Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

Life, the universe and everything...

_"Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral Arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.

Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.

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 movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy. And so the problem remained; lots of the people were mean, and most of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches.

Many were increasingly of the opinion that they’d all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans.

And then, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, a girl sitting on her own in a small café in Rickmansworth suddenly realized what it was that had been going wrong all this time, and she finally knew how the world could be made a good and happy place. This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to anything.

Sadly, however, before she could get to a phone to tell anyone about it, a terrible, stupid catastrophe occurred, and the idea was lost for ever."_

What a wonderful piece of writing by Douglas Adams to lighten your mood.

Tiddlywindsherberto

Comments

  • Thank you! Just what I needed to hear.

    PJK
  • PJKPJK UK Explorer

    Yes she found she had won 10 million on the lottery and was dragged back into a life of misery!

  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    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.

    Not the planet's problem - the planet is indifferent to our unhappiness. It's a problem the transmogrified biomass of apes are having, and it consists of their relentless materialistic obsession with and grasping after an abstraction, an idea, they call happiness. All of them have their own ideas about what it is. The ape girl's idea was lost - but no matter, none of the other apes would have listened, let alone agreed and implemented, this fabulous idea. At best, they would have had a big, long running argument about it - maybe accepting it in the end, maybe not. Then the big stupid disaster would come and everything would start all over again. So What? What was the big deal about happiness anyway? Peace might have been a better pursuit, but the apes would have clutched at and obsessed on that as well, and all would have been the same. There is no perfect world, and yet if we are at peace, the world is perfect.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    It makes me wonder what would happen if we would just give everyone enough money to buy everything that they want. There would suddenly be a lot of demand for new sofa's, new high-end cars, everybody would buy great quality stuff and the purveyors of cheap crap would be left high and dry. It would be great for the economy. And I bet it wouldn't even be that expensive.

    Except for houses and a few other supply-constrained items.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Kerome said:
    It makes me wonder what would happen if we would just give everyone enough money to buy everything that they want. ....

    Keromelobsterdhammachick
  • Mr Adams had a wonderful, wicked sense of humor.
    Have you tried the Steak at The Restaurant at the End of the Universe?
    Deeeelicious!

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Kerome said:> It makes me wonder what would happen if we would just give everyone enough money to buy everything that they want.

    My local Tescos would run out of ice-cream pretty quick. :p

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    It makes me wonder what would happen if we would just give everyone enough money to buy everything that they "want".

    There would never be 'enough' to cover the 'wants' ....because wants outweigh the needs... That's craving for ya :winky:

    dhammachick
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    So what we really need is a very efficient rationing system...

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Actually, according to this National Treasure and absolute marvel, we need something more drastic. And trust me, he should know...

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/earthnews/9815862/Humans-are-plague-on-Earth-Attenborough.html

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Well that is true. If we were to get a disease which were to wipe out say 9/10's of the population that wouldn't be such a bad thing for the planet.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited November 2016

    And he's not discriminating. He's picked nobody out in particular, but I don't need to say that those with more affluence appear to have less conscience about how they use the world's resources, and what they do with them.
    People who live in comparatively wealthier societies, need to stop breeding.
    It's a cold, harsh and seemingly heartless thing to say, but every privileged* person who is capable of having children - really shouldn't.

    It seems to go against every social, ethical and moral responsibility that people seem to think they have, but having a child in this day and age is a misguided entitlement.
    And let me immediately say, I am a mother. I have a grandson. My niece has just had a baby.
    David Attenborough himself, has two.
    But the global situation is getting progressively worse, and as he says - if 'Global Warming' don't get us, then over-population and over-use of the world's resources, will.

    I know it's totally politically incorrect to advise people to not have children. Couples - prospective mums - delight in announcing their pregnancies.

    I am convinced that only my adherence to Right Speech, has hitherto prevented me from responding "How irresponsible. Have you any idea what an impact your selfish decision to procreate, will have, in an environmental sense?!"

    Can't say that really, can I? It would be heartbreaking.
    Goodness knows how much negative Kamma I have put into store, by thinking it though....

    (ETA: By privileged*, I don't necessarily mean wealthy...)

    lobster
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    So what we really need is a very efficient rationing system...

    Communism in its true form .....

  • @federica said:

    Goodness knows how much negative Kamma I have put into store, by thinking it though....

    what i am writing now is not a criticism or for argument sake, bear with me
    if one reads following and sees there is no point in it just let go 'what one read', thanks

    after the meditation (as a result of many, many meditation sessions) following understanding occurred

    there are three quick (vary, vary fast) processes happening within and around us
    1. movement of four basic elements
    (we can not grasp it)
    2. process of selecting symbol/perception for the process No. 1.
    (this process is faster than No 1. and we can not grasp it too)
    3. process of sending selected symbols/receiving sent selected symbol
    (this process is faster too but we can grasp the symbols)

    problem arises here
    we do not know there are three process happening within and around us
    we grasp the symbols of the third process without knowing that in between two symbols there are two other faster processes happening, so we add the symbols
    then we have 'a thing'
    so we can think of that thing, talk about that thing, work on that thing

    for example: see the blank space in between the two letters, blank space in between the two words etc.

    @Steve_B said:
    'Twill be interesting to see if you use your new technological skill to pull us out of our comfort zones and into some contemplation zones and new understanding zones.

    i hope you can see where the new technological skill and dhamma discussion of good friends and own meditation took me so far

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I have absolutely no idea whatsoever, what you're talking about. At - all.

    lobster
  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran

    So far it's not taking me into the understanding zone.

  • i hope you can see where the new technological skill and dhamma discussion of good friends and own meditation took me so far

    :) Sounds good. However right speech involves being heard. Reading between the lines ... those insights are useful but not expressed effectively.

    It is possible to express in 'impact symbols' in other words to make impacts that bypass rational processing. This is how humour and Trump works (sorry to bring that up again).

    Remember to stay grounded.

  • Not exactly the direction I thought this thread might go down. That's the internet for you :-)

    silver
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Chatter is a stream with a meandering habit....

  • upekkaupekka Veteran
    edited November 2016

    @federica said:
    I have absolutely no idea whatsoever, what you're talking about. At - all.

    'Goodness knows how much negative Kamma I have put into store, by thinking it though...'
    indicates U R on the 'Path' already, it is definitive

    @Steve_B said:
    So far it's not taking me into the understanding zone.

    process 1 has already sink in 'you' - Food for thought
    process 2 has been happening within - digesting
    process 3 is happening every moment and be aware to know it (the best time and place is during meditation, but even during the day to day activities it can be done)
    you will be there - at understanding zone
    be patient, be aware of what is happening within U

    @lobster said:

    :) Sounds good.

    thanks

    However right speech involves being heard. Reading between the lines ... those insights are useful but not expressed effectively.
    It is possible to express in 'impact symbols' in other words to make impacts that bypass rational processing.

    english is not my native language, there can be hiccups

    This is how humour and Trump works (sorry to bring that up again).

    if U see the process 1, 2, 3 and how they works u know there is nothing (emptiness) to worry

    Remember to stay grounded.

    advice taken, thanks

    @Lee82 said:
    Not exactly the direction I thought this thread might go down. That's the internet for you :-)

    what we expect is not happen always, that is suffering
    to bring that suffering there is 'dukka'
    that what Buddha talk about
    that is what we have to try to understand

    @federica said:
    Chatter is a stream with a meandering habit....

    see, another indication that U R on the PATH

    better stop creating process 1 for who read this post

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @upekka said:
    there are three quick (vary, vary fast) processes happening within and around us
    1. movement of four basic elements
    (we can not grasp it)
    2. process of selecting symbol/perception for the process No. 1.
    (this process is faster than No 1. and we can not grasp it too)
    3. process of sending selected symbols/receiving sent selected symbol
    (this process is faster too but we can grasp the symbols)

    Do you mean something like this:

    1. Seeing a moving shape with particular characteristics and colour.
    2. Perceiving a "car".
    3. Talking about "cars"?
  • @SpinyNorman said:

    @upekka said:
    there are three quick (vary, vary fast) processes happening within and around us
    1. movement of four basic elements
    (we can not grasp it)
    2. process of selecting symbol/perception for the process No. 1.
    (this process is faster than No 1. and we can not grasp it too)
    3. process of sending selected symbols/receiving sent selected symbol
    (this process is faster too but we can grasp the symbols)

    Do you mean something like this:

    1. Seeing a moving shape with particular characteristics and colour.
    2. Perceiving a "car".
    3. Talking about "cars"?

    Not sure if @upekka is referring to this?
    I had this experience once after listening to Pema Chodron & Judith Simmer-Brown discussing the 9th Chapter of Shantideva. That we are more passive receivers than active agents within the world around us. I saw everything as molecules that move, that impress the mind and senses, to which we react.

    We imagine ourselves to be only active agents imprinting the world but it's totally multi-directional.

    The experience only lasted 10 mins - but was a great 10 mins.

    If you think about it, the future is anytime forward, and the past is anytime past but the time in the very now is so so so short.

    The way I came to understand the experience is that it's a series of conditions that lead one moment into the next moment into the next moment. In a way, there's no linear cause and effect, just a series of interacting conditions.

  • 'Interacting conditions' described here:
    http://bschawaii.org/shindharmanet/studies/coarising/

    However, the conclusion of Buddhism is that nothing possesses its own irreducible self-nature but everything depends on something else for its existence. Therefore, all things are empty, empty of intrinsic reality and intrinsic value; all existence is relational. Whatever the ultimate reality of things, it is inexpressible and inconceivable; therefore Empty. All things arise through the co-working of many causes and conditions.

    Gus123
  • @lobster said:
    'Interacting conditions' described here:
    http://bschawaii.org/shindharmanet/studies/coarising/

    However, the conclusion of Buddhism is that nothing possesses its own irreducible self-nature but everything depends on something else for its existence. Therefore, all things are empty, empty of intrinsic reality and intrinsic value; all existence is relational. Whatever the ultimate reality of things, it is inexpressible and inconceivable; therefore Empty. All things arise through the co-working of many causes and conditions.

    This matches my experience perfectly. Thanks!

    Loving the discussion board - so fantastic to have a forum to ask long-standing questions and have a helpful response.

    I'm ever grateful for having come across the dharma.

    Gus123
  • So my original quote of course is from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Having just finished reading the second book in the 'trilogy of 5', I have to say it is insanely brilliant! You spend most of the book wondering what on earth is going on but are captivated by it, then when you get to the end all becomes clear and the literary genius leaves you speechless. Good read!

  • TiddlywindsTiddlywinds UK Veteran
    edited November 2016

    But fundamentally, it's all just 6 7's (or 7 6's). Although some would say it's 42.

  • @Tiddlywinds said:
    But fundamentally, it's all just 6 7's (or 7 6's). Although some would say it's 42.

    But six multiplied by nine doesn't equal 42!

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    By the same author:
    Dirk Gently's Holistic detective Agency (Book #1)
    The Long Dark TeaTime of the Soul (Book #2)

    Utterly brilliant. My desert Island choice of reading matter.

  • upekkaupekka Veteran
    edited November 2016

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @upekka said:
    there are three quick (vary, vary fast) processes happening within and around us
    1. movement of four basic elements
    (we can not grasp it)

    input

    1. process of selecting symbol/perception for the process No. 1.
      (this process is faster than No 1. and we can not grasp it too)

    processing within

    1. process of sending the selected symbols /receiving the sent selected symbol
      (this process is faster too but we can grasp the symbols)

    output

    Do you mean something like this:

    1. Seeing a moving shape with particular characteristics and colour.
    2. Perceiving a "car".
    3. Talking about "cars"?

    i do not think U need any more clues by now

    just a friendly reminder, eye - four elements within is the cause and form - four elements outside is conditions

    if one is mindful/one pays attention to what is happening Now, one knows:
    what is arisen and fallen away - Right Mindfulness
    from where did IT come - Right Wisdom

    Right Here, Right Now

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited November 2016

    @upekka said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @upekka said:
    there are three quick (vary, vary fast) processes happening within and around us
    1. movement of four basic elements
    (we can not grasp it)

    input

    1. process of selecting symbol/perception for the process No. 1.
      (this process is faster than No 1. and we can not grasp it too)

    processing within

    1. process of sending the selected symbols /receiving the sent selected symbol
      (this process is faster too but we can grasp the symbols)

    output

    Do you mean something like this:

    1. Seeing a moving shape with particular characteristics and colour.
    2. Perceiving a "car".
    3. Talking about "cars"?

    i do not think U need any more clues by now

    just a friendly reminder, eye - four elements within is the cause and form - four elements outside is conditions

    if one is mindful/one pays attention to what is happening Now, one knows:
    what is arisen and fallen away - Right Mindfulness
    from where did IT come - Right Wisdom

    Right Here, Right Now

    So basically you are describing the process of perception, and the conditionality of our experience?

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited November 2016

    @Tiddlywinds said:> I'm ever grateful for having come across the dharma.

    Me too, but sometimes it makes my brain hurt. :p

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:

    Me too, but sometimes it makes my brain hurt. :p

    You have a brain!!! Sheer luxury :)

  • smarinosmarino florida Explorer
    edited November 2016

    Apparently English must not be my native language either because I don't understand a word of what anyone says on this thread.

    Like a friend in Hawaii once said after reading the morning newspaper at a coffeehouse, I'm just going to go back to worrying about whether the surf is up or not. Almost impossible to do these days, but something to aspire to in any case, and wouldn't our lives be so much better if we did what he suggested?

    silverSpinyNorman
  • @smarino said:
    Apparently English must not be my native language either because I don't understand a word of what anyone says on this thread.

    We're quoting a book by Douglas Adams called Life, the Universe and Everything. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life,_the_Universe_and_Everything. It was a super-huge hit in the 1980s as part of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series.

    It fits in the realm of absurd humour.

    If you didn't know about the books, this thread would be absurd. Actually it's absurd anyway.

Sign In or Register to comment.