Socrates said, “If I know one thing, I know nothing.” This one statement, famously out through the wringer of time, has allowed us to openly question everything. “Why?” is out favourite thing to ask growing up: why is the sky blue? why do we have to go there? why can’t I stay up later? why, why why?
Paradoxes are facts that seem to be true statements or situations that contain contradictory thoughts. They are the mind fucking puzzles where many have been asked asked but few have been answered. Paradoxes allow us to question everything and I mean everything we know to be true. Their existence in the world makes many people question whether flaws in our own thought processes. Are there things out there that must remain unanswered because the human mind simply does not have the capacity to answer them?
Here are some of those paradoxes that will just straight-up screw with your mind and leave you wondering what the hell did I just read? And the more you think about it, about paradoxes, the more you will see them in your day-to-day life.
- The Fermi Paradox
- When you look up at the night sky filled with an infinite number of stars, do you wonder: “Where is everybody?” Looking up at a really starry sky puts the vastness of the universe into perspective because at any given moment from where you are, you are only seeing less than one-hundred millionth of the stars in the galaxy. Thus, in a universe of infinite space, the odds of us being the only ones out there are slim which is why physicist Fermi coined this paradox.
- Fun questions to think about when it comes to this: Is the evidence being suppressed? Are the aliens just too alien for our human minds to comprehend? Do they have technology that will lead to our destruction? Nanobots? Nuclear sludge? If a super race exists, how or why, has it not came down and fucked out shit up just to make our universe more meaningful?
- The Liar Paradox
- This one gets a bit twisty. Epimenides, a Greek philosopher (c. 600 BC), stated that “All Cretans are liars,” he himself was a Cretan. It contradicts itself because there has to be at least one Cretan out there that does not lie. It would be me saying: “all 27 year olds are liars, then I am lying, which means my statement isn’t true, which means I am indeed a liar, which means my statement could be true, which is impossible because my statement holds that all 27 year olds are liars which mean…” You get the idea, right… brain melted.
- The Omnipotent Paradox
- “Can an God Almighty create a stone, which he himself is not capable of lifting,” easy to get your head around right? Not so much if you look at the bigger picture. Say this omnipotent being with power to do the unimaginable, but can because they are Almighty, create another second equal Almighty with the strength to defeat me even though I want to win. If the Almighty succeeded in this, they would lose. But if they lose, they are no longer omnipotent. So, what now…?
- The Bootstrap Paradox
- Say you are walking along the street and some random person hands you an object and runs off without telling you what it is or where it comes from? In this scenario, you aren’t normal, you are intrigued and what to find out what the hell just happened. In time you realize that it is a time machine. You want to know this little bit of information sooner so you go back in time and give yourself the machine sooner with the information you now know. Repeating the cycle, over and over again. For all intents and purposes, where did the device come from in the first place? This leads into…
- The Grandfather Paradox
- In your teenage angst stage, you are pissed at your father for not letting you go out, thus you want to go back in time and never have him be born in the first place. You have a time machine and desperately want to go back in time, so you do. You find your grandfather and make it so that he never meets your grandfather. This, in turn, makes it so your father is never born… which, hold on… means you were never born. Can you actually go back and make any of this happen?
This is only 5 of the paradoxes out there. If it at all interests you, or you want to know more about them, Google the shit out of them. They are so many unique takes to each and every one of them. There are also crazy theories that go into pages upon pages of detail. Paradoxes are interesting. They pose basic contradictions and seemingly melt your brain trying to find your way around them. They momentarily mess you up and once you’re over it, you start noticing them more and more. Sorry if this happens to you but hey… question everything!