The Ultimate Answer

On a whim, I searched my RSS reader for any instances of 42. The result was disturbing. I think, just for a sense of completeness, I’m going to blog every reference of 42 I can find. Note that the politics-content of is still intended to remain zero. I instead request that commentary on these items be restricted to the larger and more important issue of how the occurrence of 42 in the story at hand might lend clues towards divining the Ultimate Question.

Let’s get started. Today’s 42ism comes from the UK, appropriately enough.

Gordon Brown is facing the threat of his first defeat in the Commons since taking over as prime minister, after a Guardian survey found strong – and growing – opposition among Labour MPs to the government’s plans to detain terror suspects without charge for up to 42 days.

(followed by lots of blah blah about governmental something or other)

Intriguing. This suggests that 42, manifesting as a number of days for incarceration, is a proxy for the balance between the principles of human rights versus society’s need for security. Perhaps more broadly we might say that here 42 is a stand-in between the forces of chaor and order, where chaos is the expressive element of the Universe and order is the emergent structure that arises from it.