Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Zeno Says You'll Never Finish Reading This Post

You remember Zeno's Paradox, of course. That ancient Greek philosopher said that in order to cross a certain distance, you first had to cross half of it. Then you had to cross  half of the remaining distance; then half of what was still left. The half would get shorter and shorter, but you'd always have half the remaining distance to cross, so that you would never arrive at the goal.

I propose a Zeno's paradox of reading. Whether you are reading a book, a magazine, or a blog post. you must begin by reading half of it. Then you would need to read half of what remains. Then half of that. See? You'll always have half of the remaining writing to read.  So you'll never finish reading what you set out to read.

You're thinking that this entry was suggested by an interminable book that I indeed could never finish. Wrong. Or by one of those books about which we say, "That book would have made a great article." (Many articles' worth of content get hammered out into a book simply to increase the prestige of the author and the marketability of the content--notice that you don't individual articles for sale in article stores.)

The Prestige Pecking Order for Information Sources is:
1. Hardcover book, preferably with sewn binding.
2. Trade paperback book
3. Mass market paperback book
4. Published article in physical print media
5. Online article

Yes, there is still a bias against online articles. Too bad. But then you will never be reading the end of this sentence. Zeno said so.