I really enjoy paradox, especially in areas of science, religion and philosophy. There are all kinds of paradoxes in life – some are paradoxes of logic, some of self-reference, some of mathematics, some of statistics, some of probability, some of decision theory, some of physics. The world is full of paradoxes.
What do I mean? Take a famous story from two of the world’s major religions, Judaism and Christianity. It involves King David of Israel. After coveting another man’s wife, Bathsheba, he had the man murdered by sending him to the front lines in battle. According to the Torah, God was so infuriated that He punished the entire nation and only relented out of mercy.
Adultery? Murder? Theft? Sin? Conspiracy? Yeah, guilty of all of it. But David still married this woman after having an affair and murdering her husband (literally). Yet a child born to them was King Solomon, which turned Israel into the richest and most powerful empire on the planet at the time. It was through this bloodline that Mary was born and, thus, Jesus Christ.
I mean, the irony here is that had David not been completely wicked and sinful, ticked off God, broken His laws, had an affair, murdered an innocent man, and let his lust take control of him, Solomon, Mary and Jesus Christ, wouldn’t have been born – that bloodline simply wouldn’t have existed.
The paradox? Imagine that you go back in time and wake up as King David. You know that you have to commit the adultery and subsequent murder, defying God and sinning but it is necessary to bring forth the bloodline of Solomon, Mary and Jesus Christ. Do you do it? The paradox is that the only way to have God’s plan come to pass is to defy God’s will. Then, the paradox expands because now a just God must punish an evil act that is responsible for the ultimate good in the world.
We have certain paradoxes at work today in economics. The so-called paradox of thrift states that, “if everyone tries to save more money during times of recession, then aggregate demand will fall and will in turn lower total savings in the population because of the decrease in consumption and economic growth.”
Paradox is wonderful. Paradox is the unexpected spice in the dish of life – it keeps things interesting.