Zeno¹, a philosopher who lived in Edea in the 5th century B.C. created, and discussed simple riddles that have teased thinkers for more than 2500 years.
Here’s a 2nd one:
If Homer wants to reach a man selling grapes from a cart, he must first advance to half the distance between his front porch and the fruit vendor. Then, he must arrive at a point that is half of this distance. Then half of that. It’s obvious that half of the remaining distance will always have to be obtained first, and this creates an infinite task that has no conclusion. Homer can never buy the grapes.
For a bit more, use the DOOR.
Let’s make some observations:
The availability of numbers to express a starting distance growing shorter and shorter to the fruit is endless–or infinite. “Pages” could be filled up forever with no “voice” declaring this page is the last one, because numbers here are “ignorant” of that. But we, without evidence to the contrary, become quickly convinced that Homer’s search could not possibly end “fruitless.”
We “feel it” with confidence, and may be tempted to say, “You’re somehow using numbers wrong! When you’re gradually continually approaching zero² you have to eventually get there!”
Einstein himself was sometimes dumbfounded by what numbers told him in his equations.
More of this–and Zeno in our next post.
¹ From Robert Lanza’s Beyond Biocentrism: Rethinking Time, Space, Consciousness, and the Illusion of Death (Benbella Books, 2016 [Lanza, this is, with Bob Berman.]
² That’s “zero,” not “zero squared,” nor Zeno, who we’ll visit once more.