be all about though. The answer should be about following our hearts until our heads tell us to stop being ridiculous and grow up. We don’t need to stop, but we should listen. That’s another thing: we should all talk less and listen more. Modern life is filled with so much NOISE we’ve forgotten how to just shut up and listen to what the other person is saying. Communication is two-way and there are too many head-on collisions with other people that could be avoided if we listened more. Caring a bit more for other people might be good too. At least let’s care about people more than money or things. And whatever else the answer is, I secretly believe it includes a poodle.

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