The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Essay

“…once you know what the question actually is,
you’ll know what the answer means”.
Douglas Adams,
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a book discovered by alien researcher Ford Prefect during his researches on the planet of the Earth. It took him fifty years to compose the wisdom of Galaxy in the form of a small book. It’s a book in the book as Prefect’s Guide gave the name to the famous comic fiction series created by Douglas Adams. Adams expressed his ideas with peculiar wit and ambiguity and made the readers laugh and think about important issues simultaneously. The book can serve a useful service to anybody who reads it. It can be a good entertainment for teenagers, good cosmic saga for the admires of fiction novels, influential work for those, who are tired of primitive fiction. As it was written in the School Library Journal “As parody, it’s marvelous: It contains just about every science fiction cliche you can think of. As humor, it’s, well, hysterical.” (1). Also, the book contains political criticism and touches a lot of questions, which go far beyond the limits of merely entertaining reading.

Some readers regard the Ford Prefect’s copy of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe as a supplementary entreating part of the book. I can’t agree with this as I believe the Guide contained the essence, the primary meaning of the book and the author’s message. In any situation, the Guide provided an answer to the question. In some cases, when the answer or comment seemed to be extremely smart it became an eye-opener to the characters and, later, to the readers also. In other cases, when it seemed extremely silly and even absurd it annoyed and throughout of joint. In these case, it became even the bigger eye-opener.

After reading the book and understanding the uniqueness of The Hitchhiker’s Guide, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to use the wisdom of Galaxy compressed in one book and tried by best using it in practice. Instructions seemed ambiguous, confusing and even senseless in the beginning. But the phrase, written on the cover of the Guide helped me to overcome misunderstandings and hardships of comprehension. These words were “Don’t panic, ” and I think that the Guide could have been reduced to these words as they gave compressed, the concentrated meaning of the book. But the author decided to extend the book, and I respect his decision. One of the first hardships I met when reading the Guide was my own feeling of wounded pride. We are taught from the childhood that human race is the peak of evolutionary progress and the only rational creatures in the Galaxy. Can you imagine my feelings, when reading “mostly harmless” as the only characteristic of our planet and that “human beings turn out to be only the 3rd most intelligent species on the planet” in the Guide?

Besides, human pride has problems coming to terms with the fact that the Earth could be demolished not in the fierce wars with the aliens but to make way for an intergalactic bypass. Same as Adam’s characters, I had to overcome the feeling of my self-importance, and it became an eye-opener, as I could estimate the situation from another perspective. It was an amazing feeling.

Probably it’s a feeling of a grain of sand, which is lost among the billions of same grains but at the same time occupies its unique place and thus support the only right order in the Universe. The Guide lets me understand that taking myself too seriously I lose more than gain. Vain dreams lead to wrong expectations and frustrations when these dreams don’t come true. Unexpected advice and remarks of the Guide don’t aim to confuse the reader. I believe they have more important meaning. They remind us that there is nothing certain in the Universe and that things we care so much about today can become of absolutely no importance tomorrow. “It is this: life and the universe are surprising, the human mind unequipped to anticipate every exigency of the universe, and with a final solution of death for the living and entropy for the universe, there is little else to do but “look back at Death and smile.” (2). Directions, given by the Guide were confusing and sometimes made no sense for me.

Like remark about towels, for example. But reflections and time put everything in the right places and, finally, the towel is a very nice thing to have when the world around you collapses. All the problems can be overcome if to remember the phrase “don’t panic” from the cover of the Guide.

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