Popular Paradox, “Jim is my enemy. But it turns out that Jim is also his own worst enemy. And the enemy of an enemy is a friend. So, Jim is actually my friend. But… because he is his own worst enemy, the enemy of a friend is an enemy. So, actually Jim is my enemy. But…” –Dwight Schrute
This dialogue from The Office is a perfect example of a paradox that boggles the mind. In this article, we will be looking into some other paradoxes like this.
- The Boltzmann Brain- Basically, in any system, there is a tendency for entropy to increase (meaning that tends to spread out). In a room full of gas, the gas takes up the space of the room. However, because of quantum fluctuations it is possible for particles to spontaneously arrange themselves into complex configurations. It might take Trillions of years, but if you focus for long enough, you might see all the gas pack itself in one corner of the room and spread out again. Or maybe, you see it pack itself, just for a split second, into a fully functioning, complete human brain; with its own set of memories and aspirations and senses, even a consciousness. This would then immediately vanish because the gases would spread out. This is highly unlikely, but over an infinite time, the laws of physics tell us that it is possible. So, the question is, are you a human, or a Boltzmann brain, savoring that brief moment of consciousness before going back to being non-existent?
- Which documents? – Many people, while moving to the UK face this problem. To open a bank account, one needs to address proof and photo Id. To rent a house, one needs a bank account and a photo Id. And for a photo Id, one needs a bank account and address proof.
- Bootleg paradox- you go back in time to see Beethoven. You get there to find his sheet music, but not him. So, you work on creating all of Beethoven’s pieces. Technically, that makes you William Shakespeare. Now the question is, where did the music come from, who really is Beethoven, and where did the name Beethoven come from.
- The intentional blank page- To avoid formatting and other clerical errors, government documents, and some other official forms sometimes have an extra blank page between two pages. However, to avoid confusion, a stamp is generally imprinted on the blank page that states “This page is intentionally left blank”, rendering the sticker useless as the page is no longer blank. It’s in the same lines as a person going back in time to kill baby Hitler, but because they killed Hitler and hence, he never existed, the need to go back in time is deemed redundant.
- Pinocchio Paradox- Pinocchio says “My nose will grow after this sentence.” Does it?
- Are you alive? – When a person dies, it is said that they have about 7 minutes of brain activity left. At that time, many people flashback to the course of their lives. So, because a dream never really feels longer than it actually is, what if you’re just dreaming that dream right now?
- Psychology- Psychology is considered the study of the brain. This means, that when studying psychology, your brain is the teacher, student, and study material. So, you can never truly understand the brain; because if the brain were simple enough to be understood, we would be too dumb to understand it.