Category: Paradoxes

4 Examples of Oxymora in Romeo and Juliet – a study guide

4 Examples of Oxymora in Romeo and Juliet – a study guide

The main theme of Romeo and Juliet is of course love – but there are so many levels of depth in the play that it would be near impossible to go through all of them without embarking on a journey to madness of sorts. Just like Macbeth that I discussed previously, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet too is filled with contradictory and paradoxical statements. Given my interest in paradoxes, I will focus only on this particular...

‘War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength’

‘War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength’

Some two years ago I wrote this post defining what a paradox is and how it is used on this website. In there, I also gave as an example of paradoxes Orwell’s well-known quotations, appearing in all kinds of articles: ‘War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength’. It is, I think, high time to return to an idea from two years ago, and give my take on these paradoxical statements. It is assumed...

Zeno's paradox of motion - part 1

Zeno’s paradoxes

Zeno of Elea (c. 490 – c. 430 BC) is one of the most enigmatic pre-Socratic philosophers. Though none of his own works have survived, there are fragmentary mentions of his on the classics like Aristotle and Plato. He was a member of the Eleatic School and, according to Plato at least, aimed to reinfoced Parmenides’s arguments (Parmenides being the founder of the school). While we know very little of Zeno himself, other than some...

“If a tree falls in a forest …”, and quantum mechanics

“If a tree falls in a forest …”, and quantum mechanics

‘If a tree falls in a forest and absolutely nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?’ – This question has been asked quite a few times over the years. The first known formulation of this question was written back in 1883 in The Chautauquan, an educational magazine. Its popularity is probably due to its publication in the well known Scientific American, a year later. This is a bit weird as it is normally...

6 Paradoxes in Macbeth – a study guide

6 Paradoxes in Macbeth – a study guide

Macbeth is known for its paradoxes and there are many of them in the play. Though I am by no means an expert in drama, and in fact my main appreciation of Shakespeare is in Hamlet (for madness) and Othello (for being an outsider with an ability to seduce). I have read most of his sonnets, and I still think them rather dull (sorry Shakespeare fans). And yet, despite these admissions, I will also admit...

Procrastination blackboard

Reflections on procrastination, and its paradox

In a near completion of my PhD, it is now a question whether I’d continue with writing on this blog, or take on a more serious approach to life and get a ‘job’. In the meantime, as there are still a couple of months left, I should at least try to populate the blog with more posts. In this particular one, I’ll start with a reflection on procrastination. What is at the core of putting...

Working ant fable, parable

A working ant’s fable

The following is a translation of fable in Dutch, circulating the internet for the last five years or so. The original author is unknown (to me at least), but it has appeared on various sites. My intention is to make it availble in the English language, and the moral point should be obvious to anyone and everyone without further analysis. Anyone in the managerial position would also find some flaws with the fable, but that...

Sputnik-1, Fermi paradox

The Fermi Paradox, or ‘Where the hell are they?’ and ‘They are made out of meat!’

The Fermi paradox is quite well known in the community of the scientists and pseudo-scientists alike. In simple terms, it simply does not make sense that we, as human beings, are the only intelligent life form in the universe. Seeing the vast amount of stars, probability of existence of other intelligent life forms beyond our planet stands in contradiction to our knowledge of them. Enrico Fermi summarises it as such: The Sun is a typical star, and relatively young. There are...

Paradox definition & examples

Paradox definition & examples

Dictionary Definitions According to Cambridge Dictionary, a paradox is a statement or situation that may be true but seems impossible or difficult to understand because it contains two opposite facts or characteristics Unpacking a dictionary definition to an actual usage, we can have four different ways of using the word paradox: a statement that is made up of opposites and sounds or seems impossible, but upon further reflection is not and could be true a self-contradictory...

Paradox of perfect partner

Paradox of a perfect partner

It is no secret that people fall in love all the time. It is equally no surprise that in our earlier years, we are all looking for that someone special. In fact, we are looking for that perfect person to fall in love with. What is quite interesting, however, is that people fall in love with each other’s imperfections. The paradox is exactly that it is our flaws and imperfections that make us more appealing...