According to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
, a race of vast pan-dimensional hyper-intelligent beings constructed the second greatest computer in all of time and space, Deep Thought, to calculate The Ultimate Answer to The Great Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. ... After seven and a half million years of computing cycles, Deep Thought's answer is:
.................................................. ... forty two.
"I think the problem is that the question was too broadly based..."
"Forty two?!" yelled Loonquawl. "Is that all you've got to show for seven and a half million years' work?"
"I checked it very thoroughly," said the computer, "and that quite definitely is the answer. I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you've never actually known what the question is."
After teaching Arthur Dent about Deep Thought, Slartibartfast muses:
“ I always think that the chances of finding out what really is going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say hang the sense of it and just keep yourself occupied.... What does it matter? Science has achieved some wonderful things of course, but I'd far rather be happy than right any day ... [But I am not,] that's where it all falls down of course.