In Douglas Adams’ series of books, a supercomputer is asked for the answer to the “Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything”. After 7½ million years the answer comes back – 42.

There is a young man in my compound. He is asking lots of questions about many issues. If he is genuinely searching. I’m impressed.  Yet with all this inquiry he is sure he knows the Truth. When I ask him what this is he says Jesus Christ.

This answer seems to me as useful as 42. It doesn’t tell us anything meaningful. It says nothing about the meaning of life (which this young man is still searching for), about quantum physics or about mathematical truth. It is not, of course, the Truth. To be generous, it is only one aspect of it. It is incomplete.

Luckily he has not got to the point where he cuts off all other investigation because he feels he already has Truth.

The quest for Truth appears to me to be a lifelong journey that is never complete. It is an exciting adventure that some people get scared to continue when uncomfortable conclusions present themselves.

I wrote a poem for this young man.

he prayed
his desperate cries piercing the dark empty space of the universe
still nothing
there must be meaning in all this;
mustn’t there?

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