July 19, 2010

Challenging The Intellect.

When I was young, philosophy did not interest me. Likewise, I found very little amusement in discussing current events, politics or psychology. I used to listen with awe to my peers, mostly males, who digested these subjects with a fiery passion in school, whether in class or on their breaks.
No, I rather escaped into the world of fantasy and imagination. Whether among pages of books or the silver screen, or by painting and drawing for hours, reflecting my dreams on canvas or paper.

Growing older, I have also grown to crave intellectual stimulation and a need to constantly question my surrounding and the world we live in. I guess in some way, as we mature, our own existence and the origins to everything we see become of interest, as we try to find our own solution to the ever lasting enigma of who we are, where did we come from and where we are going. Or; did the egg come before the chicken...?

Recently I contemplated the idea of the paradox, a source of endless discussion, study and observation. Paradox simply explained is a situation in which something seems both true and false. A contradiction, if you will. At times, the term is also used about surprising situations or dilemmas.

There is a variety of paradoxes and they are even sorted into lists, depending on the subject or theme. Some of them are fantastically intriguing to ponder, making my head spin and my brain cells work on overload, until I give up as I simply can not grasp the concept. Furthermore, discussing paradoxes can lead to quiet stimulating conversations. And the best cinematography - whether the film is of a science fiction nature or not - is in my opinion based on the subject of paradoxes.


Here are my favorites:

Grandfathers Paradox.The grandfather paradox has been used to argue that backwards time travel must be impossible. In short, the paradox contains this statement: You travel back in time and kill your grandfather before he conceives one of your parents, which precludes your own conception and, therefore, you couldn't go back in time and kill your grandfather.

Predestination Paradox. Another time travel paradox, dealing with the irreversible effect on the future, while traveling back in time; A man travels back in time to discover the cause of a famous fire. While in the building where the fire started, he accidentally knocks over a kerosene lantern and causes a fire, the same fire that would inspire him, years later, to travel back in time.

Ship Of Theseus. This is a paradox that raises the question of whether an object which has had all its component parts replaced remains fundamentally the same object. It seems like you can replace any component of a ship, and it will still be the same ship. So you can replace them all, one at a time, and it will still be the same ship. But then you can take all the original pieces, and assemble them into a ship. That, too, is the same ship with which you started.



(Note: All images used in this post complimentary of photobucket.com)

41 comments :

姿柯瑩柯dgdd憶曾g智曾 said...
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jeannette said...

I guess we're both on the net (it's here 1 am:) ) -I Like paradoxes.
But contrasts are not as mind-boggling! The contrast is that in my young years I loved philosophy and psychology. Now I'm older, I'm more in awe of travel and experience.

gaelikaa said...

Oh, Zuzana, one could go on forever, it is such a fascinating and complex subject. Really...

Susan Deborah said...

Zuzana:

I share this trait with you. Philosophy and the other areas would never interest me as a teenager as they do now.
Paradox: what a subject to ponder upon. Life is filled with them. One can go on and on about the various paradoxes that one is subject to. But paradox with names as you have given, I am hearing for the first time. Thanks for sharing this with us Zuzana. you always have something unique and interesting to offer whether it is snapshots of your location, music, factual observation or heavy subjects as these.

Joy and love always,
Susan

Kath said...

hmm food for thought indeed! Love that clock!

Hilary said...

Sure, make my head spin before breakfast. ;)

Tom said...

Very interesting post! Let me give you my opinion about the time travel thing. It isn't a paradox.

A paradox is something that actually happens that contradicts intuition. It can't be explained.

Time travel hasn't happened therefore it isn't a paradox. It hasn't happened for all the reasons you gave but there are more. If some had gone back in time and changed something, what's to stop someone else going back and changing it again?

It's simply something that isn't possible unless it's Star Trek, and even they don't explain why you can't go back in time and change things all over again.

So, it's not really a paradox, just something people like to discuss until they get headaches.

It's a bit like explaining infinity. It's a mathematical concept, it does your head in, but isn't reality.

The thing about most paradoxes (paradoxi?)is that the "true" bit is almost certainly not true.

Tom

Brian Miller said...

delicious post zuzana! i love thinking about things like this..and they make for such interesting stories as well.

GrandmaK said...

Philosophy, when in college, was the class that exhausted me just by sitting in the class! I always felt has if I had run 5 miles, but had no sweat to show for it! Grand post! Wishing you a grand day! Cathy

Blogaire said...

I must say I enjoyed this post Zuzana. No, I can't imagine you sitting watching "soaps" like "Coronation Street" or "Neighbours" (or their Danish versions) on TV when there are so many intellectual complexities to figure out.
On the question you raised of where did we come from sometimes I drive myself mad trying to figure that out. How did it all start? If we go back a trillion years can we find a starting point for the Universe or do we have to go back a trillion trillion years. Who? What? How? So many questions.

Tony Single said...

Zuzana, that CLUNK you hear is the sound of my brain falling out of my skull. :P

I'm looking at the list of paradoxes you have included in your text and... hoo boy, there are some real head hurty doozies there! This is just the kind of thing I like to ponder on a quiet Sunday afternoon... :)

steviewren said...

Very thought provoking post. I just can't think that hard anymore. Instead of trying to figure out the impossible, I like to try to understand why people think like they do. I really enjoy psychiatry, psychology and case studies. Have you ever read anything by Oliver Sacks? He is a super thinker, way above my head, but so interesting.

'Tsuki said...

Interesting point of view... I like to come on your blog ; I always pick new subjects of reflection...

Michael Manning said...

Zuzana: I'm on my first cup of coffee. But I remember positing about a wonderful Philosophy professor I had who made The Pre-Socratics fun! We sat outdoors on the lawn in the spring. He was a bit of a contradiction. He wore "sandals in the snow" as Sarah McLachlan sings about. Fun post!!! xoxo and have a very nice week!

Julie Hibbard said...

LOVE these thoughts! Philosophy was the VERY first college course I ever took. I had just finished 12 years of Catholic school and the professor was a former priest. The first day he said, "What if there is no God?" I swear to you, I had NEVER even pondered that! My world opened up.
LOVE the paradoxes! I think that's why the "Back to the Future" movies have always been my favorites! LOVE the thought of going back in time and 'tweaking' a few things!
GREAT post!

Keith said...

This is such a fascinating post. It really makes one think. I always enjoy the insights, etc. that you post here. Hope you had a great weekend.

Claus said...

Has it happened to you: the more you try to find an answer, the more questions that all of the sudde appear, in need of more anwers? That's the beauty of it, I suppose, but it is been my experience than it can also turn out an overwhelming activity, even if you enjoy it. I was watching a documentary with Stephen Hawking on the Discovery Channel the other day; the time traveling subject came up. Impressive minds!, but it also got me thinking, how in heavens he hasn't gone mad?!
I believe that to question is a wonderful thing; it's even greater when discussed with a group, or at least someone else that enjoys such conversations. But I still believe that it can become an ovewhelming activity.
Great topic!!
have a great day!

(Scribe816) said...

I agree with Hilary, this is heavy thinking for a Monday morning.
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I find that those of us who have the desire to evolve as we get older start to question our existence and the world around us.
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In one of my posting I stated that I have my own philosophy. My belief is that eventually we do get all the knowledge we desire. One day we learn the true meaning of our existence. Now here's the catch. It comes to us the split second before we die.
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If this theory is true then God, or whatever higher power you believe in, has one hell of a sense of humor ;-)

Fragrant Liar said...

Fascinating paradoxes. Yeah, the older I get, the more I am in awe of the nature of things and my place in the universe. After which, I go back to taking it all for granted.

Sumandebray said...

Very interesting post. I liked reading the paradoxes
liked the last one .. how true!

Tanvi said...

Enjoyed reading your post. Your thoughts echoed some of my own. I have been introspective lately too ... You have a great expression power. Will be back for more!

Regina said...

"I know that I know nothing at all."

Great post! I like to go back to the future and study again.

Happy new week Suzanna.
xo

Dan said...

Intriguing post Zuzana. I've always been interested in theories and concepts, though freely admit that I can't get my head round many of them. I have tried to read some of Stephen Hawking's theories, but most are beyond me.
The Ship of Theseus has reminded me of 'Trigger's broom' in Only Fools & Horses (a popular UK comedy from a few years back which is constantly rerun!).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bk24RdfXWcg

Dan
-x-

Lynne said...

Interesting, but it starts to make my head spin if I ponder too long.

sprinkles said...

This is a really thought provoking and interesting post! I like that Grandfather's Paradox, it's not something that ever came to mind about time travel.

Actually, I guess it has, kind of. I'd like to go back and change sooooooo much of my past but then it would change who I am today. Would it be for the better or for worse? I'd like to think it'd be for the better but I really have no way of knowing. Because I made different choices, my life could be very different but it could have lead to a worse life. Plus, there are certain people I may never have met that have enriched my life. Would I have met someone else who enriched it in another way? So much to ponder...

I love that clock, very cool!

Looking forward to your post about where you'll be in 10 years!

Q Smith said...

Some perspective sometimes is essential, thanks!

sallymandy/bluekimonostudio said...

What a thought-provoking post! Maybe, when you were lost in fantasy when you were young, you were doing the same thing as the men in your own way: questioning, searching, the mysteries of life. Just in a uniquely female way. xo

SandyCarlson said...

Great stuff, my friend. Thank you for making me think.

Betsy said...

Oh yes, such a fun subject! It can go on and on if you want it to! So very interesting, too!

I think it's so sweet that you and your Irishman chat for hours each day online. :)

Rajesh said...

Great post. This is such a fascinating subject with no end in sight.

Craig said...

excellent post ..zuzana..love your blog//pretty nice contents...helps to learn some thing for a non-native speaker's ....you have a attractive and cool article as like my cool blog

Eternally Distracted said...

There are some real mind bogglers there!! I really need to sit myself down with a cuppa and go through them one by one... Great post.

Kat_RN said...

Sometimes I think, the big questions are easier to think about than the small ones. As you can see, I am able to comment again.
Kat

Maubrey said...

Yes charming Zuzana, I dropped again on your blog..hope yu will do the same..more over if u wish add my blog on yoru blog lists or blog roll that you have...I felt that might be quite better it seems ...so whenever we can do a visit as per our wish

GYPSYWOMAN said...

hmmmm....this is the kind of discussion for sitting around sipping wine in front of a cold winter's fireplace - great post, zuzana - have a great day!

Snowbrush said...

I especially love the second poster.

I just read of the ship paradox, only it concerned a motorcycle in my version. I suspect that the problem that it--and many paradoxes--poses concerns word definitions rather than reality. In this case, the word "same."

Who was the ancient Greek who was famous for paradoxes? He proved, for example, that a person could never cross a field because any given unit of measurement along the way could be divided into an infinite number of fractions, all of which would have to be crossed before the field could be crossed.

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

Enjoyed this post! Thought provoking and mind boggling for sure! I've always been fascinated with theology and philosophy--WHY are we here--why do we suffer--what is the meaning of life? The age old questions.

Mimi said...

I get what you say abour maturity changing what you're interested in. I was never interested in history in school, hated it, but now I find, when I travel, I'm like a sponge!
I'm still not interested in philosophy though, maybe too lazy a mind?
But I do admire those who are, incl you!

Vagabonde said...

What a fascinating subject. You are right – as one grows older interests change. Hopefully we have gained some wisdom and are more interested in subjects that stimulate our mind.

Zuzana said...

Jeannette, gaelikaa, Susan, Kath, Hilary, Tom, Brian, Cathy, Blogaire, Tony, steviewren, Tsuki (welcome), Michael, Julie, Keith, Claudia, Scribe, Fragrant Liar (welcome), Sumandebray, Tanvi (welcome), Regina, Dan, Lynne, sprinkles, Q Smith (welcome), sallymandy, Sandy, Betsy, Rajesh, Craig (welcome), Eternally, Kat, Maubrey, Gypsywoman, Snowbrush, V or C, Mimi and Vagabonde – I was so happy to see that so many of you found this as an intriguing subject as I do and that I did not bore you silly with this brain teaser.;)
I love the idea that the world is an unexplored place and there is so much between heaven and earth, and beyond, just waiting for us to be discovered. Where this includes generally accepted knowledge we simply just have not stumbled upon yet - within almost any subject - or something that no one has seen or heard about before. I guess this is why I love being a scientist.

I love all your visits and I cherish your kind and substantial comments at all times, thank you all so much.

Xoxo,
Zuzana

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