# Puzzles & Games The Imp in the Bottle

Discussion in 'Puzzles & Games' started by helenheaven, Oct 17, 2004.

The paradox of the Imp in the Bottle

Would you pay \$100.00 for a magic bottle that would grant your every wish except prolonged life? All the wealth you could dream of, fame, and beauty could all be yours. Would you pay if you knew that you must sell the bottle for less than you paid or you would be damned for all eternity? This is a paradox from the story The Bottle Imp by Robert Louis Stevenson.

What paradox? Well consider that no one would buy the bottle for one cent since they could not sell it for less. Certainly no one would pay two cents because they would have to sell it for one cent and we already see that no one would buy it for one cent, so they would not buy it for two cents. By the same argument the price is raised to any king's ransom, and yet, at some high price, wouldn't you buy it?

This type of paradox where the result of many little logical truths are contradictory to their chained consequence is often called a heap paradox or a sorities paradox from the Greek word for a heap or pile. The paradox is similar to the following idea: one grain of rice is not a pile, two grains of rice is not a pile, but eventually if we keep adding a single grian, we get a pile, yet it seems impossible to define WHEN it became a pile.

A paradox is something that seems to go against logic or thought. The word paradox is from the Greek paradoxon joining the roots para for beyond with doxa for belief or opinion. The latter root remain in words like orthodox, decent, and decorous

According to a Chronology of Recreational Mathematics by David Singmaster, the first examples of Paradoxes appeared around 330 BC in the writing of Eubulides. Earlier examples include the liars paradox created by Epimenides in the 6th century BC.

In spite of their long history, the use of the term paradox for such logical contradictions seems to have been created only in the 20th century by Bertrand Russel.

Well, if you bought it for one cent, then you could give it away to someone. Then they could give one cent to the person "buying" it from them, and so on, charging a negative amount.

what do you think?

---pineapple

3. ### MevansNew Member

I like that thought experiment!

Paradoxes like that are around us in everyday life more than we know.....especially in mathematical fields.

Anyhow......what if.....you financed.....and just never payed! Ugh....

4. ### SUREAL NIGHTMARESMember

WELL I GUESS THAT IMP BOTTLE IS VERY IMP ORTANT, LOL

5. ### FitzpatrickMember

Choose to be dammed or dont use the bottle

6. ### jake1209New Member

i agree with pineapple on this one

7. ### bodeblissThe Zoc-La of Kromm-BPremium Member

Well if you like Paradox here's one:

A baby girl is mysteriously dropped off at an orphanage in Cleveland in 1945. "Jane" (the name given to her by the orphanage.) grows up lonely and dejected, not knowing who her parents are, until one day in 1963 she is strangely attracted to a drifter. She falls in love with him. But just when things are finally looking up for Jane, a serious of disasters occur. First she becomes pregnant by the drifter, who then dissapears. Second, during the complicated delivery, doctors find that Jane has both sets of sex organs, and to save her life they are forced to surgically convert "her" to a "him." Finally a mysterious stranger kidnaps her baby from the delivery room.
Reeling from these disasters, rejected by society, scorned by fate,:he" becomes a drunkerd and drifter. Not only has lost her parents and her lover, but has also lost his only child as well.Years later in 1970, he stumbles into a lonely bar, called Pops Place , and spills out his life story to the elderly bartender. The sympathetic bartender offers the drifter the chance to avenge the stranger who left her pregnant and abandoned, on the condition that he join the "Time Travel Core" . Both of them enter a time machine, and the bartender drops him off in 1963. The drifter is strangely attracted to a young orphan girl, whom subseqeuntly becomes pregnant.
The bartender than goes formard 9 months, kidnaps the baby girl from the hospital, and drops the baby off at an orphanage in 1945. Then the bartender drops off the thoroughly confused drifterin 1985, to enlist in the Time Travel Core. The drifter eventually gets his life together, becomes a respected and elderly member of the TTC , and then disguises himself as a bartender and has his most difficult mission: A date with destiny, meeting a certain drifter at Pop's Place in 1970.

Conseqeuntly if you drew Jane's family tree, all the branches would curl in on themselves, Which shows that Jane is in fact her own Father, Mother and child.

Sorta confusing is'nt it, also do you think this would be considered incest?

From a post on a thread by iori_komei

8. ### jake1209New Member

haha, that's an interesting story. i would consider that incest but i mean, i don't know how i would fall in love with myself in the "female" form...that would be like falling in love with my sister. <shivers>

9. ### painkillerNew Member

you could always change currency, then start trading in stones, eventually dust, then cells, then atoms, then your soul muahahahaha :D