Sep 30, 2009

P is for Paradox

Paradox - a statement that is apparently self-contradictory or absurd, but really contains a possible truth. Sometimes the term is applied to a self- contradictory false proposition. It is also used to describe an opinion or statement which is contrary to generally accepted ideas.
Often, a paradox is used to make a reader consider the point in a new way.

The term is from the Greek paradoxos, meaning “contrary to received opinion” or “expectation.”

The child is father to the man
William Wordsworth,

“Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood,” 1807

They have ears, but do not hear !

Psalm 115

Cowards die many times before their deaths
Bill Shakespeare, Julius Caesar Act II, scene ii : line 32

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal
than others

George Orwell, Animal Farm

I can resist anything except temptation
Oscar Wilde

Death, thou shalt die
John Donne, "Death, Be Not Proud"

An example of a paradox in everyday speech:
Deep down, he's really very shallow

Theological Paradox:
Christ died so we may have life !

Paradoxical Dialogue:

Me: What is better than eternal bliss?
You: Nothing.
Me: But a slice of bread is better than nothing.
You: So a slice of bread is better than eternal bliss.

Common Paradox:
Nobody goes to that restaurant; it's too crowded.

Time Machine Paradox:
A girl goes into the past and kills her Grandmother.
Since her Grandmother is dead, the girl was never born. If
she were never born, she never killed her grandmother.

Physics Paradox
What happens if you are in a car going the speed of light
and you turn the headlights on?

Nota Bene:
When a paradox is compressed into two words, as in “loud
silence,” “lonely crowd,” or “living dead,” it is called an

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