TED Conversations

Cameron Robert

This conversation is closed.

A deceptively simple question: What is, was, and will always be impossible to occur?

I'm having difficulty answering this question with any certainty.

At first glance, most people would agree that some things are impossible.
But then have a difficult time giving an example.

The imagination allows us to think of something seemingly "impossible" and then in the next thought, to think of a way that it might be possible.

Is this a true reflection of reality?
Might nothing be impossible?

Impassable numbers such as the speed of light and absolute zero are not as absolute as they were once considered to be.


This type of thinking leads to the suggestion that all endeavors will eventually succeed and that any idea put forth at one point was, or will be valid.

Dare I say, might a god exist, just not yet?
Can any of this be true?


As a caveat, this question does not concern labels.
It is impossible for a triangle to have 4 sides, but it is possible for a triangle to be modified in such a way that it now possess 4 sides. The label of triangle is no longer appropriate, but it was never meant to be binding in the first place.

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Closing Statement from Cameron Robert

This conversation has come to an end and I thank everyone that took the time to participate.
We certainly did cover a lot of territory.

I think the take away message here is that nothing should be assumed.
At one time or another, we (all) assumed something that wasn't true.

In order to overcome this, we needed the help of another perspective.
Indeed, I started this conversation on TED to seek out this very thing.


Although I have not come across anything that I am convinced is impossible, another interesting question has arose.
As proposed by LaMar Alexander, it is impossible (for humans) to know what is impossible.

This may be true. But why might it be true?

Is it impossible because our minds are limited?
OR
Is it impossible because impossible doesn't exist?

Are we unable to find the destination or does the destination not exist?

Either way,
I think it is interesting to think about the limits of the human mind and how those limitations might be overcome.
And also to consider that minds greater than ours might exist, conceiving of what is just outside of our reach.


Until then, think about it.

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    May 18 2013: You gave the correct answer: Nothing is impossible, but I might add nothing is real.
    • May 18 2013: Now, that has got me thinking, Pat...
      What is 'real' to you?
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      May 19 2013: If nothing is real, then it is impossible for something to be real.
      Your logic is internally inconsistent and entirely unhelpful.
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        May 19 2013: Two different definitions of real.

        One is the reality of the universe. Most things that we interact with daily are real because someone created them. Which demonstrates anything is possible as long as people agree to it's reality.

        Second is the reality that would exist if the universe did not exist. In this sense there would be nothing left, in the frame of reference of the universe.

        What creates the creations? you might ask and that is what is real.
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          May 19 2013: Please continue this line of thinking in a different conversation.
          It does not apply here.
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          May 19 2013: For what it's worth Pat, I think it applies. I'm getting the idea that maybe our friend Cameron doesn't really want to have a conversation....or......he doesn't understand that people may have a different perspective? He already told me to "remove" myself from the conversation...LOL:>)
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        May 19 2013: Cameron

        Au contraire, I'm sure there are others who would like to look.
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        May 19 2013: Coleen

        I agree, Cameron should observe what ever he observes but is sorely mistaken if he thinks he is going to tell me, or you I suspect, what we see or what is real.

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