Thursday, October 28, 2010

I NEVER tell the Truth

Another paradox or isn't it?

The ancient Greek philosopher Zeno of Elea spent most of his time on the paradoxes of time and motion. For example it can be logically argued that Achilles (the fastest man EVER) could never catch up to a tortoise if he gave the tortoise a head start. This is because in order for Achilles to overtake the tortoise he MUST reach where the tortoise is/was, but by that time the tortoise has moved on. So then he must reach where the tortoise has moved on to but by then, of course, the tortoise has moved on again, and so on and so on, as infinitum.

Also Zeno logically proved that any arrow shot from a bow cannot possibly move. Since at any moment of time, the arrow had to completely occupy a certain space. Like a photograph, at any given moment, the arrow is where it is and not somewhere else. Hence, it is stationary. If time is nothing more than a series of moments, and if the arrow is stationary at every particular moment, then it NEVER MOVES!
Yet we know that arrows do move and the fastest man can overtake a tortoise, so what is flawed? Our view of reality or the logic of the paradox?

Zeno's paradoxes had the ancient world running hard just to stay still. But what these questions/paradoxes do is allow us to get to the right questions. Knowledge is NOT having the answers as much as it is having the right questions. What is time? Is time made up of a series of ever smaller chunks called moments or is it something else? Einstein called time the fourth dimension in his theories. The universe was NOT just made up of length, width, and height; it was also made up of time. With Uncle Albert time was NOT an infinite series of moments, time was fluid and could be flexed, shortened and lengthened.

This introduced a whole NEW batch of paradoxes: can I arrive BEFORE I leave? Can I go back in time and kill one of my ancestors? What would happen if I meet myself?
Just when we think we got this world figured out; God throws us another curve. The world is flat; nope it round. The planets revolve around the earth; nope we revolve around the sun. Things fall faster if they are heavier; nope gravity works the same on heavy and light. Newtonian physics explains the universe; nope not quite, what about relativity and the speed of light. Newton and Einstein figured it out; nope quantum physics is needed to explain certain phenomena. Quantum physics is than answer; nope ... whatever is next is just around the corner with its own paradoxes to explain.

God is not a cruel pet owner teasing his cat with a string that he will never catch. God is enjoying the sense of discovery in his world like a home designer hearing you go "oooohhh, ahhhhh" at every corner that has something new and neat.

"When I look at your heavens, the works of your hands; what is man that you are mindful of him?"

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