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"What else do _you_ do?" #

ZAPHOD BEEBLEBROX: . . . [W]hat's your name?
MAN: I don't know. Why, do you think I ought to have one? It seems odd to give a bundle of vague sensory perceptions a name.
ZARNIWOOP: Listen. We must ask you some questions.
. . .
ZARNIWOOP: How long have you been ruling the Universe?
MAN: Ah, this is a question about the past is it?
MAN: How can I tell that the past isn't a fiction designed to account for the discrepancy between my immediate physical sensations and my state of mind?
ZARNIWOOP: Do you answer all questions like this?
MAN: I say what it occurs to me to say when I think I hear people say things. More I cannot say.
. . .
ZARNIWOOP: People come to you, yes?
MAN: I think so.
ZARNIWOOP: And they ask you to take decisions—about wars, about economies, about people, about everything going on out there in the Universe?
MAN: I only decide about my Universe. My Universe is what happens to my eyes and ears. Anything else is surmise and hearsay. For all I know, these people may not exist. You may not exist. I say what it occurs to me to say.
ZARNIWOOP: But don't you see? What you decide affects the fate of millions of people.
MAN: I don't know them, I've never met them. They only exist in words I think I hear.
. . .
MAN: But it's folly to say you know what is happening to other people. Only they know. If they exist.
ZARNIWOOP: Do you think they do?
MAN: I have no opinion. How can I have?
. . .
ZARNIWOOP: But don't you see that people live or die on your word?
MAN: It's nothing to do with me, I am not involved with people. The Lord knows I am not a cruel man.
ZARNIWOOP: Ah! You say... the Lord! So, you believe in...
MAN: My cat. I call him the Lord. I am kind to him.
ZARNIWOOP: All right. How do you know he exists? How do you know he knows you to be kind, or enjoys what you think of as your kindness?
MAN: I don't. I have no idea. It merely pleases me to behave in a certain way to what appears to be a cat. What else do you do? . . .


From Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Secondary Phase (Original BBC Radio Series). See also The Original Hitchhiker Radio Scripts: 10th Anniversary Edition and The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy: The Complete Radio Series.

/misc | Jul 19, 2015

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