Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Side Effects

The major problem which the medical profession in the most advanced sectors of the galaxy had to tackle - after cures had been found for all the major diseases, and instant repair systems had been invented for all physical injuries and disablements except some of the more advanced forms of death - was that of employment. Planets full of bronzed, healthy, clean-limbed individuals merrily prancing through their lives meant that the only doctors still in business were the psychiatrists - simply because no one had discovered a cure for the universe as a whole, or rather, the only one that did exist had been abolished by the medical doctors.

Then it was noticed, that like most forms of medical treatment, total cures had a lot of unpleasant side effects. Boredom, listlessness, lack of - well anything very much, and with these conditions came the realisation that nothing turned, say, a slightly talented musician, into a towering genius faster than the problem of encroaching deafness. And nothing turned a perfectly normal, healthy individual into a great political or military leader better than irreversible brain damage.

Suddenly everything changed. Previously best-selling books such as ’How I Survived an Hour With a Sprained Finger’ were swept away in a flood of titles such as ’How I Scaled the North Face of the Megaperna With a Perfectly Healthy Finger But Everything Else Sprained, Broken, or Bitten Off by a Pack of Mad Yaks’. And so doctors were back in business - recreating all the diseases and injuries they had abolished - in popular, easy-to-use forms. Thus, given the right and instantly available types of disability, even something as simple as turning on the Three-D T.V. could become a major challenge. And when all the programs on all the channels actually were made by actors with cleft-palettes, speaking lines by dyslexic writers, filmed by blind cameramen, instead of merely seeming like that, it somehow made the whole thing more worthwhile.

The Living

Too busy. Never think of other people. The living are all the same.
— Zaphod Beeblebrox IV

We have a saying up here: “life is wasted on the living”.
— Zaphod Beeblebrox IV

The Motto Of The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Complaints Division

Share and enjoy
Share and enjoy
Journey through life with a plastic boy
Or girl by your side
Let your pal be your guide
And when it breaks down or starts to annoy
Or grinds when it moves
And gives you no joy
‘Cause it’s eaten your hat
Or had sex with your cat
Bled oil on your wall
Or ripped off your door
And you get to the point you can’t stand anymore
Bring it us, we won’t give a fig.
We’ll tell you…go stick your head in a pig.

The Total Perspective Vortex

The Universe, as has been observed before, is an unsettlingly big place. The fact which, for the sake of a quiet life, most people tend to ignore. Many would happily move to somewhere rather smaller of their own devising, and this is what most beings, in fact, do.

For instance, in one corner of the Eastern Galactic Arm lies the great forest planet Oglaroon. The entire ‘intelligent’ population of which lives permanently in one fairly small and crowded nut tree. In which tree they’re born, live, fall in love, carve tiny, speculative articles in the bark on the meaning of life, the futility of death, and the importance of birth control, fight a few - very minor - wars, and eventually die strapped to the underside of some of the less accessible outer branches. In fact, the only Oglaroonians who ever leave their tree at all are those who are hurled out for the heinous crime of wondering whether any of the other trees might be capable of supporting life at all, or indeed be anything other than illusions brought on by eating too many Oglanuts.

Exotic though this behaviour may seem, there is no life-form in the galaxy not in some way guilty of the same thing. Which is why the Total Perspective Vortex is as horrific as it undoubtedly is. For when you are put in the Vortex, you are given just one, momentary glimpse of the size of the entire unimaginable infinity of creation along with a tiny little marker saying, “You are here”.


Body debit means you press this card and it debits all your molecules from where you’re standing and your body goes into credit somewhere else!
— Zaphod Beeblebrox

The Wave Harmonic Theory Of Historical Perception

Reason not withstanding, the universe continues unabated. Its history is terribly long and awfully difficult to understand, even in its simpler moments which are, roughly speaking, the beginning and the end. The wave harmonic theory of historical perception, in its simplest form, states that history is an illusion caused by the passage of time, and that time is an illusion caused by the passage of history.

Engaging With Robots

Shut up, Marvin, this is organism talk.
— Ford Prefect

Organic life-forms have no sense of fun.
— Robot Dancer