Time Paradox of the Day, or why John Connor is Jesus

Perceived time versus reality. In theory, everyone is subject to their own reality, this in effect creates a time paradox that is unique to every individual. That being said, there are a couple of main points when it comes to thinking about the perception of time. First, time doesn’t ever slow down or speed up. It can’t. It would violate many laws of physics, not to mention create unknown paradoxes within the universe. You can’t […]

The Animal Farm paradox, or how we are all more equal than others

In the well-known and much repeated Animal Farm by George Orwell [sidenote: should I really say who wrote the Animal Farm?], the paradoxical sentence “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others” is part of the cardinal rules set up by the (capitalist?) pigs. Certainly, this statement does not make any sense. And even more certainly, Orwell’s point was to point out an ‘evident truth’ – a political statement on dictatorial/totalitarian regimes which function through similar […]

The right to remain silent paradox

Admittedly, this is not my field of expertise, and perhaps the argument presented is ‘legally’ pointless. Nevertheless, it seems that the right to remain silent (5th Amendment in US Constitution, but widely present in most countries in the world) is paradoxical. First a little history. Remember the Hollywood scene of a ‘cop’ making an arrest and his voice slowly fading out: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you […]

Paradox of choice – part 2

In a previous article on paradox of choice, I concluded that Barry Schwartz was mistaken in identifying choice with desire. Hence, the paradox of choice presented by him touches upon the value of choice for purchased goods and the role the variety of choices has as an effect. Schwartz’ conclusion is that too much choice leads to paralysis on the one hand, and diminishes our happiness after the choice is made on the other. It is the […]

A paradox of capitalism in form of a joke

There is this joke about a poor boy from a small village, in the beautiful surroundings of country life, fishing off the coast in his tiny boat. As the boy was fishing, a man approached him, admiring that he had already caught a couple of mid-sized fish. “How long did it take you to catch this many?” he asked. — “A couple of hours”, the boy replied. “Why don’t you stay longer to catch more?” he asked. […]

Thomson’s lamp and a lump of chocolate, or Zeno part 4

After considerations on Zeno’s paradox (part 1 and part 2), and the humorous possibilities to Zeno’s paradox of motion (part 3), it is time to take beef with the paradox on the nature of what is called a super-task. As stated in the previous post on Zeno, Thomson thought super-tasks to be impossible. It is not, as he points out, that we do not repeat the same tasks indefinitely; but rather that the infinity sequence […]

How do you kill that which has no life paradox

This will come as no surprise to South Park fans, but it should nevertheless be mentioned. In the episode “Make love, not Warcraft” (season 10, episode 8), there is this hilarious scene: So here comes the paradox then: how do you kill that which has no life? South Park raised the bar regarding many aspects of humor: it is equally provocative as obscene, there is always something to be said about poo, and it remains hilarious […]

The Ross-Littlewood paradox, or Zeno part 3

The Zeno paradox discussed in the previous posts (part 1 and part 2) has one of the most fascinating variations known to man. It is so sublime, that one is stunned by the grand ingenuity of it. No kidding, for a few milliseconds you will literally be stunned. The idea dates back to a publication from 1954 by J.F. Thomson with an interesting title: “Tasks and Super-tasks” (free to read on JSTOR, given you register). A ‘supertask’ (coined by […]

Zeno’s paradox of motion – part 2

In this post we return to Zeno’s paradox of motion in order to point out another aspect of it. Where in the previous post, we concluded that his paradox points towards motion being inconceivable due to infinite divisibility of space (Aristotle calls it “bisection”), in this one we’ll refer to time. Zeno’s paradox is best explained through his example of a flying arrow. As Aristotle describes the paradox: “if everything when it occupies an equal […]

Zeno’s paradox of motion – part 1 (Achilles and the tortoise)

The most famous of Zeno’s paradoxes, and also the one with amusing historical examples: Zeno’s paradox of motion. In one version of the paradox Zeno proposes that there is no such thing as motion. There are many variations, and Aristotle recounts four of them, though essentially one can call them variations of two paradoxes of motion. One concerning time and the other space. For today, let us focus on space and recount the Achilles and […]