4 paradoxes you’ve probably never heard about

Okay, we should cut right to the chase, shouldn’t we? So this list contains some paradoxes you probably haven’t heard about.

Ship of Theseus Paradox

This paradox asks a direct question from the viewers – “At what point does an object cease to be itself?”

Imagine we had a ship. As time passes by, we end up replacing all the wood in it. Then the nails and the hooks get replaced with new ones. The sail comes next. Now that every part of the ship has been replaced the question arises – is it the same shape as before? At what point does it cease to be the ship it was? Is it when the woods are replaced? Or when the sails?


You can see where this is going. Let’s take it a step further: imagine again, if we had all the replaced parts – the wooden planks, hooks, and sails – and made a ship identical to the first one hour then which one would be the original?

This paradox is somewhat similar to the Sorites paradox, which states the same problem with a heap of sand as the main subject. The question it asks is – “When does a heap of sand cease to be a heap?”

Both of these are logical paradoxes. They have no definite logical answer because they deploy the use of wordplay and general terms into a real-world problem.

Paradox of Freedom

This is one of my favorite paradoxes. This paradox is one of the many paradoxes originating from time-travel scenarios. it poses the question of freedom of choice if ever time travel is possible. The paradox of Freedom comes into play when we consider time to be flowing in a straight line, with the past being in the rear part and the future being ahead of the fixed point considered to be the present.

The paradox happens when you travel to the past from the present, thereby ‘leaving’ the present. Influencing the past isn’t a factor here. Just by travelling to the past, you’ve fixed a point in the timeline. now, your past self would travel from the past to that particular fixed point, and then again he would travel to the past just like the present you did. Okay, this is getting confusing.


Let’s assume you’re S1, and you are at point P1, which is the present. You travel to the past to point P2. The past ‘you’ is S2 here. S2 is at point P2, moving towards the present, which is P1. All the choices of S2 – your past self – would lead to that fixed point only. No matter what heaters, he is bound to reach the fixed point.

This is the plot of the Paradox. It questions our ability to make spontaneous and free choices. If your past self eventually comes to that point again, did he have any free will or control over it? Did you? Who’s to say you weren’t ‘S3453’ or ‘S790865’? And if that is the case, are we all living in a delusion where we are in control of our choices in life?

These are some strong ‘existential-crisis’ questions.

(Is just agreed that time travel is the biggest source of paradoxes, along with ‘The Infinity’)

Potato Paradox

Okay, this one is a little weird. This is a ‘Veridical Paradox’ which means that the answer to this question is completely possible and plausible, albeit very unintuitive. Here goes:

Imagine you have a sack of potatoes. The sack contains 100 kilograms of potatoes. 99% of the potato content is water, and 1% is solid substance. You keep the potatoes in the sun for a whole day and now when you measure the percentage composition again it comes out to be 98% water and 2% solid substance. Here’s the question: how much potato is left with you?


The correct answer is, wait for it, 50 kgs. Completely unintuitive, isn’t it?

“Bullsfit!”, I hear you say, but that’s just the nature of a paradox. Let us see how.

You initially had 99 kg of water and 1 kg of solid substance totalled 100 kgs of potato. Now, the potatoes have lost water, but they still have the same amount of solid substance. Remember, when you remove the water by evaporation, you still have the solid part left. Since the water is down to 98%, the solid part becomes 2% now. 2% of potatoes equals 1 kg of substance. If we calculate how much potato is left by assuming it to be ‘X’ kgs.


2% of X kgs of potato= 1kg of substance

2/100 × X kgs = 1kg

X = 100/2 kgs = 50 kgs

The total weight of potatoes comes out to be 50 kgs, just by reducing the water content by 1%. That’s mind-teaser right there. Just reducing the amount of water from 99% to 98% decreased the total amount of potatoes by half! Insane.

This is a paradox because it tricks the mind at first glance, but when you go a bit deeper into the problem, the answer just becomes obvious. This is the very nature of Veridical paradoxes.

Paradox of The Jin Particle

I can bet this is the first time you’ve heard it. This is again a time loop paradox but is a different one from the one mentioned before. I couldn’t resist putting this here.

Basically, the Jin particle is an object which exists and can only be interacted with inside a time loop. It solely exists in the time loop and it has no origin nor any termination. The particle is neither created nor destroyed, ever.

The movie “Time Rider” has this paradox coming into play. The protagonist is approached by a woman who gives him a necklace and tells him to meet her in the past. The protagonist is baffled. He works hard to successfully build a time machine because of the incident, goes to the past, meets the woman when she was younger, and gifts her the necklace. They get married afterward. The man lives the rest of his life in the past. When the woman grows old, she goes on to meet the same ‘younger’ man and gives him the necklace, telling him to meet her in the past. This sort of loop is repeated again and again.

Remember, the man got the necklace from the woman and the woman got the necklace from the man. The necklace has no origin and has no end. The necklace is the Jin Particle.

Another sample of agent particle would be if I took a copy of a book to the past and handed it over to the writer before he even had the idea to write the book. Now, the writer copies everything from the book and publishes it. The book becomes a hit again. I again find the book and travel to the past to give it to the writer. Who exactly wrote the book? What is the origin of the book? Whose thoughts are published in the book?

There could be countless examples of the Jin particle.

Time travel paradoxes do tend to mess up your brain. Big time.


Bonus – Peto’s Paradox

This is a natural paradox and related to cancer. Cancer occurs when something unexpected happens during a reaction inside a human cell, and the immune system isn’t able to prevent it or destroy it. More than 35 trillion reactions are going on inside your body right now, which is much more than what is going on inside the body of a rat but much less than what is going on inside the body of an elephant or a Blue Whale. As the number of living cells inside an animal increases, the chances of getting cancer increases as well. The chances of a mouse getting cancer are much less than human getting cancer. They should apply to all animals, right? This is what intuition says. This is not what happens. The truth is larger animals such as elephants, sharks and whales don’t seem to get cancer at all. This is completely against what scientists had predicted and we still don’t know for sure what the real reason behind this is. Some scientists speculate that cancer indeed does sprout in the large animal but cancer itself develops cancer because of its sheer size. Second cancer slowly eats up the t cancer and perishes not long after. This has no concrete proof as of now but is a strong possibility nonetheless. Some scientists also theorize that when cancer cells originate in large animals we get hunted down pretty quickly due to the larger size of the animal. These are of course speculations, can we don’t know the reason as of now. I’ll certainly let you know when we do 🙂

This is it for the list of paradoxes, and I hope your brain got a little more messed up than it originally was.

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