wuthering thoughts
Another pleonastic blog. Diary of an insomniac. And I always lose my words beyond the second sentence.


I'd hazard a guess that very few numbers ever became famous because literature endorsed it. 42 is an exception. Douglas Adams immortalized the number as the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything. (These days, even Google's calculator would tell you that -- try punching in that question.)

I have thought about it for a while and only found myself satisfied to think that it was an accident that Adams chose what he chose. Wikipedia's entry on the number 42 kind of confirms it. And that Adams rejected every other hypothesis.

But let's go back, why this sudden interest? I was looking up references to 'Looking-Glass' and Carroll (of Alice in Wonderland fame) and bumped on Carroll's life and eventually his favourite number. Guess what number it was? 42! That was that -- I spun around on my chair and pulled a few strands of hair out in sheer excitement. In short, I was having an 'Eureka' moment.

Would it be unfair to wager my money on the fact that Adams, being English himself ,had read Carroll? That he was strongly influenced by his works? Or that he had gone through his biography, his idiosyncrasies? That he knew 42 was Carroll's favourite number? (See 'the Through the Looking-Glass' article on wikipedia and in particular the section on The Chess Problem.) That, that fact had been sowed somewhere deep on the back of his mind? That, when he tried to think of a number, he could think of something he already knew? That, random is not always as random as it seems?

Maybe, just maybe, it was his own way of showing his appreciation of Carroll's works?

Of course, that's a lot of maybes and one could always argue that it's dangerously close to daybreak, and I haven't have had my cup of tea after a long (day and) night and I'm off the edge. That Adam's word on this is final (and yes, I'd be happier to think that way, but ...)

So, this is where I will rest my case.

Update: Some more ('elementary', pff!) research on the internet shows this has been well researched and DNA himself was 'annoyed' (to quote a poster on an internet forum) with this linkage. So, there goes my early morning theory -- down the drain. Okay, off to the tea now.

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