Douglas Noel Adams

Douglas Noel Adams (11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001) was an English author, scriptwriter, essayist, humorist, satirist and dramatist.
Adams is best known as the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Adams also wrote:
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (1987),
The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (1988),
co-wrote The Meaning of Liff (1983), The Deeper Meaning of Liff (1990), Last Chance to See (1990), and three stories for the television series Doctor Who; he also served as script editor for the show’s seventeenth season in 1979. A posthumous collection of his work, including an unfinished novel, was published as The Salmon of Doubt in 2002.
Adams was known as an advocate for environmentalism and conservation, as a lover of fast cars, cameras, technological innovation and the Apple Macintosh, and as a “devout atheist”.

*****

…Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mind-bogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as the final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.
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.”
“But,” says Man, “The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don’t. QED.”
“Oh dear,” says God, “I hadn’t thought of that,” and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
“Oh, that was easy,” says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.”
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

…Religion… has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever… If someone votes for a party that you don’t agree with, you’re free to argue about it as much as you like; everybody will have an argument but nobody feels aggrieved by it. If somebody thinks taxes should go up or down you are free to have an argument about it. But on the other hand if somebody says ‘I must [not] move a light switch on a Saturday’, you say, ‘I respect that’… Yet when you look at it rationally there is no reason why those ideas shouldn’t be as open to debate as any other, except that we have agreed somehow between us that they shouldn’t be.”
Douglas Adams

…I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.
Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

…I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.
Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

…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.
Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

…I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don’t know the answer
Douglas Adams

…For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

…There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable… There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Ne suffit-il pas de voir qu’un jardin est beau, sans qu’il faille aussi croire à la présence de fées au fond de ce jardin.
Douglas Adams

“I am convinced that there is not a god,” he said. He imagined a sentient puddle who wakes up one morning and thinks, “This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!” to demonstrate his view that the fine-tuned Universe argument for God was a fallacy.
Douglas Adams – 1998

…The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.
Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time

…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.
Douglas Adams, Life, the Universe and Everything

…A learning experience is one of those things that says, ‘You know that thing you just did? Don’t do that.
Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

…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.
Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

…A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless

…Would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

…Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

…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?
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

…The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

…“You know,” said Arthur, “it’s at times like this, when I’m trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I’d listened to what my mother told me when I was young.”
“Why, what did she tell you?”
“I don’t know, I didn’t listen.”
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

…For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen.
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

…I’ve come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

“So this is it,” said Arthur, “We are going to die.”
“Yes,” said Ford, “except… no! Wait a minute!” He suddenly lunged across the chamber at something behind Arthur’s line of vision. “What’s this switch?” he cried.
“What? Where?” cried Arthur, twisting round.
“No, I was only fooling,” said Ford, “we are going to die after all.”
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

…Reality is frequently inaccurate.
Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

…A towel, [The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy] says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

…This planet has – or rather had – a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

“O Deep Thought computer,” he said, “the task we have designed you to perform is this. We want you to tell us….” he paused, “The Answer.”
“The Answer?” said Deep Thought. “The Answer to what?”
“Life!” urged Fook.
“The Universe!” said Lunkwill.
“Everything!” they said in chorus.
Deep Thought paused for a moment’s reflection.
“Tricky,” he said finally.
“But can you do it?”

Again, a significant pause.
“Yes,” said Deep Thought, “I can do it.”
“There is an answer?” said Fook with breathless excitement.
“Yes,” said Deep Thought. “Life, the Universe, and Everything. There is an answer. But, I’ll have to think about it.”

Fook glanced impatiently at his watch.
“How long?” he said.
“Seven and a half million years,” said Deep Thought.
Lunkwill and Fook blinked at each other.
“Seven and a half million years…!” they cried in chorus.
“Yes,” declaimed Deep Thought, “I said I’d have to think about it, didn’t I?”

[Seven and a half million years later…. Fook and Lunkwill are long gone, but their ancestors continue what they started]

“We are the ones who will hear,” said Phouchg, “the answer to the great question of Life….!”
“The Universe…!” said Loonquawl.
“And Everything…!”
“Shhh,” said Loonquawl with a slight gesture. “I think Deep Thought is preparing to speak!”

There was a moment’s expectant pause while panels slowly came to life on the front of the console. Lights flashed on and off experimentally and settled down into a businesslike pattern. A soft low hum came from the communication channel.

“Good Morning,” said Deep Thought at last.
“Er..good morning, O Deep Thought” said Loonquawl nervously, “do you have…er, that is…”
“An Answer for you?” interrupted Deep Thought majestically. “Yes, I have.”
The two men shivered with expectancy. Their waiting had not been in vain.
“There really is one?” breathed Phouchg.
“There really is one,” confirmed Deep Thought.
“To Everything? To the great Question of Life, the Universe and everything?”
“Yes.”

Both of the men had been trained for this moment, their lives had been a preparation for it, they had been selected at birth as those who would witness the answer, but even so they found themselves gasping and squirming like excited children.

“And you’re ready to give it to us?” urged Loonsuawl.
“I am.”
“Now?”
“Now,” said Deep Thought.
They both licked their dry lips.
“Though I don’t think,” added Deep Thought. “that you’re going to like it.”
“Doesn’t matter!” said Phouchg. “We must know it! Now!”
“Now?” inquired Deep Thought.
“Yes! Now…”
“All right,” said the computer, and settled into silence again. The two men fidgeted. The tension was unbearable.
“You’re really not going to like it,” observed Deep Thought.
“Tell us!”
“All right,” said Deep Thought. “The Answer to the Great Question…”
“Yes..!”
“Of Life, the Universe and Everything…” said Deep Thought.
“Yes…!”
“Is…” said Deep Thought, and paused.
“Yes…!”
“Is…”
“Yes…!!!…?”
“Forty-two,” said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.”

Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

…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.
Douglas Adams

…Nothing travels faster than the speed of light, with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws.
Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless

“The major problem—one of the major problems, for there are several—one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.
To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.
To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no ac-count be allowed to do the job.
Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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.
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

…If there’s anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

…I’d far rather be happy than right any day.
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

…You live and learn. At any rate, you live.
Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless

…It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination.
Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

… This must be Thursday,’ said Arthur to himself, sinking low over his beer. ‘I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

…I’d take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.
Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

…Ford… you’re turning into a penguin. Stop it.
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

…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.
Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

…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. Life is a level of complexity that almost lies outside our vision; it is so far beyond anything we have any means of understanding that we just think of it as a different class of object, a different class of matter; ‘life’, something that had a mysterious essence about it, was God given, and that’s the only explanation we had. The bombshell comes in 1859 when Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species. It takes a long time before we really get to grips with this and begin to understand it, because not only does it seem incredible and thoroughly demeaning to us, but it’s yet another shock to our system to discover that not only are we not the centre of the Universe and we’re not made by anything, but we started out as some kind of slime and got to where we are via being a monkey. It just doesn’t read well.
Douglas Adams

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