Hello intersectional thinkers 👋
Greetings from rainy Vancouver! I was supposed to be writing to you from New York, but life happened… After a lot of sulking, I was reminded of this Navy SEALs adage:
Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.
When I first heard this Navy SEAL maxim two years ago, it left a jarring impression.
The idea made a lot of sense to me intuitively. Yet I couldn’t quite shake off the fact that it didn't make any logical sense.
Transitive law states: if A is equal to B, and B is equal to C. Then A is equal to C.
This means: slow = smooth, smooth = fast, therefore, slow = fast.
Clearly, that’s NOT true!
So what’s up with this Navy SEAL's tried and true paradox?
What is a paradox anyway?
A seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true.
Mind bending examples:
“I know one thing: that I know nothing.” - Socrates
“It’s weird not to be weird.” - John Lennon
You can never get from point A to point B because you have to first travel half the distance, then half of the remaining distance, and so on, ad infinitum. – Zeno’s paradox
This is the stuff that makes my mind feel so feeble it hurts.
But then, the other day, I stumbled upon the secret to making sense of all this.
The 'paradox' is only a conflict between reality and your feeling of what 'reality' ought to be.
- Richard Feynman
A paradox doesn’t need explaining.
Instead, it’s the paradox that’s trying to explain to us what we’re missing in our understanding of reality.
The navy SEALs might be alluding to a non-temporal understanding of speed.
Socrates might have tried to expand our limited understanding of knowledge.
Paradoxes might be trying to tell us there’s nothing wrong with being true and untrue at the same time.
And if this is making your head spin, here’s another one:
What is important is to spread confusion, not eliminate it. - Salvador Dalí*
* With all this debate around misinformation, “spreading confusion” can be taken the wrong way. I don’t think Dalí’s ‘confusion’ goes anywhere close to misinformation, but, take it or leave it. It’s just another perspective to get us thinking.