DOUGLAS ADAMS IS A GENIUS

Of course, that’s an obvious statement to anyone who has read him. If you haven’t, you should.

I am certain he will be, in the near future, recognised as a philosopher every bit as important as any of the ancient or 18th and 19th century philosphers whose names are familiar.

His genius lies in his ability to present really deep concepts wrapped in a fluffy jacket of humour.

While I take note of his warning (when discussing PG Wodehouse) of the dangers of taking a quote out of context and thus rendering it less wonderful, I am going to present 2 of his ideas that I find particularly fabulous.

‘Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.’

What I love about this – apart from the obvious making you think about the way we commonly view time – is his use of the word ‘illusion’. He could have chosen ‘construct’. The idea would still have been communicated, but by using ‘illusion’, he imbues the idea with an emotion that would otherwise have been lacking.

SEP – somebody else’s problem. A fact so huge, so life-altering, so able to trash ideas you have held onto as gospel, that when you are confronted with it, you simply don’t acknowledge it. Beautifully illustrated in the Hitchhiker’s trilogy (5 books incidentally) when a spaceship, shaped like an Italian bistro lands in the middle of Lords Cricket Ground at the end of an international test match, and everyone ignores it.

Read Douglas Adams, he can change your life, at least for an afternoon.

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