Mark Levy Asks Me About Life, Chickens, and Jimmy Hoffa

    Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam

    Back to Conversations

    Author Mark Levy asks:

    1. What is the meaning of life?
    2. Why is there something and not nothing?
    3. What came first, the chicken or the egg?
    4. Why do good things happen to bad people?
    5. What is the sound of one hand clapping? 
    6. Where is Jimmy Hoffa buried?

    From time to time I am asked these questions by elders, leaders, statesmen, the Dalai Lama, and Miley Ray Cyrus.  The answers are, of course, simple:

    1. The meaning of life is a life of meaning.

    2. There's always something and not nothing because even nothing is something. (A bit like the words of the immortal Geddy Lee : If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.)

    3. The egg came first.  All chickens lay eggs but not all eggs come from chickens, so the only logical conclusion is that of all given possibilities, the chicken arrived first.

    4. Good things happen to bad people because, unfortunately, bad things happen to good people.  Good things also happen to good people and bad things also happen to bad people -- the universe must balance out all things.

    5. That depends on what the one hand is clapping.  Clapping, by it's very nature, is an activity that requires two components so a single hand can't clap by itself. Or you can just say that the sound of one hand clapping is very much the same as the sound of a rabbit yawning.  Yeah, figure that one out, silly Zen Buddhists.

    6. Where is Jimmy Hoffa buried? Who said he was dead?