Friday, October 13, 2006

The Ultimate Answer

This is it, people, a landmark post. Nope, it's not some cliché post number like 25, 50, or 100. This is bigger than that. This post number is the ultimate answer to life, the universe and everything.

This is post 42.

Now, of course, the problem becomes, what's the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything, to which this is the answer? Most who've read through the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series come out saying, "It was never revealed. And no, 'What do you get when you multiply six by nine?' is the corrupted answer." But they're wrong.

You see, Douglas Adams was clever. Marvin, the android with a brain the size of a planet had actually scanned Arthur Dent's brainwaves, and after some planet-sized calculations, come up with the real Ultimate Question. It's revealed in the following piece of dialog between him and the mattress:

"...I am at a rough estimate, thirty billion times more intelligent than you. Let me give you an example. Think of a number, any number." [said Marvin]
"Er, five" said the mattress.
"Wrong," said Marvin. "You see?"

The Ultimate Question is thus "Think of a number, any number" and the answer is 42. Of course, since this is a bizarre universe, this doesn't all make perfect sense. First of all, the question isn't really a question. Secondly, the "question" asks for "any number," but only 42 is correct.

(Aside: Yes, that's only a theory as to the ultimate question, but it's by far the best theory.)

Now, back to our universe. For a while yesterday, I spent some time force-feeding logic to a creationist troll over at Rockstar's Ramblings. He eventually trotted out the tired old line "Science doesn't have all the answers!" Of course, neither does religion. In fact, there's huge debate among Christians as to the ultimate meaning of life. "Why the hell did God put us here?" they wonder. Yet they can't come up with an answer.

This problem exists in almost every religion and non-religion. It's the ultimate "Why?" of existence that plagues everyone. And today, in retaliation for this troll's claim that Science doesn't have all the answers (and his assumption that his religion is better), I'm going to finally lay the matter to rest.

The Ultimate Question: What is the meaning of existence?

My Ultimate Answer: It's epic.

"Wait, what?" you ask. Let me explain.

Let's take a trip through history. We don't have to go back to Biblical times for this, or even Medieval Times. Nay, our answer is found in 1990. It was in this year that the band Faith No More (awesome name) released their breakthrough hit single "Epic" (awesome song).

"Wait... you're saying that song's the meaning of life? Am I missing something here?" you're likely wondering now. Well, no. It's a good song, but not that good. Let's delve into the lyrics a bit.

Can you feel it, see it, hear it today?
If you can't, then it doesn't matter anyway
You will never understand it cuz it happens too fast
And it feels so good, it's like walking on glass
You want it all but you can't have it
It's in your face but you can't grab it
What is it?
It's it

The song seems obsessed with some mysterious "it" which is never explicitly defined. There are many theories, though. Some think it's sex, masturbation, or rape. Others say it's the current hit trend. Still others think it's referring to life itself, or possibly the meaning of life. So, is that what I'm claiming now, that it's the meaning of life? Close, but nope.

The truth eventually did come out, but most people never heard about it. Mike Patton explained in one interview:

I think that too many people think too much about my lyrics. I am more a person who works with the sound of a word than with its meaning. Often I just choose the words because of the rhythm not because of the meaning.

All that wondering, and there really was no answer. The lyrics to that song were just put together because the rhythm felt right. No reason, just rhyme.

And here we get to the answer. The answer to the ultimate "Why?" is the same as the answer to Epic's "What is it?" That is, despite all the debate that's been going on, there truly is no answer. The assumption that there was an answer was faulty.

So, let's go into why this must be. First of all, let's take on the question of whether there's an ultimate beginning to time.

First, imagine the case where there is no beginning to time. In this case, it extends infinitely into the past. For every point back, there's something even further back that led to this. Even if everything has a reason, there's no stop to this, no ultimate reason. This infinite amount of time, in the end, just exists. But let's say we go into another time-like dimension that somehow caused this one to come to be. Then there's a reason for all of this infinity, but we've got something else to find a reason for, and we're back to square one.

On the other hand, time might be finite. It might have simply started at one point, before which there's nothing. What is the reason for this point of beginning? Reason implies some form of intelligence, or at least a cause. But we've already stipulated that there's nothing before this, no intelligence, nothing to cause it. It just exists. That's all.

Now, let's apply this to the Christian universe. According to them, within our universe, time had a finite beginning and will have a finite end. Causing this beginning was the omnipotent God, who they define as infinite. What caused God to exist? Nothing. He simply does. There's no ultimate meaning to his existence, and thus to our own.

And there we have it. I've gone and solved the problem of the ultimate answer to the meaning of life using nothing but logic. Do I expect people to like this result? Not at all. The link to the comments section is below. Criticize away.


yasser said...

i dont think you can call this concept really a problem much less one with a solution

Infophile said...

I'm not sure what you're getting at. Care to elaborate?

Bronze Dog said...

Just thought I'd take a moment to thank you for backing me up against the Kilikian nut.

Infophile said...

No problem, man. Any time.

Bronze Dog said...

He's back. At least he's not so floody at the moment. Making appeals to popularity this time.

Since you're referencing the number 42, think I'll go ahead and mention that I've got something special planned for Doggerel #42. Going to see about teaming up with my brother to write it.

Infophile said...

Since you're referencing the number 42, think I'll go ahead and mention that I've got something special planned for Doggerel #42. Going to see about teaming up with my brother to write it.

Nice. Can't wait to see it.

Anonymous said...

It's perfect, Infophile.

It's logical, it's elegant in its simplicity, and it's going in my blogroll.

Anonymous said...

and why is 42 the right number?...

Anonymous said...

It just is, the answer is just 42 no matter how you look at it.

Chiropractor said...

It's logic! :)