“O Deep Thought computer,” he said, “the task we have designed you to perform is this. We want you to tell us….” he paused, “The Answer.”
“The Answer?” said Deep Thought. “The Answer to what?”
“Life!” urged Fook.
“The Universe!” said Lunkwill.
“Everything!” they said in chorus.
-(from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy)
How would you like to have the answer to life, the universe and everything? Or discover the Theory of Everything? Or find the Philosopher’s Stone? Perhaps One Ring to Rule Them All?
And that brings up a question: WHY have men sought the one magic thing that does it all? Curiosity? Laziness? Powerlust? If they found it, would they share it? Or hoard it to rule the world? Mankind figured out how to split the atom-how did that work out?
Scientists claim to have found the Higg’s Boson, aka the God particle, a nickname that ticks Dr. Higgs off, since he is an atheist. But there is something spiritual about this quest, something Tolkein suggests in Lord of the Rings that is beyond our current level of moral maturity to handle. Stephen Hawking said if they ever found the God Particle the universe would collapse, but so far so good.
For many, many years seekers sought the Philosophers Stone, something like the God particle, that could change base metals into gold and even make men immortal. This was no passing fancy, it was the prize sought by alchemists (including Isaac Newton) for many centuries. Alchemy and the search for hidden knowledge was the force behind secret societies and the Gnostic religions.
“I have a secret. I’m not going to tell you.” “Oh, c’mon, tell me.” “Only after you are initiated.”
Curiosity, the quest to understand and learn-those are good things But the temptation to keep secrets, hoard knowledge and monopolize power is not one of mankind’s more attractive attributes.
Would I like to have the answer to life, the universe and everything? The Ring of Power? I tell myself I would use it to usher in world peace, but maybe in the end, a ruined creature would have to bite it off my finger to save my soul.