Paradox of the Arrow

Okay, I have been telling people at work all day about this, but no one seems to get how cool it is that logical paradoxes exist.

Imagine standing in a room with a bow and arrow. At the other end of the room is a target. If you shoot the arrow, it will travel to the target, but before it can get there, it has to travel halfway there. But before it can get to the halfway point, it has to travel halfway there. But before it can travel to that halfway point, it has to travel halfway there. But before it can travel to that halfway point, it has to travel halfway there.

At this point, instead of copying and pasting that last sentence a grillion times, I’ll just say that you get the idea. The arrow will never reach its target.

Fortunately we can instead rely on Zeno’s other paradoxes to rescue us. Apparently, the arrow is never where it is, and never moves, so instead of never getting where it’s going, it never leaves, or even goes.

I am going home now. I’ll post when I get halfway.  ;>)

In Richard's paradox, the arrow not only reaches the target before it leaves, it creates this really cool explosion.
In Richard's paradox, the arrow not only reaches the target before it leaves, it creates this really cool explosion.
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5 Comments

  1. I almost wrote a reply to this posting. But then I realized that before I could write a response, I would first have to write half of a response. And that before I could write half a response, I needed to write a quarter of a response. Finally, the percentages got to large, and math never was my strong point anyway, so I just gave up.

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  2. I will have the Cobb salad with the dressing on the side, please. And you better hope that I don’t ask Frank to calculate the tip.

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  3. On “Family Guy” yesterday, Stewie used his time machine to accidentally travel outside the space-time continuum. The energy required to return to the universe actually caused the Big Bang which created the universe in the first place.

    (So the universe had to eventually create Stewie in order for Stewie to later accidentally create the universe.)

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  4. I love the Zeno Paradoxes (Paradoxi? Paradouce?). A comic book writer used the arrow paradox a few years ago by having one of his characters build a Zeno room trap. Wherever the builder went within the room, he’d represent ‘point B,’ and whoever walked into the room would automatically become ‘point A.’ It worked until ‘point A’ realized all he had to do to grab ‘point B’ was act like he was trying to grab something behind B.

    Then they teamed up and fought a robot. Pretty awesome.

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