Zeno’s Dichotomy Paradox

Keira Waters
4 min readFeb 7, 2021
Photo by vaun0815 on Unsplash

Suppose there is a door. And for some reason or another, you want to reach that door and open it. But before you reach that door you will have to get to the midpoint between that door and yourself.

Once you get to the midpoint, there will be another midpoint you must get to before you can reach the door. You begin to see a pattern. That pattern is that space between you and the door is infinitely divisible and you can never truly reach that door.

Now of course in contradiction, you may your self stand up, walk over the door that is supposedly impossible to reach, and open it. Then go sit back down to enjoy a cup of coffee, tea, or your desired beverage.

But then I ask you, what if that door isn’t real.

What if I truly cannot open that door because I don’t know where the physical location of this door is. How can I open a door that doesn’t open or exist?

That is a topic for another time.

This mathematical and philosophical constriction describes an infinite series. One of which if you were to add up, could in fact be equal to a finite number. Say we add 1/2+1/4+1/8+1/16+1/32+1/64+…+infinty we may in fact get a solution that approaches 1. But we can never get a definite answer because the series is infinite.

Photo by Jake Hills on Unsplash

In regard to the world around us, we view everything in a set number of finite series. We trade-off accuracy or precision with an arbitrary concept, let say time for the sake of the argument.

I believe the contradiction I feel is between accuracy and precision. It is the perspective of dedicating my understand to something that is the “ultimate truth” (I put it in parentheses because I don’t think that is something that exists). I myself am contrition. Do I follow a path that is accepted as the true path? If so, does that even exist? Or do I go down the path where the measurements turn similar results and not care if they are actually right or not?

I recognize that this is confusing to follow. I still don’t entirely know what I am saying. There has to be a balance between understanding that there are many possibilities, basing my life off of something that ultimately isn’t the truth, and still living in spite of it.

I recognize that I will have to find happiness in the things I do or I will not want to be alive, so at least that is a good step in the right direction. But my very actions, mindset, and experiences shape the world around me. I must build a good one. But what does that even mean?

What if the world I want for myself hurts other people? By wanting I hurt others? By suppressing my wants I hurt myself and then hurt others. Maybe I must find a way to release myself from wants and desires? I don’t know how to do that.

We are walking towards a door. We want to reach that door, but it is impossible to reach. And we can’t stop walking because then we will suffer and so will those around us. But why to that door? Am I just waiting to die?

A friend of mine said something I found quite hilariously cruel the other day. I have been contemplating my death for a long while now. And, to put it lightly, I am not very religious. I have a strong faith in mathematics and physics, but even those fields are in a state of constant change. That is beside the point, my friend said that what if when you die you are still conscious?

This is something I have NEVER considered. The probability of it still seems small. And if one were to die, I assume their conscious state would change into a different form if it were the case. But I low key, high key think that is the funniest thing.

If I am going to kill myself it would be to escape conscious thought.

What a funny joke. Even now it makes me giggle. A never-ending tunnel of fucking consciousness that you can’t escape from, that is comical.

And I am not saying this to shit on other people. It is just the fact that after thinking about death as an escape for a long while now, and to have someone express that it is possible that that is not the case would honestly be a pretty funny joke. Like I just died to end consciousness but turns out I am still trapped here for eternity.

Luckily, I don’t believe this to be the case. It was just an interesting perspective that I have not considered. And the tone has been overtly sarcastic towards the end of this post.

Also, for those of you reading, I am not actively considering suicide. There is no reason to be concerned. I had a huge breakthrough a few weeks ago and am getting the help I need.

It is just nice to go through this and write it into the world.

Let me know if you have any other interesting paradoxes you have heard of or like to share. I am really into them right now.

Thank you for reading,

Keira Waters