Is Bacteria the Answer to Life?

Illustration for article titled Is Bacteria the Answer to Life?

In some far off world, maybe there is such thing as tiny little microbe geniuses that've figured out the secrets of life before their bigger, more top o' the food chain human-like counterparts. Maybe those microbes know we exist! Maybe they know if an orange red crayon is more orange or more red! Hell, maybe bacteria on our planet are that smart. That's what an artist wants to find out.


Jonathan Keats is opening a scientific institution (an institution!) to test the intelligence of billions of microorganisms. If it sounds crazy, don't worry, it is. Batshit crazy. But it's art! So roll with it...? Anyway, Keats contends that the human mind is too complex to figure out the simple answer to life so he wants to see if simple bacteria to find out the answer.

"For years scientists have been saying that the theory of everything must be very simple. Yet the more we work to unify the forces of nature, the more complex our theories get. Clearly we're overthinking things. Our brains are too complex to comprehend the underlying simplicity of the universe. Cyanobacteria are not burdened by all that gray matter."


The dumber you are, the easier you grasp the simple things, I guess? So Keats has built a celestial observatory for bacteria in petri dishes. The petri dishes are set on top of a flat screen monitor that shows images of cosmos from the Hubble Telescope and because the bacteria can perform photosynthesis, they'll be able to detect patterns. And if capable, figure out something humans can't.

Of course, even if these magical bacteria ever figures out the answer to life. It's not like we can stroll up to them and go, 'Hey Backy, what's the answer to life?'. No matter says Keats! To him, as long as the universe is understood by something, it's all good by him. As ridiculous and hilarious and parodic Funny or Die video as this art project sounds, I'm totally rooting for the bacteria to figure it out and then band together and destroy humanity. Or something like that. [SFAC]

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"The dumber you are, the easier you grasp the simple things, I guess?"

Then I must be Einstein, because I don't understand the concept of this experiment(?) at all.

Maybe someone should start by defining a real question instead of saying something as inane as "the answer to life". Hopefully when they're done, they can answer the timeless mystery, "why is the sky?"