It’s something a student can only do once they’ve reached a certain level of understanding. It’s like a passcode, or that scene from the TV series Kung Fu, where David Carradine has to snatch the pebble from his master’s hand. Being capable of untangling an apparent paradox can only be done once we have reached a certain level of understanding.
According to Wikipedia, “A paradox, also known as an antinomy, is a logically self-contradictory statement or a statement that runs contrary to one’s expectation. It is a statement that, despite apparently valid reasoning from true premises, leads to a seemingly self-contradictory or a logically unacceptable conclusion.”
In a 2-dimensional world, the concept that we could get to the other side of a 2 meter (6 foot) wall demands that we go around it. To say that we can be on the other side of the wall even though we did not go around it, is a paradoxical statement. We appear to be defying logic. We appear to be.
Of course, if we have an appreciation of the 3-dimensional world, then we have the option of going ‘over’ the wall. Meanwhile, in the 2-dimensional world, they can’t even make sense of the term ‘2 meters.’
To them, the ‘2 meters’ is just a number with nothing attached to it. They’re prepared to trust it, but without really knowing what it is –much like most people who work on airplanes don’t actually understand how they fly. For them, the concept of ‘lift’ is created by some ‘higher being’s,’ and they trust the ‘higher being’ with their life (in the plane’s case, the ‘higher being’ would be the plane’s aeronautical engineers).
As lofty as those engineers might feel, if we all went to school and learned what they did, we would learn that they were simply able to create ‘lift’ by understanding some principles about the world that we’re generally unfamiliar with. They shared in the knowledge but it was knowledge that anyone has access to.
This means that, the ways in which a plane can stay aloft is something we can learn to sort out. We simply need to gain the right perspective. Then we can do magical things, like design new planes that we can know will fly before we’ve even tried them. It feels like magic to the uninformed, much like the sudden appearance of an enlightened person on one side of a wall, even though no one saw them going around it.
The people who can see through these paradoxes are not better than anyone else. To them, fellow 3-D people are nothing special. They are merely seeing a larger truth. None of them have lost sight of the 2-D world, which is why they can be patient with 2-D mistakes. The innocence of the mistakes becomes obvious.
This is why, as we grow and make efforts to burst out of our thought-cocoons, we are best not to view those things as an improvement or as growth. The capacity was always there. What’s changed is that we lose the thought-limits that create the paradox. We stop hemming ourselves in with our own ideas about ourselves and the world around us.
By releasing ourselves from those boundaries, we are free to rise. And in doing so, we expose the third dimension. And from that perspective, the concept of appearing on the other side of a wall is not a miracle. It is a simple act, done in a new mental framework for reality.
All of this means that massive change is always only one thought away for anyone. There are always new layers of the onion to peel away, even for the most practiced person. That is the true beauty of the universe. There are always new paradoxes to be fascinated by. No matter how much we do, those will always provide us with an abundance of new wonders to discover. All we have to do, is keep our minds open to untangling them.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.