Cross Posts, Reading

Hithchhiker’s Guide to the Interweb

Back in 2005, my first foray into blogging was “Blogger’s Guide to the Galaxy” in which I explored the real life applications of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and its five sequels. (It was a trilogy in six parts, according to Adams.)

Here is one of those posts, provided primarily for those geeks among us who appreciate the warped mind of Douglas Adams.

“Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws.”

Adams’ universe was one of intense pessimism.  Anything that could go wrong probably would.  The difference between his characters’ reactions highlight the problem with humans. Although all but two of the characters are not, in fact, human, his point was clear.

Arthur Dent epitomizes the human reaction.  At every turn, he is constantly seeking to understand what is going on.  It isn’t until So Long and Thanks for All the Fish that he finally realizes his place in the galaxy.  Thankfully, he simply accepts he can fly and lives blissfully happy to have a girl and his towel.

Ford Prefect on the other hand has been living on the short end of the galaxy’s stick for many years, and short of his surprise in meeting his semi-cousin Zaphod so improbably close to the Vogon ship that dumped them, he accepts pretty much everything as it comes.

Zaphod Beeblebrox is the zenith of the universe simply because he cares enough to not care and therefore is the most powerful being anywhere.  Particularly, Zaphod’s off-hand conversation with the space cops at the end of H2G2 points out that he simply accepts everything that comes down the pike, no matter how improbable or ridiculous. Has has, in every way, embraced the chaotic nature of the universe and chooses not to try to understand it.

Marvin the Robot on the other hand understands the universe, and that is why he is depressed.  Although many bill him as the “paranoid robot”, I don’t see it.  He is just depressed because he sees the randomness of the universe as aimed at him, whereas Zaphod knows it isn’t aimed at anyone in particular.

Trillian is just there for…well, I still don’t see what purpose Trillian serves…

The point is that in Adams’ universe, the universe is inherently a good or bad place. It just is. We can choose to live our lives trying to alter it and trying to get back a sense of rhyme and reason, or we can accept that things happen and move on.


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