Updated: Feb 19
As with all reviews on this website, our goal is not to provide a complete overview of the book; rather, it is to examine how the book relates to the meaning of life.
About the Book: 1 the Meaning of Life Proved (2013) and Explained was written Paul Slice. The book is very unique in that it defies most categories one would try to classify it as. It is not really fiction, and not really non-fiction. It is more a quixotic quest in reflection of life. The narrator "Ohm" often switches from first person to third person narrative, and has no qualms in the opening of the book noting that there will be grammatical errors... either on purpose or not on purpose. Ohm invites the reader to sit around the campfire with the group, relax... relax some more, and to move through the journey slowly with a peaceful mind.
On page 2, the author notes The answer is not 42, the question is not a joke, and it seems that a big question that is unsolved is still as important as any task. Not long after this, on page 6, we get what could be best summarized as to the answer to the question, "What is the meaning of life?". On this, we get the following, The meaning of life is anything and nothing.
Throughout the journey, Ohm will take words and convert them into mathematical equations, using bad math and faulty logic to conclude that "anything equals nothing" and "zero can equal anything." In Ohm's words, If life can and therefore does equal 0, the 'meaning' in our question, "What is the meaning of life?" can be anything, because anything multiplied by zero is zero. So meaning equals anything and nothing, because anything times zero is zero and nothing time zero is zero.
As the book progresses, Ohm takes a very different approach to meaning than more would in today's world. For example, today's society teaches us to specialize, be different, be unique, push towards your Doctorate into some unknown, obscure field. Yet, Ohm argues that if a person specializes too far, the "person will forget the meaning of life." or become dead, doing the same things over and over. However, I would have to disagree with this premise. Specialization is really the only way to be unique on a planet with billions of humans, with a population increasing at an ever-intensifying rate. Think of Einstein and other great minds. They all specialized in their respective fields; and it would be hard to conclude that Einstein was a dead man walking.
Ohm also notes that we should not have attachments, hints at reincarnation, and seems to make the argument for walking the middle path. The main character also addresses the answer of procreation by stating, If the meaning of life is to procreate, then humans are only a cancer, because a cancer's goal is to get bigger and bigger.
One idea that I really liked in the book is Ohm's take on the difference between meaning and purpose, which often get jumbled in philosophical talks. To address this, the author states, Robots, which are programmed to do one thing or a couple of things, are dead and humans are alive. Robots have purpose and no meaning.
Overall, unfortunately, the book gets a bit repetitive and annoying after the first few chapters. What initially feels fresh and unique quickly gets old because of the overuse of elongated words like "tooo-sayy," "breeaatthh," etc. Although the book has some good points, and is very unique, bad math and the annoying tone of Ohm sinks the book in the end.
We rate the book the following: Overall - 4 Meaning of Life Relevance - 9 Uniqueness – 10 What did we miss? Is the meaning of life anything and nothing?