Paradoxes, Puns and Conundrums

IT’S A PARADOX…

“I am lying now.”

So sweet, yet so ambiguous.  Think about it.  If I say, “I am lying now.”  And I am.  Then I must be telling the truth.  Thus, I am not lying.

This is a version of the Liar’s Paradox which goes back at least to 400BC and could be as old as 600BC.  There is argument over whether Epimenides, a Cretan (600BC) actually intended his:

“All Cretans are liars.”

as a paradox.  Many believe the first intentional version of the Lair’s Paradox was made by Eubulides, a Greek (400BC):

A man says that he is lying. Is what he says true or false?”

Other versions of Liar’s Paradox are:

This statement is false.

You can also state the paradox like this:

The following sentence is true.
The preceding sentence is false.

Let yourself be bothered by the mental convolutions you go through trying to “straighten-out” a Paradox.  It’s good for your brain….

OF COURSE “PARADOX” IS THE  GREAT AWFUL PUN SOLUTION TO THIS REBUS:

doc

doc

 

PUNS AND CONUNDRUMS

There is no agreement on the root/origin of the pun itself or when the first one was punned.

The ancient Babylonians had pun contests to the the death.

And even in Shakespeare’s time two men dueled to death, with swords, over  a disagreement on a pun.

The Pun Also Rises, by John Pollack is a well written book about “the pun”.

Here are two quotes from his book:

“Webster’s dictionary defines a pun as ” the humorous use of a word in such a way as to suggest different meanings of application or of words having the same or nearly the same sound by different meanings”

and:

“Puns also play a formative role in childhood development, by revealing the relationship between words, sounds, context and meaning.  Listen carefully, and you’ll note that the knock-knock jokes and riddles that children learn on the playground usually turn on puns.  For example, what has four wheels and flies?  A garbage truck.

It’s simple, and not so simple.  As children gleefully learn to spot and evaluate secondary meanings in common words and phrases, they’re really learning how to think critically.  To get the joke, they have to overlook the obvious to explore other possible interpretations of what they have just heard, and fast.”

A pun will help you see a simple statement in more than one way.

HERE ARE A FEW PUNS: (FROM: http://www.punoftheday.com)

I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. It’s impossible to put down.

Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He’s all right now.

I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.

No one knew she had a dental implant until it came out in a conversation.

You want to clone yourself? Now wouldn’t that be just like you

The patron saint of poverty is St. Nickeless.

HERE’S ONE OF MY FAVORITES:

There was a man who entered a local paper’s pun contest.  He sent in ten different puns, in the hope that at least one would win.  Unfortunately, no pun in ten did.

CONUNDRUMS

In this definition a conundrum is a statement which is based on a series of inter-related plays on words.  A great way to re-figure seemingly simple sentences.

FOR EXAMPLE:

A Zookeeper notices that one of the orangutans is reading two books; the Bible and Darwin’s, Origin of the species.  He asks the Orangutan why he is reading those books.  The orangutan replies, “I’m reading the Bible to see if I am my brother’s keeper and I’m reading the Darwin to see if I am my keeper’s brother.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*