By Andrew Bittner and Brian Lee
Congratulations! You were able to fit into the category of the “people who have too much time,” and are able to read this fascinating article! We ensure you, it will be an article you will forget by tomorrow, but still, it’s awfully interesting, with no doubt. Now before we start, we want you to know that our writing is credible, so, we will tell you a little bit about ourselves.
Let’s start with Professor Bittner. He is one of the most intelligent human beings on Earth, who first became known to the whole world when he was able to scientifically break down the morally challenging question that no one was able to answer; is water wet? To this day, if you are still one of those people who don’t know the answer to this question, please go to a useful source named “Google” and look him up. Or, you can personally shoot him an email and he will answer that particular question, or anything else as best as he can. Our point is, he deserves a lot, and we mean a lot, of respect.
As for Dr. Lee, he is extraordinarily adept in a variety of fields of math and has recently been invited to travel the world and explain his mathematical proof of God, the meaning of life, and how many grains of sand are in the average beach. Not that anyone will understand his proof as no one in the world has the cognitive capacity to understand past his introductions, but the mere presence of such as scholar is enough to bring audiences from around the world, and we mean, AROUND the world.
Now that you know that this article is more credible than any other source in the world, let’s begin:
Before we ACTUALLY begin asking these existential questions, however, we must first make it evident that we are in no way claiming that our views are the only answer to these questions. It should be noted that existential questions, and those of a similar nature, are not asked for the purpose of being answered, but for the thought process involved in attempting to answer them. Because of this, we will discuss several possible sides of every question that we ask. Also, there are some questions such as “what is the meaning of life” which, while good questions, are quite subjective and do not involve much of a thought process and so we will not include. With that out of the way, let’s TRULY begin:
- “Who am I?” At first, this may seem like a simple question. You may say that you are a human, you may state your name, and you may state some other arbitrary fact about yourself. However, this approach grazes the surface of a question far deeper that few have narrowed down to a few possibilities.What we can do, however, is ask another question with a far more definitive set of answers. This question is whether or not you are the same person throughout your life. Your initial thought may be something to the effect of, “ Yes I have always been the same person.” My goal now is to attempt to make you see beyond the surface of this question and into the rabbit hole of existentialism. So, if you answered yes to the previous answer than I ask you, what makes you the same person? You are clearly never the same person physically as, regardless of your age, the cells in your body are constantly being created and will eventually die. You may say that you have always been the same through your mind which, at first, may make sense at first. However, your memories and thoughts are constantly being distorted and changed so you cannot possibly be the same person through the mind. This leaves us with two conceivable possibilities. First, you are never the same person as you were yesterday, nor from last week, nor from last year. While this may seem an unlikely answer, this response appears to make sense after further consideration. If you refuse to believe that this is the case and you insist that you have always been the same person, there is a possibility in which this holds true. In order for you truly to be tied through all of your existence, there must be something that passes beyond time, exiting at all times and the same throughout.
- “Is there a fundamental right and wrong?” Again, you may think that there is indeed a distinct right and a distinct wrong on a moral level, but consider this. For the purpose of argument, let’s say that some alien comes to the world from a planet far away called Tralfamador (We know this planet exists. We saw pictures of it on the internet). This alien has never been to Earth and attempts to steal food. After discovering this alien’s lack of ethics, you decide to return the food and enlighten this creature on the ways of society. To begin with, you try to explain to them that the person it stole from may not like having things taken from them. But the Alien doesn’t understand this concept. It doesn’t understand why this food belongs to one person and asks why this is the case. After thinking you may come to your own conclusion, but the only conclusion we have come to is that the ownership of the food was something assigned by society and nothing more. The Alien uses the lack of ownership as a justification for its actions. The creature explains that there was something available and it took the thing. While there are an infinite number of different scenarios wherein we can evaluate the moral righteousness of these things, for the sake of brevity we will give that example alone. But what can we draw from this? The main thing is that most “right” and “wrong” things are so because society says it is, and for little other reason.
- “Can air be frozen?” This is a question that has stumped humans from all the way back in ancient Greece, up till now, the twenty-first century. However, we believe that it is possible to answer it. First of all, we will need to define “air”. What is air? No doubt, if you went up to a random stranger and asked, “what is air?”, it is very probable that they will answer, “Oh, it’s just the empty space around us that doesn’t contain matter.” In fact, every part of this response is invalid. According to the online dictionary, air is defined as the invisible gaseous substance surrounding the earth, a mixture mainly of oxygen and nitrogen. For the sole purpose of answering our original question as succinctly as possible, we will accept this definition. So now we know what air is, a mixture of oxygen and nitrogen. Next, we will need to quickly go over the term “frozen”. Frozen, in short, is a state of matter, and is also known as “solid”. To go back to our question, “can air be frozen”, this is essentially asking, can there be a solid made out of oxygen and nitrogen? This is where it gets a bit precarious. Since oxygen and nitrogen are gases (also states of matter), if they are “turned” into a solid, they technically wouldn’t be “oxygen” and “nitrogen”. In conclusion, if air is frozen, it won’t be air anymore, so one could not call it “frozen air”, it would be called something else. However, our question isn’t asking “Does frozen air exist?”. It is asking “Can air be frozen?”. This can be interpreted in two ways; either “does a process in which air is frozen exist?”, or “can air be in the state of a solid?” We will proceed to answer the first interpretation before we answer the second. The first option is easy, the answer is, in fact, that there is a process in which air is frozen since everything has three states of matter. The second one is a little harder, because it is actually a paradox. If air is in the state of a solid, sure, it can be. It’s just that it wouldn’t be called “air” anymore. Hence, the second interpretation of “can air be frozen?” cannot be answered. In the end, it all matters on how one interprets the question “can air be frozen?”. To conclude, if you were someone who interpreted it the first way, you know the answer now. If you were unfortunately part of the group of people who interpreted the second way, we are sorry to inform you that the question has no real answer.