Humans are complex beings. If you’ve ever studied biology, you know that even the simplest life form or bacterium is anything but simple! One can ponder a single flower, grain of sand or seed for hours and still have more questions than answers about the amazing features of creation. Within nature, particularly concerning human beings, some strange paradoxes exist that will no doubt leave you baffled.
We can begin with some paradoxes involving wordplay. For instance, have you ever wondered why we park in a driveway but drive on a parkway? Have you ever noticed what a long word ‘abbreviation’ is? Word jokes and puns can be a lot of fun; however, there are some strange paradoxes that are more mind-boggling than they are, humorous.
Strange paradoxes occur when a person freezes to death
I’m sure I’m not the only person who hopes to die peacefully in her sleep of natural causes at an old age. I’m not afraid of dying or death in general, although there are certain types of death that terrify me. Fire scares me and so does drowning. I wouldn’t want to freeze to death either. Speaking of freezing to death, a strange phenomenon takes place when a person is near death from hypothermia. Because there is often nerve damage at the end stages, a person who is freezing to death might feel extremely hot. In fact, many hypothermia victims exhibit behavior known as “paradoxical undressing.” A person becomes irrational, feels unbearably hot, then starts to tear his or her clothes off. Definitely not what we might expect from someone who is freezing to death!
Zeno the Philosopher will blow your mind
If you’re into strange paradoxes, you might already be familiar with the ancient Greek philosopher, Zeno. He purported an idea known as the motion paradox that sparked a perpetual debate that has never definitively been resolved. Zeno asserted that motion, in particular, motion intended to travel from a starting point to a destination, is impossible. Why? Are you sure you want to know? When I first read about it, it boggled my brain for hours!
Okay, here goes: If you want to travel from point A to point B, you must first travel half that distance. Then, you must travel half the distance left, then half that distance and half that distance and so on. As such, how is motion or arriving at a destination ever possible?! I KNOW, RIGHT?! Any quantum physics experts among our readers? If so, help!
A heterological word mystery
In the world of strange paradoxes, we can’t ignore the heterological word mystery. By definition, a heterological word is a word that does not describe itself. For instance, the word noun is a noun but the word verb is not a verb; therefore, verb is a heterological word. Ready? Wait for it…
Is the word “heterological” a heterological word? By virtue of its definition, a heterological word cannot describe itself. So, defining heterological as heterological means we are describing it as a word that does not describe itself, which is what it is, so — see the problem?
Strange paradoxes that perplex scientists
Cancer occurs when a cell mutates out of control. It’s logical to assume then, that the more cells a particular organism has, the greater a chance of cancer occurring there would also be in that organism. Scientists are left scratching their heads, however, at a strange paradox that occurs consistently across various species. Humans have more than 1,000 times more cells that mice, but mice have a much higher rate of developing cancer than people.
Blue whales do not get cancer as often as people do; yet, they have many more cells in their bodies than humans. It makes no logical sense considering the basic concepts and facts we know about probability and ratio. We know there are certain foods that help prevent cancer, which you can read more about here. There’s apparently a lot more to learn, however, when it comes to why organisms with more cells seem to get cancer less often than their lesser-cell counterparts. It is but one of many strange paradoxes that exist in our extraordinary, ordinary world!