In memoriam Douglas Adams
Ten years ago, the writer Douglas Adams passed away suddenly and way too early at age 49. Adams was one of the rare people who were both insightful and funny. Here are my 10 favorite quotes from him:
10. Generally, old media don’t die. They just have to grow old gracefully. Guess what, we still have stone masons. They haven’t been the primary purveyors of the written word for a while now of course, but they still have a role because you wouldn’t want a TV screen on your headstone.
9. All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others.
8. 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.
7. He hoped and prayed that there wasn’t an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn’t an afterlife.
6. 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”.
5. I find the whole business of religion profoundly interesting. But it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously.
4. 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.
3. See first, think later, then test. But always see first. Otherwise you will only see what you were expecting. Most scientists forget that.
2. I’d take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.
1. A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof was to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.