Absolutely Relative Absolute Truth

Dimitri: So, Tasso, you seem to be one of those guys who thinks there is no absolute truth, that all truth is relative.

Tasso: Right.

Dimitri: Are you sure of that?

Tasso: Absolutely.

– Cathcart. T., Klein. D. 2007. Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar New York, United States: Penguin p. 179

Murphy’s Law

Nearly everyone has heard of the tragic yet whimsical Law of Murphy, which states: “If anything can go wrong, it will.” – an axiom which is quite depressing to contemplate for obvious reasons.

However, what about the undermining consideration that Murphy’s Law must also necessarily apply to Murphy’s Law?

“The chance of the bread falling with the buttered side down is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet.” – [Unknown Source]

Deception is Truth, Truth Deception

‘The postmodernist critique of Plato was anticipated in classical times in a celebrated story told by the Roman scholar Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD) in his Natural History. Pliny described a competition between the painters Zeuxis and Parrhasios during the 5th century BC. Zeuxis painted a bunch of grapes so lifelike that they attracted the birds.

[Parrhasios] “But I triumphed over him by painting a veil so deceptive that Zeuxis turned to me and said…”

[Zeuxis] “Well, and now draw aside the veil and show what you have painted behind it.”

[Pliny the Elder] “Whereas Zeuxis fooled the birds, Parrhasios deceived his fellow human beings.”

Plato always maintained that truth and falsity are opposed. This idea is perpetuated in confusion arising from Zeuxis’ painting. But Parrhasios contradicts this notion by revealing that deception is the truth, and vice versa. The French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan was particularly fond of this story, and quoted it in his seminars during the 1960s and 70s.’

– Kul-Want. C. (2012) Aesthetics London, United Kingdom: Icon Books p. 15

Olbers’ Paradox

There is enough luminous matter in the universe to completely light up the night sky brighter than the surface of the Sun.

If you add up all the photons spewing out of all the stars and galaxies and the space in between, there is enough to light up the universe, yet when we look up at the night sky, this is clearly not the case. So, why is the sky dark at night?

Simply stated, the paradox formulated by the German astronomer Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers (1758–1840) says that if the universe is infinite and static, then at any given angle from the Earth the line of sight will end at the surface of a star. An infinitely old universe means that there has been plenty of time for the light from every star that has ever shined to reach our eyes. When we look up, there should be a star everywhere, in every piece of sky. Because of this, the sky at night should be just as bright as when the sun is up.

“We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities.”
― Oscar Wilde

The explanation for why the sky is dark instead of a brilliant curtain of light comes from more recent observations and discoveries about our universe made since Olbers’ time. From what was known up to about the nineteenth century, it seemed seemed very reasonable that the universe was infinitely old and unchanging, and in such a universe, Olbers’ paradox is a real problem.

We now know however, that the universe is not infinitely old and static, the universe (in which we live now) had a beginning – given birth by the Big Bang (whatever preceded it, is still a bit of a mystery). This has important implications for Olbers Paradox. Because the universe has a finite age, one reason our night sky is dark is that many photons have not had time to reach us, those that have lie within our observable universe. This would not be so if the heavens had been around forever. The darkness of the night sky is a characteristic that argues against infinity.

But the Big Bang presents us with another paradox: it states that the early universe was awash in photons. Everywhere, hot photons permeated spacetime. At this time in our history, the cosmos was truly bright. Given these hot, bright early conditions, shouldn’t wherever we look in the sky reveal the remnant of the Big Bang? Shouldn’t there be a luminous curtain of light behind every star and galaxy we see?

“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

The fact is, this curtain of light is there, but our eyes cannot see it. Due to the expansion of the universe, the wavelengths of these hot, early photons have been stretched over 1,100 times longer than their original wavelengths. The high-energy, luminous backdrop of the early universe, is today filled with relatively cool, microwave photons, invisible to the human eye after being stretched by the expanding fabric of our universe for over 13 billion years.

A Comic Book Excerpt

‘As you journey along the path you meet an old man. He tells you that modern science has proved that all our actions and decisions are merely the machinations of a predetermined universe and that our concept of ‘free will’ is naught but a comforting illusion.

If you agree with this hypothesis turn to page 72.

If you disagree, turn to page 72.’

Unknown Source

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Does 0.999…∞ Equal 1?

Imagine you fill a glass with exactly one litre of water. If you pour this glass of water into three smaller glasses and make sure the amount in each of the three glasses is exactly the same, every glass would contain 0.333…∞ litres. If you pour the contents of these three glasses back into the bigger glass, you would still have one litre of water. Just keep in mind that 0.333…∞ does not terminate, and neither does 0.999…∞ Ever.

The formal calculation would be:

x = 0.999…∞
10x = 9.999…∞
10x – x = 9.999…∞ – 0.999…∞ = 9
9 = 9x
x = 1

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