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    Kol Drake

    When Douglas Adams wrote The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, he added a central joke which has become more famous over the years than the novel itself: “The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything is 42.

    When later asked about THAT particular number Douglas Adams said, “The answer to this is very simple; it was a joke. It had to be a number, an ordinary, smallish number, and I chose that one. Binary representations, base 13, Tibetan monks are all complete nonsense. I sat on my desk, stared in to the garden and thought 42 will do. I typed it out. End of story.


    The author developed concepts based on his intuition for arriving at such an answer. The meaning of life is subjective to everyone and everyone is entitled to their opinion as to see how they look on life. Given the varied philosophies presented here at the IJRS, one might say the ‘average answer’ would be that the best life is the considered life.

    An unprincipled and feckless life is so much at the mercy of chance and dependent on the choices made by others. This is of litlle real value to the person living it. A thoughtful life is shaped by aims and strengthened by integrity. A life must be lived with purpose.

    Now, Douglas Adams was also a bigger nerdy geeky guy than so many who enjoyed his crazy stories. He was also a big fan of the computers. His first book came at that cusp between room sized machines that ate punch cards and those desktop contraptions we love and hate, the PC (personal computer).

    In the books, Deep Thought was programmed by super intelligent mice. Personally, I think Adams didn’t get furry enough in his own thinking! In the computer character protocol known as ASCII (which is used by nearly every English-language computer), 42 is the ASCII code for the asterisk, *. The asterisk is also known as the wildcard character, meaning it can stand for anything and everything. (For example if you’re searching your computer for all documents, your search term would be “*.doc”, meaning all .doc files.)

    So 42 == the asterisk, which covers, well, everything!

    Kol Drake

    After posting this, I am remembering my times typing punchcards. I also remember many of us working so hard — not on complex math or science problems but… on how to use the clunky printers to make pictures using the alphabet and special character sets.

    Kol Drake

    And… don’t get me started on 36.6 or…. 37

    There is a ton of stuff that goes with 36.6… from planetary weirdness to our DNA.

    The Universe is a weirder place than you can imagine.


    *cough nerd cough* (notice the asterisks there as well…)

    Right after my Grandma died in April I was very lost. I started questioning everything and wondering what the point is. I got in my depressive spiral and it was bad. A day or two after her passing we were sitting in the cafe at my Grandpa’s retirement community waiting for food. My mom puts down our table number. I am sitting there thinking “What’s the point of it all? What’s the meaning of it all” and look up to see the number 42 staring me in the face. Well played Universe. Well played.
    Even if it was only a joke, a random number he came up with, I think it has become more since the books were published. It is a joke that lots of people are in on (thus a uniting factor). It is an asterisk, covering everything. It is anything you want it to be and nothing at all. Life is what you make it, which could make it meaningless. If you look at life like Marvin the paranoid robot, (and I do far too frequently) then 42 is nothing and simply proof that life is meaningless. So, 42, just like life, is what you make it to be.

    Kol Drake

    Yes, I admit it. I am a nerd. 😆

    This brings up a point that’s popped up in one shape or another over the spring and summer — our thoughts not only shape our reality but also tends to trigger reality to ‘answer’ in certain ways. Your ‘Grandmom’ tale is a prime example. You ‘asked’ the Universe and got a very specific (for you) answer.

    The Universe is funny that way. It may not come right out and pay all your student loans or produce a new car or home. It may not nudge your next great love to ring you doorbell BUT, it does ‘listen’ and it does tend to have a weird sense of humor.

    Another concept this brings to mind is… group consensus ‘invoking’.
    Enough folks have read the books or seen the movies or listened to the BBC radio show. 42 is a ‘thing’ which has gained an energy all it’s own. An energetic ‘power structure/construct’ so to speak. So, over the decades, 42 has gained an energetic signature & ‘programming’ which anyone can tap if they desire. No different from the centuries of prayer — certain ‘things’ become a part of the Fabric of Everything.

    yep… I’m a nerd… and you should really see about that cough. :P

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