Life, The Universe and Everything
The first thing that comes to our mind is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. It is a fictitious novel based on an alternate universe theory where the earth is supposedly built for a scientific experiment by a super computer called Deep Thought. It states that the earth was built for and commissioned by mice to learn the answer to ‘Life, The Universe and Everything’.
This question regarding life, the universe and everything is indeed a universal question. We have some of the best scientific minds the human race spending lifetimes trying to answer these questions. Many of us ourselves wonder on this issue. From this, the easiest solved is life. After centuries of thinking, debating and experiments, some of our top scientists have found the answer to life, its meaning and importance. The online encyclopedia Wikipedia defines life as characteristic distinguishing physical entities having biological processes from those that are inanimate. We have a magazine called LIFE, which tries to record the meaning and interpretation of life through its photographs and journals. Even after so many centuries of debate, thinking and interpretations, we still feel there are questions unanswered in this regard. According to me, the meaning and interpretation of life depends on the perspective of the individual who is living. Unfortunately, an inanimate person or thing cannot think, therefore it cannot give us its argument on life.
The next question we are concerned with is the universe (I’m convinced that no Vogon construction fleet is stationed outside our atmosphere waiting to blow us up right now). The chance of listening to any Vogon poetry is just as distant as the chance of meeting the president of the galaxy. But for us earthlings, the universe is the end of our imagination. We have sent robotic probes to the farthest corners of the solar system and some even beyond. We are curious to know the unknown. The thirst of knowledge and our dedication to pursue it to the end is the greatest dream nurtured by us. Man has always dreamed of reaching higher and farther into space. I’m sure most of us stare at a night sky with nothing short of wonder and expectations in our eyes. The Hitchhiker’s guide defines universe as a very big thing that contains a great number of planets and a great number of beings and it is immensely vast being ‘bigger than the biggest thing ever and then some’. For us earthlings unaccustomed to space travel, it’s a big expanse of space filled with other stellar bodies and gases. Our understanding of the universe is just as varied and complex and imaginative as the grass on a field. We give justifications regarding the universe to ourselves. We know it’s big, black, cold and full of aliens. Recently, our probe has reached the planet Pluto and more probes are scanning the rest of the galaxies looking for life. So this is a very ‘gray’ area for us. It is complex to explain what the universe truly is or what it stands for. So, instead of complicating thing, let’s move to our next ‘agenda’.
Our final agenda for the day is ‘everything’. As the word suggests, it means everything. If everything means everything, then how can we define it? Google, the father of information in this era, defines everything as ‘all things’. This word is all encompassing. It is difficult to explain this in words. In my opinion, this is the fundamental and basic question that bothers us the most – what is everything. The solar systems, the galaxies, the universe – is it everything? Or is there more?
To understand and answer these questions, I think we’ll need another Deep Thought super computer or maybe commission another ‘Earth’. These questions are the fundamental queries one faces sometime in their life. Centuries have been spent debating on these issues and still it looks like a few more may pass before we can find any conclusions. These are humanities biggest teasers, the greatest question of all times. This phrase is truly the one question to ask – ‘Life, The Universe and Everything’.
Shirshadeep Bhattacharyya | PGDM 2015-17