In the end I did come to a sense of peace about the question and I do have an answer. Maybe not your answer, but it is my answer.
Sorry, no sexy-time post today. Got distracted by the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy all evening. What happened was that last night I stumbled onto a youtube clip of the guide and then I spent a hour or so hunting for more of them. I’m talking about the old BBC version from the 1980’s. I started showing my eldest daughter them and she generally liked them.
Then I had the brainwave…
I completely forgot that I had the entire series on DVD!
So then we pretty much pissed away the whole night watching the entire series from start to finish. Great fun and daddy daughter time. She has the same mentally quirky sense of humor as I do. (Youngest does a nice line of physical comedy at times.) Eldest mostly happy for finally knowing where the whole “42” thing comes from.
The YouTube videos of the BBC series aren’t that great, but the recent movie does the 42 thing fair enough…
Of course all this does beg the question…
…so what is the answer to Life the Universe and Everything?
The truth is that I did think about this for many, many years. When I was religious it was conviently answered by belief in God and doing whatever it was he wanted me to do. Just as a direct supervisor he was sub-par as I made frequent requests for direction and essentially got silence in return and had no idea what he wanted apart from an out dated policy manual.
Once dumping God and the policy manual, the questions asserted themselves again. Why are we here? How did we get here? I’m hungry, where’s lunch? When will I get to put my penis in someone?
The answer to Life the Universe and Everything is life. Live life, give life, save life, create life, touch life and accept that all things come to an end and allow life to pass on with grace and dignity. Sometimes the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few; sometimes the opposite. Use your best judgment to do what you can.
The answer to Life the Universe and Everything is the universe. If the nature of the physical universe doesn’t awe you at every turn, you aren’t looking at it right. The sheer size of the universe is utterly astounding. If you ever actually get out of the city area far enough that light pollution isn’t a factor, on a clear moonless night the Milky Way becomes so visible it looks to the naked eye like a long cloud in the sky. There’s something about having 200 billion stars in each of about 100 billion galaxies that is both humbling and cures the lonliness. If we are alone, the universe is as Ellie says in the movie “Contact”, “an awful waste of space”.
The Universe is a wonderous place. Science is the study of the wonder. Seriously, how does gravity work? The earth and the moon dance about in each other’s gravity well – a real world physical force – but there is nothing but the vacuum of space between them. It’s like swinging without actually sitting on a swing. Isn’t that amazing?
The answer to Life the Universe and Everything is understanding that the answer is not everything, but something. You can’t have everything, in the first place you don’t have anywhere to put it all, and then you’ll spend so much trying to keep it all nice that you’ll never get to enjoy it all anyway. Be happy with the things you need in your own service of life. Simple, functional, beautiful items that you actually use are greater than a mountain of stuff you don’t.
The answer to Life the Universe and Everything is understanding that the answer is not everything, but someone. We all crave to be known and joined with another. We are all biological robots running relationship software in our meat computer brains. We all want to love and be in community with each other. That’s why the Internet is so addictive to such a social species.
Your time in the universe is really just a walk on improv role, a few lines and then an exit, but it is your role and no one else’s, so make of it what you will. But with a someone you can create new life together, and somehow you live on. At the end of the day, family is everything.