Life, the Universe, and Everything

I’m currently reading “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams, and finally enjoying it as it is meant to be enjoyed. For some reason, I’d started this book twice before and didn’t manage to get through it. Why this was so is mysterious to me because a) I rarely have trouble getting through books and b) it is very readable and hilarious and I have no idea why I ever set it down before.
Now, the whole bit about the Ultimate Question – to anyone who hasn’t read the book, this is a mysterious question about Life, the Universe and Everything – is brilliant, because we never actually know what the question is, although we’re told that the answer is “forty-two.” Why do I think this is brilliant? Because I think that actually both the question and the answer are absolutely useless.
I’ve never really pondered “the meaning of life,” or I haven’t phrased it in that way at least. Sure, I wonder often enough about my own life and the lives of my friends and loved ones, but ultimately, I really don’t think that we each have a single, all-consuming purpose in life, nor do we need an all-encompassing meaning.
No, I believe that life is a series of stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and others, and the only meaning that really matters is that which we give it – one day, it might be the delicious taste of a square of bitter chocolate after a long shift at work, and another it might be the intensity of love that pours out of us as we watch a loved one die in the hospital.
Life is fluid, the Universe is unfathomable, and Everything is what we make of it.


6 thoughts on “Life, the Universe, and Everything

  1. I haven’t really sat down and given this a whole lot of thought either and I’ve never heard of the book. I’ll have to check it out. But, I do agree with you. You’re right. The bottom line is everything is what we make of it.

  2. So you recommend it? Because I saw the movie version and me and my friends literally left the movie theater it was so bad.

    I’m curious to hear your final review…

  3. Erin M says:

    Wow, I’m going to feel like miss argumentative . . .

    I first listened to Hitchhiker’s years ago because Stephen Fry narrated the audiobook. ^__^ ♥ Soon after I read the rest of the series and was enamoured of it. Haha, I was a bit too in love with Zaphod . . .

    Aw, I liked the movie, but I seem to be the only person in the universe who enjoyed it. (I saw it after listening to the first book, but before reading the rest of the series.) I really liked Martin Freeman, and I fell hard in love with Sam Rockwell (c’mon, his horrendous clothes, and the part where he says “Oh, baby doll . . .” after being hit by the POV gun?), and I thought Zooey Deschanel was adorable (this was before I’d seen any of them in anything else). And anything with Alan Rickman and Bill Nighy can’t be all bad. And I even liked John Malkovich in it, which is saying something, because I usually find him intolerably dull. Plus it had muppets (er, Henson Creature Shop puppets) in it. And the part where they start up new Earth actually made me cry. Ok, so the special effects were crap, but pretty much all CGI is crap . . . *stopping now*

    I haven’t seen it in a while. *shrug* If I rewatched it, I might hate it.

    And I’ve spent altogether too much time thinking about the meaning of life. But I like the whole “42” thing as well. My theory on it is that either (a) it proves that life is one giant non sequitur, (b) it suggests we don’t know the right questions and wouldn’t understand the answers even if we got them, (c) it’s the answer to some specific question, such as “How many gods are there?”, or (d) Adams just wanted to see if he could make nerdy people bash their heads against a wall trying to figure it out.


    • I actually haven’t seen the film, I’ve just heard that it’s a travesty and shouldn’t be compared to the book. BUT, I knew next to nothing about it, and that actually sounds like a steller cast, so I might actually want to see it now!

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