Paradox-ed!

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What do you know of paradoxes?

Well, most of you might understand a Paradox as a statement that apparently contradicts itself and yet might be true. What you do not understand about them is that paradoxes have this immense capability to stretch one’s cognitive horizon to such an extent that curiosity becomes the only active state within you.  Paradoxes are real but shrouded in mystery. They grapple with your intelligence and are therefore, quite bewitching.  In simple words, they are Puzzles, which each one of us wishes to solve and feel accomplished.

Now that you know that Paradox is not merely a statement but much more than that, it would be more entertaining to introduce you to those most puzzling paradoxes in the world.

1. The grandfather paradox

The science fiction writer René Barjavel in his 1943 book Le Voyageur Imprudent proposed this paradox that has become quite popular. It is becoming very popular, especially in entertainment industry. Looper is a movie that has incorporated this paradox in its plot. So, what exactly is it?

The time traveler went to the past to a moment when his grandfather and grandmother had not married yet. At that time, the traveler kills his grandfather and, therefore, is never born. If he is never born, then he is unable to travel through time and kill his grandfather, which means that he would be born, and so on.

Grandpa, Em' killin ya!

Grandpa, Em’ killin ya!

2. The ship of Theseus

It sounds quite familiar, doesn’t it? Well, it is equally puzzling too.

The paradox is most notably recorded by Plutarch in Life of Theseus from the late 1st century. This paradox is specially more popular among philosophers because of its high metaphorical value.

The ship of Theseus is a paradox that raises the question of whether an object which has had all of its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object.

Well, your conclusion might differ because this paradox differs greatly with personal opinions as well.

All sail ho!

All sail ho!

3. The Galileo Paradox

Probably the most heard and higly mind-boggling paradoxes ever created in human history and why shouldn’t it? It comes straight from Galileo’s mouth.

The paradox goes like this:  First, some numbers are squares, while others are not; therefore, all the numbers, including both squares and non-squares, must be more numerous than just the squares. Yet, for every square there is exactly one positive number that is its square root, and for every number there is exactly one square; hence, there cannot be more of one than the other. This is an early use, though not the first, of the idea of one-to-one correspondence in the context of infinite sets.

Numbers confuse.

Numbers confuse.

 

4. The Omnipotence paradox

Omnipotence means God. God is finality and absolute. He is vested with absolute powers to do or undo anything at his whims. However, this paradox seems to contradict and question the eternal authority of God, the Almighty.

The paradox states that if the being can perform such actions, then it can limit its own ability to perform actions and hence it cannot perform all actions, yet, on the other hand, if it cannot limit its own actions, then that is something it cannot do. This seems to imply that an omnipotent being’s ability to limit itself necessarily means that it will, indeed, limit itself. This paradox is often formulated in terms of the God of the Abrahamic religions, though this is not a requirement.

So the question stands unanswered whether God is Omnipotent or not?

Can he be omnipotent?

Can he be omnipotent?

5. Achilles and the Tortoise paradox

Even the great Greek Hero from Troy became a paradox in himself.

Achilles is in a footrace with the tortoise. Achilles allows the tortoise a head start of 100 feet. If we suppose that each racer starts running at some constant speed, then after some finite time, Achilles will have run 100 feet, bringing him to the tortoise’s starting point. During this time, the tortoise has run a much shorter distance. It will then take Achilles some further time to run that distance, by which time the tortoise will have advanced farther; and then more time still to reach this third point, while the tortoise moves ahead. Thus, whenever Achilles reaches somewhere the tortoise has been, he still has farther to go. Therefore, because there are an infinite number of points Achilles must reach where the tortoise has already been, he can never overtake the tortoise.

This proves that tortoises are insurmountable in races.

More or less like The turtle and the hare.

More or less like The turtle and the hare.

6. The unstoppable force paradox

This one’s a favorite. Everyone misses The Joker from Batman. His expressions, I-don’t-care-attitude gives him an unparalled charm. What makes him more irrestible is his way of deliverance. In the second installment of Batman movie, the Joker throws off a paradox which goes like this: It’s like an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.

This is the paradox!

According to modern scientific understanding, no force is completely irresistible, and there are no immovable objects and cannot be any, as even a minuscule force will cause a slight acceleration on an object of any mass. An immovable object would have to have an inertia that was infinite and therefore infinite mass. Such an object would collapse under its own gravity and create a singularity.

I am a paradox. Even Joker knows that!

I am a paradox. Even Joker knows that!