Who knows THE answer?
Posted to %afda by pieceoftheuniverse on 9 October 2000
<much nothingness snipped>
The great thing about the Answer -- well, actually, ONE of the great things about the Answer, for there are several -- is its extreme flexibility towards just about any sort of question that you might deign to put it towards.
It has almost, but not entirely, taken a place at the forefront of almost any invasion of newbies who would dare to ask a commonplace query. It is then practically required for someone, somewhere, to shout out "Forty-two!" at the top of his or her lungs (posting is completely optional at this point). Thus are a wide variety of questions exposed to the answer, in the hope that one of them will, at some point or another, fit.
Some things about the Answer that you may not have already heard:
So, to answer your question, just about everyone knows the Answer; it's the Question which has long been in debate.
- it is not a mathematical conundrum. Trust us on this one.
- it was supposedly selected completely at random. Any correlation between the Ultimate Answer and real life only go to prove that:
- you're looking too hard
- you are addicted to all things Adams, and/or
- the "trilogy" is not so much the work of an imagination, but the actual truth in easy-to-digest forms. "Arthur Dent," after all, is almost, but not quite, an anagram of "Douglas Adams."
- the Answer could be in reference to "How many words are in the -actual- Answer?" Granted, forty-two words would make up a rather long question, but this is, after all, supposed to be the Ultimate Question for Life, the Universe, and Everything. It has to be specific enough to work, but general enough to be universal. Forty-two words just might cover it (although not if phrased in legalese; that would just be a long way about of saying nothing in particular while filling the room with excess carbon dioxide, or whatever your particular biogenic waste product may be. Forty-two words would barely be able to get you to ascertain that black may or may not be caused by the absorption of light).
- it has been the subject of much debate over what "42" actually means, only to come up, after grueling hours of many a fan wearing their fingers down to the bone on various treatises of a variety of sorts, with the fact that no one actually knows. Which would make sense, seeing as how if we could come up with it, surely the highly intelligent pan-dimensional beings would have thought of it in their sleep, turned over in their beds, and not so much as informed, say, the county, of this particular turn of events because everyone at some point in their lives has that tired old epiphany.
- it has been suggested (so no, you're not the first) that it's different for everyone. In which case, the Question and Answer in question no doubt have a lot to do with Brockian Ultra-Cricket and not, as some have believed, a philosophical puzzle. This is rather sad, for a couple of reasons:
- Earth was destroyed over a rather silly game, and
- it's not the first.
- speaking of epiphanies and games of Brockian Ultra-Cricket, we come to Fenchurch, otherwise known as "the woman in the pub." As one may recall, she had come up with a wonderful solution to a lot of things that had been troubling her particular race since they had crash-landed on this sphere a little over several million years ago. The only reason why this would have worked is because, as has been long suspected, Earth governments are run an awfully lot like a game of Brockian Ultra-Cricket.