View Full Version : Tell me a paradox

10-28-2011, 04:02 AM
So I am late to the game and just figuring out how this works. I thought of a few for characters, but was wondering what some other ones were.

Here's what I have so far:

- Hates loud noises but cranks her music.
- A marriage therapist who is going through a divorce.

(I think these are paradoxes....)

Any others I can look at as examples? I've Googled them but it's hard to find ones for characters.


10-28-2011, 04:18 AM
How about a sex therapist who is asexual? lol

Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

10-28-2011, 04:19 AM
I don't think I would call your second example a paradox (maybe).

An animal lover who's afraid of dogs.

A ghost who's afraid of the dark.

A drug dealer who is strict with his own kids about not using drugs (that might not be a paradox either).

A cop who's a kleptomaniac.

10-28-2011, 04:20 AM
I don't think I would call your second example a paradox (maybe).

An animal lover who's afraid of dogs.

A ghost who's afraid of the dark.

A drug dealer who is strict with his own kids about not using drugs (that might not be a paradox either).

A cop who's a kleptomaniac.

Ooooh, a ghost who's afraid of the dark...I like that one!

10-28-2011, 04:21 AM
A zombie who's a vegetarian!


10-28-2011, 04:38 AM
Someone who keeps kosher inheriting a ranch that raises unclean animals.

An illiterate teacher.

A suicidal grief counselor.

A sailor who's allergic to water/fish

A deaf composer / paralyzed dancer (both possible)

A colorblind artist

A writer who can't read

A cowardly hero

A theoretical physicist who can't do basic math

human life on a planet without oxygen

10-28-2011, 04:40 AM
In my little book I have a demon that is afraid or clueless about doing bad things to people. :poke: It seems to go against his 'nature'. ????

10-28-2011, 04:51 AM
Jumbo shrimp? ;)

10-28-2011, 04:56 AM
A ghost who's afraid of the dark.

I have one of those in a WIP. I never thought about it being a paradox. It didn't occur to me a ghost should have no reason to fear the dark. I will have to think about that further.

10-28-2011, 04:58 AM
What's a ghost to be afraid of . . . someone jumping out in the dark and scaring him to death?


10-28-2011, 05:18 AM
Aren't those oxymorons?

10-28-2011, 05:36 AM
Aren't those oxymorons?

I think of a paradox, when applied to a character, as someone who has an ingrained conflict of his nature (which is why I didn't really think a marriage counselor getting a divorce was a paradox).

We're probably being a little flexible with the examples here since this is just a casual question.

Miss Plum
10-28-2011, 06:00 AM
Aren't those oxymorons?
I do think of paradoxes as being situational. But let's remove all doubt.


That would leave us with the following examples:

"Hiding in plain sight"
"The more things change, the more they stay the same."
Any catch-22, e.g. in order to get a job you have to have experience, but in order to gain experience you must first get a job

10-28-2011, 06:49 AM
Military Intelligence...

Karen Junker
10-28-2011, 07:10 AM
A substance abuse counselor who discusses her clients' case planning over cocktails?

10-28-2011, 07:37 AM
An illiterate teacher.
A colorblind artist

My great uncle's a colorblind (red-green) painter.
I heard of a school principal who was essentially illiterate. And I have reason to believe the story.

Anyways: In grade 6, we had this program called VIP--values, influences, peers. How to say no to drugs, that kind of thing. Given by a local police officer.

Well, later that year, the officer was busted for being involved in the drug trade :)

10-28-2011, 01:45 PM
Those aren't paradoxes. They're hypocrites.

10-28-2011, 03:20 PM
What's a ghost to be afraid of . . . someone jumping out in the dark and scaring him to death?


Something like that. :)

10-28-2011, 04:10 PM
I think the late, great Steve Jobs was a paradox. A brilliant, inventive man who worked in business, design and technology, yet didn't trust modern medicine quite enough to ...

Well, I guess everyone knows the rest.

10-28-2011, 05:27 PM
A paradox is something which contradicts itself by virtue of its own existence. None of these do.


10-28-2011, 10:19 PM
A zombie who's a vegetarian!


I know a vegetarian who is an avid hunter. Does that count?

Ton Lew Lepsnaci
10-28-2011, 10:46 PM
An extrovert mathematician. [One that looks at your shoes when he is talking to you as opposed to his own.]

Ton Lew Lepsnaci
10-28-2011, 10:48 PM
Ooh, ooh, an extrovert writer. One that, never mind :)

Just kidding! Plenty of extrovert writers around.

Ton Lew Lepsnaci
10-28-2011, 10:51 PM
A paradox is something which contradicts itself by virtue of its own existence. None of these do.


Ah, semantics shmantics ;)

10-30-2011, 02:12 AM
I have spun my mind on what I call the Cheater's Paradox, and it was based on a statement that was thrown in my direction once some time ago:

"I may be a lot of things, but I'm not a cheater*."

My mind spun it into paradoxical territory with a simple "what if." What if the "lot of things" included being a liar? Would it not make the original statement potentially both true and untrue at the same time?

The person could have just said, "I am not a cheater." Then, the statement would have been either true or not true. But with the added first phrase, it stepped into (potentially) incredible cleverness.

*Cheater could refer to many things, but in the original context, it had to do with relationship fidelity.

10-30-2011, 02:47 AM
Aren't those oxymorons?

That's my thought.

par·a·dox   [par-uh-doks]
1. a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth.
2. a self-contradictory and false proposition.
3. any person, thing, or situation exhibiting an apparently contradictory nature.
4. an opinion or statement contrary to commonly accepted opinion.

Christine N.
10-30-2011, 02:56 AM
A paradox is something which contradicts itself by virtue of its own existence. None of these do.


Yes, this. The rest of the things stated in this thread are oxymorons, I believe.

A paradox is a seemingly true statement or group of statements that lead to a contradiction or a situation which seems to defy logic or intuition. Typically, however, quoted paradoxical statements do not imply a real contradiction and the puzzling results can be rectified by demonstrating that one or more of the premises themselves are not really true, a play on words, faulty and/or cannot all be true together. But many paradoxes, such as Curry's paradox, do not yet have universally accepted resolutions. The word paradox is often used interchangeably with contradiction. Literary and other artistic uses of paradoxes imply no contradiction and may be used to describe situations that are ironic.[1] Sometimes the term paradox is used for situations that are merely surprising. An example of a paradox is "This statement is false.", and is explained below.
The logician Willard V. O. Quine distinguishes:
Falsidical paradoxes, which are seemingly valid, logical demonstrations of absurdities, from
Veridical paradoxes, such as the birthday paradox, which are seeming absurdities that are nevertheless true because they are perfectly logical.[2]

A paradox would be like (and if this has mentioned, sorry, I only read the first page of the thread):

You go back in time and accidentally kill your grandfather before your father is born. BUT if your grandfather is dead before your father is born, YOU wouldn't exist, and therefore would be unable to go back in time to kill your grandfather.

That is a paradox.

10-30-2011, 03:11 AM
Yeah, I wouldn't really call most of those paradoxes, either.

Hmm, thinking of a paradoxical character is a bit more difficult. How about a god who is a staunch atheist, struggling to deny his own existence in a world he can't accept?

10-30-2011, 04:20 AM
If a god is all powerful, can he/she create a rock so heavy he/she can't lift it?

[This came from a comedy routine from a long, long time ago--either Bill Cosby, or more likely, George Carlin.]

10-30-2011, 04:32 AM
Like the Circumnavigator's Paradox, all kinds of perceived paradoxical situations could be thought of when one crosses the International Date Line (IDL), paticularly by fiction writers (story potential here, or at least story component potential).

And here is an opportunity (and some thread-related fun), provided the person who started the thread doesn't object (it can be split into another thread if there is an objection). What kind of perceived paradoxical situations can you think of that could occur due to crossing the IDL, either from east to west or west to east?

10-30-2011, 04:45 AM
Hmm. We ordered a second number from Verizon for my husband's work phone and requested that it be unlisted. When I asked for the assigned number, the service rep said she couldn't give it to me because it was unlisted.
That left me with a paradox ... created by absolute stupidity.

Mac H.
10-30-2011, 07:28 AM
The real world may not give us many paradoxes - but beauracracy gives us plenty.

eg: If you lodge a copy of your will with the Malta probate office and want to review it later it is easy. You just have to provide a notarised copy of your own death certificate and they'll let you read it.

Or the classic restraining order example:

"You are ordered to not approach her home or work"
"Ok - but where are they?"
"I'm not going to tell you - but I will get you arrested if you go within 200 metres"
"So there are places I'm not allowed to go in this town without being arrested - but you won't tell me were they are?"


10-30-2011, 09:40 AM
A zombie who's a vegetarian!


Q: What does a vegetarian zombie eat?

A: Graaaiiiinnnsssss.

10-30-2011, 09:56 AM
A paradox is a medical convention with only two attendees.

Mac H.
10-30-2011, 03:17 PM
I just saw a good one.

Image here: http://flowingdata.com/2011/10/28/best-statistics-question-ever/

It's from a multiple choice maths question:

If you chose an answer to this question at random, what is the chance you will be correct?

a) 25%
b) 50%
c) 60%
d) 25%

(PS: I can't see why a ghost being afraid of the dark should be so surprising - let alone a paradox.

We aren't afraid of the dark because of our ignorance - we think that there's nothing fearful hidden there.

The ghost knows better. He knows the truth. That's why he's terrified.

There are somethings that are so much more terrible than you & I can imagine.)

Drachen Jager
10-31-2011, 02:15 AM
It's not really a paradox, not that any of these are, but the kind of contradictory characteristics you're looking for.

I see this everywhere, it's pathetically common in our modern society. Spending tens of thousands on work-saving devices, leaf-blowers, snow-blowers, riding lawnmowers, and spending thousands more on exercise equipment and gym memberships.

10-31-2011, 03:18 AM
To put it too simply:

A paradox is something you'd scratch your head over.

An oxymoron is something you'd roll your eyes at.

*Calm stormie leaves thread like a soft gentle breeze blowing through*

10-31-2011, 01:54 PM
I think a true literary paradox is Herodotus's famous one - All Greeks are liars.

Drachen Jager
10-31-2011, 07:16 PM
Being a liar doesn't mean they lie non-stop though.

10-31-2011, 07:30 PM
Which was part of the point I think he was making... among many other points you can read into it about definitive statements :)

11-01-2011, 03:47 AM
The statement below is false.

The statement above is true.