Posts Tagged ‘Zeno’s paradox’

Pillow talk

March 5, 2018

While lingering in bed together, my wife asked, “Are you almost ready to get up?”

“Define almost,” I said. “Does it have a time element?”

“Time is an illusion,” she replied.

“In that case, ‘almost ready to get up’ would have no meaning. Indeed, one could not get up at all.”

“No; it still implies that, at some point, the getting up will occur.”

“But you’re forgetting Zeno’s paradox,” I said. “When going from Point A to Point B, you first must travel half the distance. Then, of the remaining half, you must first traverse half of that. And of that quarter, half again, and so forth. So you can never get there. It’s asymptotic.”

“Not true. You don’t have to move in increasingly smaller steps, you can take full steps. And what if you can reach the destination in a single step?”

“But even a single step is not instantaneous. You still must cover half the step first; and then another half of the remaining part — a quarter, then an eighth, a sixteenth, et cetera.”

“However,” she said, “in reality you can take a full step in one go.”

“I thought you didn’t believe in reality,” I said. “You say it’s an illusion.”

“But within the illusion, one can go from A to B.”

I let my wife have the last word, and got up.