I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.
A learning experience is one of those things that says, ‘You know that thing you just did? Don’t do that.
This must be Thursday,’ said Arthur to himself, sinking low over his beer. ‘I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.
All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others.
We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!
Life… is like a grapefruit. Well, it’s sort of orangey-yellow and dimpled on the outside, wet and squidgy in the middle. It’s got pips inside, too. Oh, and some people have half a one for breakfast.
Exactly!” said Deep Thought. “So once you do know what the question actually is, you’ll know what the answer means.
He stood up straight and looked the world squarely in the fields and hills. To add weight to his words he stuck the rabbit bone in his hair. He spread his arm out wide. “I will go mad!” he annouced.
I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.
The story so far:In the beginning the Universe was created.This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don’t know the answer
The Guide says there is an art to flying”, said Ford, “or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.
Would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?
Nothing travels faster than the speed of light, with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws.
Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.
If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a non-working cat.
It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression, ‘As pretty as an airport.
He hoped and prayed that there wasn’t an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn’t an afterlife.
My doctor says that I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fibre and that I am therefore excused from saving universes.
If I ever meet myself,’ said Zaphod, ‘I’ll hit myself so hard I won’t know what’s hit me.
He attacked everything in life with a mix of extraordinary genius and naive incompetence, and it was often difficult to tell which was which.
To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.
One of the things Ford Prefect had always found hardest to understand about humans was their habit of continually stating and repeating the very very obvious.
I think you ought to know I’m feeling very depressed.
Arthur: If I asked you where the hell we were, would I regret it?Ford: We’re safe.Arthur: Oh good.Ford: We’re in a small galley cabin in one of the spaceships of the Vogon Constructor Fleet. that I wasn’t previously aware of.
Arthur blinked at the screens and felt he was missing something important. Suddenly he realized what it was.”Is there any tea on this spaceship?” he asked.
The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it which the merely improbable lacks.
I think fish is nice, but then I think that rain is wet, so who am I to judge?
Ford carried on counting quietly. This is about the most aggressive thing you can do to a computer, the equivalent of going up to a human being and saying “Blood…blood…blood…blood…
Shee, you guys are so unhip it’s a wonder your bums don’t fall off.
What’s up?” [asked Ford.]”I don’t know,” said Marvin, “I’ve never been there.
The first ten million years were the worst,” said Marvin, “and the second ten million years, they were the worst too. The third ten million years I didn’t enjoy at all. After that I went into a bit of a decline.
My capacity for happiness,” he added, “you could fit into a matchbox without taking out the matches first
We have normality. I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can’t cope with is therefore your own problem.
Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.”(Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)
Let’s think the unthinkable, let’s do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.
The only moral it is possible to draw from this story is that one should never throw the Q letter into a privet bush, but unfortunately there are times when it is unavoidable.
Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.
God’s Final Message to His Creation:’We apologize for the inconvenience.
In the center lay the exploded carcass of a lonely sperm whale that hadn’t lived long enough to be disappointed with its lot.
Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?
I find the whole business of religion profoundly interesting. But it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously.
The argument goes something like this: “I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God, “for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.
Unfortunately this Electric Monk had developed a fault, and had started to believe all kinds of things, more or less at random. It was even beginning to believe things they’d have difficulty believing in Salt Lake City.
He felt a spasm of excitement because he knew instinctively who it was, or at least knew who it was he wanted it to be, and once you know what it is you want to be true, instinct is a very useful device for enabling you to know that it is.
Just believe everything I tell you, and it will all be very, very simple.””Ah, well, I’m not sure I believe that.
The Ultimate Answer to Life, The Universe and Everything is…42!
Ford Prefect suppressed a little giggle of evil satisfaction, realized that he had no reason to suppress it, and laughed out loud, a wicked laugh.
Fenchurch had red mullet and said it was delicious.Arthur had a swordfish steak and said it made him angry. He grabbed a passing waitress by the arm and berated her.“Why’s this fish so bloody good?” he demanded, angrily.
He sniggered.He didn’t like to think of himself as the sort of person who giggled or sniggered, but he had to admit that he had been giggling and sniggering almost continuously for well over half an hour now.
Same as you, Arthur. I hitched a ride. After all, with a degree in maths and another in astrophysics it was either that or back to the dole queue on Monday. Sorry I missed the Wednesday lunch date, but I was in a black hole all morning.
This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays
Things hit a limit, though, when I was set upon by a pickpocket in a baker’s shop. I didn’t notice that I was being set upon by a pickpocket, which I am glad of, because I like to work only with professionals.
But what about the End of the Universe? We’ll miss the big moment.”I’ve seen it. It’s rubbish,” said Zaphod,”nothing but a gnab gib.”A what?”Opposite of a big bang. Come on, let’s get zappy.
I think we have different value systems.” —Arthur”Well mine’s better.” —Ford
What does it matter? Science has achieved some wonderful things, of course, but I’d far rather be happy than right any day.
Very strange people, physicists, ” he said as soon as they were outside again. “In my experience the ones who aren’t actually dead are in some way very ill.
A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.
Lovers of print are simply confusing the plate for the food.
Could be. I’m a pretty dangerous dude when I’m cornered.”“Yeah,” said the voice from under the table, “you go to pieces so fast people get hit by the shrapnel.
He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.
The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.
What’s so unpleasant about being drunk?””Ask a glass of water!
Life,” said Marvin dolefully, “loathe it or ignore it, you can’t like it.
And all dared to brave unknown terrors, to do mighty deeds, to boldly split infinitives that no man had split before–and thus was the Empire forged.
The waiter approached.’Would you like to see the menu?’ he said. ‘Or would you like to meet the Dish of the Day?”Huh?’ said Ford. ‘Huh?’ said Arthur.’Huh?’ said Trillian.’That’s cool,’ said Zaphod. ‘We’ll meet the meat.
The little waiter’s eyebrows wandered about his forehead in confusion.
Beppu (n.)The triumphant slamming shut of a book after reading the final page.
Alltami (n.)The ancient art of being able to balance the hot and cold shower taps.
Aberystwyth (n.)A nostalgic yearning which is in itself more pleasant than the thing being yearned for.
A five-week sand blizzard?” said Deep Thought haughtily. “You ask this of me who have contemplated the very vectors of the atoms in the Big Bang itself? Molest me not with this pocket calculator stuff.
OK, so the guy is cool, but… I mean own up, this is barking time, this is major lunch, this is stool approaching critical mass, this is… this is… total vocabulary failure!
This is flight 121 to Los Angeles. If your travel plans today do not include Los Angeles, now would be the perfect time to disembark.
ART: None. The function of art is to hold the mirror up to nature, and there simply isn’t a mirror big enough—see point one.
I’d take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.
But for a moment Dirk had a sense of inifinite loss and sadness that somewhere among the frenzy of information noise that daily rattled the lives of men he thought he might have heard a few notes that denoted the movements of gods.
So the hours are pretty good then?’ he resumed.The Vogon stared down at him as sluggish thoughts moiled around in the murky depths.Yeah,’ he said, ‘but now you come to mention it, most of the actual minutes are pretty lousy.
And then, just when you think that you have experienced all the wonders that this world has to offer, you round a peak and suddenly think you’re doing the whole thing over again, but this time on drugs.
Well, no, not married as such, but yes, there is a specific girl that I’m not married to.
Beethoven tells you what it’s like to be Beethoven and Mozart tells you what it’s like to be human. Bach tells you what it’s like to be the universe.
There is no point in using the word ‘impossible’ to describe something that has clearly happened.
…just because you see something, it doesn’t mean to say it’s there. And if you don’t see something, it doesn’t mean to say it’s not there. It’s only what your senses bring to your attention.
Mr. Beeblebrox, sir,’ said the insect in awed wonder, ‘you’re so weird you should be in movies.;’Yeah,’ said Zaphod patting the thing on a glittering pink wing, ‘and you, baby, should be in real life.’ The insect paused for a moment
Why should I want to make anything up? Life’s bad enough as it is without wanting to invent any more of it.
There are some people you like immediately, some whom you think you might learn to like in the fullness of time, and some that you simply want to push away from you with a sharp stick.
We can’t win against obsession. They care, we don’t. They win.
A life that is burdened with expectations is a heavy life. Its fruit is sorrow and disappointment.
Words used carelessly, as if they did not matter in any serious way, often allowed otherwise well-guarded truths to seep through.
People who need to bully you are the easiest to push around.
It was his subconscious which told him this—that infuriating part of a person’s brain which never responds to interrogation, merely gives little meaningful nudges and then sits humming quietly to itself, saying nothing.
Rather than arriving five hours late and flustered, it would be better all around if he were to arrive five hours and a few extra minutes late, but triumphantly in command.
We have a saying up here. ‘Life is wasted on the living.
One of the extraordinary things about life is the sort of places it’s prepared to put up with living.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy skips lightly over academic abstraction, pausing only to note that the term “future perfect” has been abandoned since it was discovered not to be.
Don’t believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.
The light was only just visible – except of course that there was no one to see, no witnesses, not this time, but it was nevertheless a light.
He let the curtain drop and the terrible light that had played on his features went off to play somewhere more healthy.
This planet has — or rather had — a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much all of the time.
When we told our guide that we didn’t want to go to all the tourist places he took us instead to the places where they take tourists who say that they don’t want to go to tourist places. These places are, of course, full of tourists.
Trouble with a long journey like this,’ continued the Captain, ‘is that you end up just talking to yourself a lot, which gets terribly boring because half the time you know what you’re going to say next.
He was alone with his thoughts. They were extremely unpleasant thoughts and he would rather have had a chaperon.
If everyone knew exactly what I was going to say, then there would be no point in my saying it, would there?
I have terrible periods of lack of confidence. I just don’t believe I can do it and no evidence to the contrary will sway me from that view.
The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.
The quality of any advice anybody has to offer has to be judged against the quality of life they actually lead.
You come to me for advice, but you can’t cope with anything you don’t recognize. Hmmm. So we’ll have to tell you something you already know but make it sound like news, eh Well, business as usual , I suppose.
There was a point to this story, but it has temporarily escaped the chronicler’s mind.
He was following the Earth through its days, drifting with the rhythms of its myriad pulses, seeping through the webs of its life, swelling with its tides, turning with its weight.
Don’t you understand that we need to be childish in order to understand? Only a child sees things with perfect clarity, because it hasn’t developed all those filters which prevent us from seeing things that we don’t expect to see.
Don’t blame you,” said Marvin and counted five hundred and ninety-seven thousand million sheep before falling asleep again a second later.
The longest and most destructive party ever held is now into its fourth generation and still no one shows any signs of leaving. Somebody did once look at his watch, but that was eleven years ago now, and there has been no follow up.
Howl howl gargle howl gargle howl howl howl gargle howl gargle howl howl gargle gargle howl gargle gargle gargle howl slurrp uuuurgh should have a good time. Message repeats.
Zaphod had never heard of this. He believed that he had heard of all the fun things in the Galaxy, so he assumed that the Total Perspective Vortex was not fun.
The last time anybody made a list of the top hundred character attributes of New Yorkers, common sense snuck in at number 79.
Now logic is a wonderful thing but it has, as the process of evolution discovered, certain drawbacks. Anything that thinks logically can be fooled by something else which thinks at least as logically as it does.
One moment I was sitting in your ship feeling very depressed, and the next moment I was standing here feeling utterly miserable. An Improbability Field I expect.
The main reception foyer was almost empty but Ford nevertheless weaved his way through it.
In other words – and this is the rock-solid principle on which the whole of the Corporation’s Galaxywide success is founded – their fundamental design flaws are completely hidden by their superficial design flaws.
Time is the worst place, so to speak, to get lost in, as Arthur Dent could testify, having been lost in both time and space a good deal. At least being lost in space kept you busy.
Meanwhile, the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.
I’m afraid you cannot leave,’ said Zarniwoop, ‘you are entwined in the Improbability Field. You cannot escape.’ He smiled the smile that Zaphod had wanted to hit and this time Zaphod hit it.
All you really need to know for the moment is that the universe is a lot more complicated than you might think, even if you start from a position of thinking it’s pretty damn complicated in the first place.
The chances of finding out what’s really going on in the universe are so remote, the only thing to do is hang the sense of it and keep yourself occupied.
He would insult the Universe. That is, he would insult everybody in it. Individually, personally, one by one, and (this was the thing he really decided to grit his teeth over) in alphabetical order.
In an infinite Universe anything can happen,” said Ford, “Even survival. Strange but true.
After five seconds there was a click, and the entire Universe was there in the box with him.
When I was young I used to have this nightmare about dying. I used to lie awake at night screaming. All my schoolfriends went to heaven or hell, and I was sent to Southend.
Having not said anything the first time, it was somehow even more difficult to broach the subject the second time around.
As soon as Mr. Prosser realized that he was substantially the loser after all, it was as if a weight lifted itself off his shoulders: this was more like the world as he knew it.
And I write novels!” chimed in the other cop. “Though I haven’t had any of them published yet, so I better warn you, I’m in a meeeean mood!
Slartibartfast’s study was a total mess, like the results of an explosion in a public library.
He wondered if it was safe to grin. Very slowly and carefully, he grinned. It was safe.
His eyes passed over the solid shapes of the instruments and computers that lined the bridge. They winked away innocently at him. He stared out at the stars, but none of them said a word.
Zaphod marched quickly down the passageway, nervous as hell, but trying to hide it by striding purposefully.
Gilks sighed. ‘You’re a clever man, Cjelli, I grant you that,’ he said, ‘but you make the samemistake a lot of clever people do of thinking everyone else is stupid.
Zaphod did not want to tangle with them and, deciding that just as discretion is the better part of valor, so was cowardice is the better part of discretion, he valiantly hid himself in a closet.
I wanted to join Footlights,” he says. “I wanted to be a writer-performer like the Pythons. In fact I wanted to be John Cleese and it took me some time to realise that the job was in fact taken.
The best way to get a drink out of a Vogon is to stick your finger down his throat.
Zaphod felt he was teetering on the edge of madness and wondered if he shouldn’t just jump over and have done with it.
There was a sort of gallery structure in the roof space which held a bed and also a bathroom which you could actually swing a cat in. But only if it was a reasonably patient cat and didn’t mind a few nasty cracks about the head.
You know because you’ve been it, and I know because I’m dead and it gives one such a wonderfully uncluttered perspective.
Space,” it says, “is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space, listen…
The best conversation I had was over forty million years ago,’ continued Marvin.Again the pause. ‘Oh d—”And that was with a coffee machine.’ He waited.
It was one of those pictures that children are supposed to like but don’t. Full of endearing little animals doing endearing things, you know?
Anything that thinks logically can be fooled by something else that thinks at least as logically as it does.
The idea was fantastically, wildly improbable. But like most fantastically, wildly improbable ideas it was at least as worthy of consideration as a more mundane one to which the facts had been strenuously bent to fit.
It’s unpleasantly like being drunk.” “What’s so unpleasant about being drunk?” “You ask a glass of water.
and then I decided I was a lemon for a couple of weeks.
A fragrant breeze wandered up from the quiet sea, trailed along the beach, and drifted back to the sea again, wondering where to go next. On a mad impulse it went up to the beach again. It drifted back to sea.
I really didn’t foresee the Internet. But then, neither did the computer industry. Not that that tells us very much of course–the computer industry didn’t even foresee that the century was going to end.
Perhaps they are singing songs to you,’ he said, ‘and I just think they’re asking me questions.’ He paused again. Sometimes he would pause for days, just to see what it was like.
Trillian did a little research in the ship’s copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It had some advice to offer on drunkenness. “Go to it,” it said, “and good luck.
Structural linguistics is a bitterly divided and unhappy profession, and a large number of its practitioners spend many nights drowning their sorrows in Ouisghian Zodahs.
The more Susan waited, the more the doorbell didn’t ring. Or the phone.
And so the problem remained; lots of people were mean, and most were miserable, even the ones with digital watches.
the only thing that really gets hurt when you try and change time is yourself.
The best conversation I had was over forty million years ago,’ continued Marvin.
And for all the richest and most successful merchants life inevitably became rather dull and niggly, and they began to imagine that this was therefore the fault of the worlds they’d settled on.
But now he felt as if the whole world were tipping backwards over his head, and this, he couldn’t help feeling, was a very worrying thing for the world to do.
The bowler approached the wicket at a lope, a trot, and then a run. He suddenly exploded in a flurry of arms and legs, out of which flew a ball.
He suddenly exploded in a flurry of arms and legs, out of which flew a ball.
He was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher… or, as his wife would have it, an idiot.
I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.
Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the drug store, but that’s just peanuts to space.
If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.
Flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.
The knack of flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.
Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
I don’t believe it. Prove it to me and I still won’t believe it.
A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
Working out the social politics of who you can trust and why is, quite literally, what a very large part of our brain has evolved to do.
We no longer think of chairs as technology; we just think of them as chairs. But there was a time when we hadn’t worked out how many legs chairs should have, how tall they should be, and they would often ‘crash’ when we tried to use them.
To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.