The way up and the way down are one and the same,” says the Sage.
Paradox has a way of plaguing thought. It illuminates the inconsistencies and inadequacies of the concepts with which we make sense out of our experience. It casts into doubt our framework of understanding as much as the understanding itself. Whatever tower of thought may be built in an attempt to see past its contradictions teeters and, with slight perturbation, collapses. However, it can also become a tool of epiphany, if only we wield it skillfully enough. The philosopher Heraclitus understood this, although his affinity for paradox earned him the epithet “the Obscure” from his peers.
Today, physicists must also embrace paradox in order to reach a deeper understanding of the nature of black holes.