The Guy Quote – Douglas Adams

He wrote The Meaning of Liff (one of my favourite books as a youth), but what Douglas Adams is really famous for is the Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy. The book (and radio and TV series – sadly he died whilst working on a script for the film) fired my imagination and poked fun – gently, satirically – at everything from bureaucracy to religion. Some of his stuff reads more like an extended koan than a science fiction book. I used to try and write like him. Still do, sometimes.

Adams was a Character in the best way. A conservationist, atheist and environmentalist, a lover of fast cars and technology, he seemed blessed with a perspective that could find the absurd in our daily lives and pick out themes for the future. Richard Dawkins dedicated his book, The God Delusion (2006), to Adams, writing on his death that, “science has lost a friend, literature has lost a luminary, the mountain gorilla and the black rhino have lost a gallant defender.

A member of Footlights whilst at Cambridge, he found it hard on graduating to get his style right, so had a variety of jobs to make ends meet – hospital porter, barn builder, chicken shed cleaner, even bodyguard to the Qatari royal family – before finding his stride. Maybe that helped him develop his sense of the absurd. There’s loads of stuff on him here (where I got the picture below) and here.

Next year would be his 60th birthday, and it’s nearly Christmas, so what better time than now (or whenever you happen to be reading this) to celebrate his wit and wisdom.

It is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it… anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.

We don’t have to save the world. The world is big enough to look after itself. What we have to be concerned about is whether or not the world we live in will be capable of sustaining us in it.

We are not an endangered species ourselves yet, but this is not for lack of trying.

He attacked everything in life with a mix of extraordinary genius and naive incompetence, and it was often difficult to tell which was which.

He hoped and prayed that there wasn’t an afterlife. Then he realised there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn’t an afterlife.

Humans are not proud of their ancestors, and rarely invite them round to dinner.

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.

In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.

It is no coincidence that in no known language does the phrase ‘As pretty as an Airport’ appear.

Life… is like a grapefruit. It’s orange and squishy, and has a few pips in it, and some folks have half a one for breakfast.

The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.

There is a theory which states that if ever anybody 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.

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.

You live and learn. At any rate, you live.

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.

He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.

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

“Ah, this is obviously some strange usage of the word ‘safe’ that I wasn’t previously aware of.” [as Arthur Dent in Hitchhikers Guide...]

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.

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.

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.

I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don’t know the answer.

Even he, to whom most things that most people would think were pretty smart were pretty dumb, thought it was pretty smart.

Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.

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.

A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

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 summarise: 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 summarise the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.

He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.

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.

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.

When you blame others, you give up your power to change.

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.

 

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.

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.

I’d far rather be happy than right any day.

 

Don’t Panic.

 

One response to “The Guy Quote – Douglas Adams

  1. Pingback: 18 surprising facts you probably didn’t know about Doctor Who | Attendly

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