“’The answer to the great question of life, the universe and everything… Is… Forty-two,’ said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.” ~ Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
In the spirit of high humor and cheeky nonchalance, let’s replace Douglas Adams’ famous quantum computer (Deep Thought) with an existential computer (Deeper Thought). Then let’s invert the question that we ask it: “What is the answer to the meaning of death, reality, and nothingness?”
The answer is also inverted —twenty-four. For the same arbitrary reason that the answer to the meaning of life, the universe and everything is forty-two.
The point of these “answers” is to help us realize the futility of relying upon answers and to instead focus on finding meaning within questions. The discovery of meaning is more powerful and more fulfilling than the discovery of answers.
As Deep Thought further articulated, “Once you know what the question actually is, you’ll know what the answer means.”