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Question: whats the meaning of life?

Asked by hithere to AndrewL, Andrew, Emma, Marianne, Paula on 23 Jun 2010 in Categories: . This question was also asked by cheesesneese.

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  • Photo: Marianne BakerMarianne Baker answered on 18 Jun 2010:

    Not really a science question, hithere!
    But, for me, life is just what you make it.

    We get one shot, may as well make the most of it, be happy and enjoy the company of others, try to do something good.

    This is a few minutes that sums up how I feel quite well I think:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p86BPM1GV8M

    We may be insignificant in the vast universe, but what we see around us every day is our reality and that’s what matters. So treating others as you would want them to treat you, being positive, appreciating what we’re lucky to have… that’s it really.

    You don’t have to have a huge ambition or change the world; just enjoy your little piece of it, in this time, that’s the best we can hope for I think :)

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  • Photo: Andrew MaynardAndrew Maynard answered on 18 Jun 2010:

    Hi hithere,

    You mean the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything? Tricky…

    Lots of serious answers to this – it’s what keeps philosophers employed. But a short one to think about: life just happens – it’s up to us to give it meaning.

    Of course, you could just be asking about the Monty Python film :-)

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  • Photo: Andrew LeitchAndrew Leitch answered on 18 Jun 2010:

    Hello hithere, recognise you from the chat this am. Does there have to be a meaning of life? Does this all have to serve some cosmic purpose or are we hurtling through the void on a spinning rock just because some tiny bundle of energy took it upon itself to perform an explosive life-giving fart billions of years ago?

    I think you have to find meaning in life not ‘the meaning of life’. You’ll find people, places and natural beauty will give your life meaning. The problem with that question as you’ve posed it is that the scientific answers just aren’t as good as the philosophical, political and ethical/moral answers..

    Central dogma of life on Earth is ‘DNA transcribed is RNA which is translated to proteins’ (not much comfort in that is there? Of course it is possible to have an ‘unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.’ as Einstein said.

    This is a fascinating area to pursue philosophically and if you take it on you will reap many rewards. Good luck!

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  • Photo: Paula GilfillanPaula Gilfillan answered on 21 Jun 2010:

    Hi hithere and cheesesneese – if you read “The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy” it is 42.:)

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  • Photo: Emma PilgrimEmma Pilgrim answered on 23 Jun 2010:

    Hopefully to make the world a better place for us and future generations, though I don’t think I will truly figure it all out until I am older!

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Comments

  • Photo: AndrewAndrew commented on 21 Jun 2010:

    Well done Paula – my kids tore me off a strip for not getting that! :-)

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  • Photo: cheesesneesecheesesneese commented on 21 Jun 2010:

    hehe. i dont get how they came up with 42 though why not 7 or 14583

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    • Photo: AndrewLAndrewL commented on 22 Jun 2010:

      Just pulled this off the interweb http://www.jayssite.com/stuff/life/life.html. Note the reference to the ‘Hunting of the Snark’
      T
      The answer to life, the universe and everything is 42.

      The second greatest computer of all time and space was built to tell the answer to the question of life, the universe and everything. After seven and a half million years the computer divulged the answer: 42.
      “Forty-two! Is that all you’ve got to show for seven and a half million years’ work?”
      “I checked it very thoroughly,” said the computer, “and that quite definitely is the answer. I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you’ve never actually known what the question is.”
      The computer informs the researchers that it will build them a second and greater computer, incorporating living beings as part of its computational matrix, to tell them what the question is. The result is the sentence “WHAT DO YOU GET IF YOU MULTIPLY SIX BY NINE”.

      “Six by nine. Forty-two.”
      “That’s it. That’s all there is.”

      Since 6 x 9 = 54, this being the question would imply that the universe is bizarre and irrational. However, it was later pointed out that 6 x 9 = 42 if the calculations are performed in base 13, not base 10.

      “42” is often used in the same vein as a metasyntactic variable; 42 is often used in testing programs as a common initializer for integer variables.

      There is a joke that perhaps there may have been some order of operations issues:

      Six equals 1 + 5.
      Nine equals 8+1.
      So six * nine equals 1+5 * 8+1.
      5*8 = 40.
      1+40+1 = 42, the meaning of life.

      In Lewis Carroll’s book The Hunting of the Snark, (before Douglas Adams’ tome was written) the baker left 42 pieces of luggage on the pier.
      42 is also a sphenic number, a Catalan number and is bracketed by twin primes.
      42 is the number you get when you add up all the numbers on two six-sided dice. This is showing that life, the universe, and everything is nothing but a big game of craps.
      According to Google’s calculator, the meaning of life is, indeed, 42. Weird.

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