Saturday, September 25, 2010

Philosophy 101

     So, I don't know if you've figured this out yet, Company, but I am a boy.  And as such, like many, many boys and a few girls that I know, I have a book in my bathroom, for - you know - reading while you are evacuating your bowels.  So I have this book, and it's a big book called "An Incomplete Education: 3,684 Things You Should Have Learned But Probably Didn't" by Judy Jones and William Wilson.  I love this book.  I mean I love it.  I have read every work contained therein, and yet I continue to read it again and again because it is super entertaining but just reference and general interest enough that it isn't too involved.     So anyway, the book is there and I read it just about every time I am in the...uh, library shall we say, and there are all sorts of different sections: American Studies, Political Science, Literature, etc.  Included is a section about philosophy, which includes a couple of those logical and philosophical conundrums that you come across from time to time.  I don't know the names of the paradoxes but I can explain them to you, or at least I hope so because I am about to attempt to give you some examples: 1.) A donkey is standing exactly in between two identical bales of hay.  Since there is no basis for the donkey to choose one bale of hay over the other, since they are exactly the same, he dies of starvation. (I believe that this is bullshit because he will eventually eat both since they are identical and hunger is a pretty powerful force in itself) and 2.) Imagine a group of people who are chained inside of a cave with no daylight showing, and they are facing the back of the cave wall with a giant fire blazing behind them.  Now, assuming that they don't die of smoke inhalation or whatever the hot version of hypothermia is, they will never see themselves, only the shadows of themselves that they create, and that will be their version of reality.  Now, imagine that...wait, I forget exactly where this is going, but Aristotle or Plato said something about it and then suddenly you are driving the perfect car.  I don't know, I don't remember.  You will have to read the book.  But anyway, the point here is that these little philosophical paradoxes made me think of one of my favorite ones.  And I am going to present it to you.
     Anyway, did you know that you or any object can never get anywhere?  Imagine for a moment that someone shoots an arrow at you from a bow, and it is headed right for your face like you are in a Robin Hood story or something.  Well, fear not, Company, for that arrow will never get to you because it will always be halfway there.  Think about it.  Before the arrow can get from where it is to where you are, it has to make it to the point that is halfway there.  Then it has to go through a point halfway to your face from there.  And so on and so on.  In theory, the arrow will never hit you because it will always be halfway to you.
    Now, we all know that in reality it is bullshit because in 2.2 seconds from when the string on the bow going "Thoinggggggg" that arrow is going to be smashing through your nasal cavity and opening a hole through which to drain fluids that you desperately need to survive. But in theory you are safe, sort of like when Zoolander stops the throwing star from killing the Prime Minister of Malaysia with just the look of his eye.  The throwing star stops because it always has to go halfway to its target before it can get to its target, so it never gets there.  That's the theory.  It will never get there.  The trick with philosophy is to figure out just how to tether that theory of the arrow never hitting you with the arrow that is currently plunging through your cerebral cortex.  Good luck, philosopher.

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