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Impossible things before breakfast

23
May
2014
 

By Miranda

One of the most amazing things about the human brain is its capacity to hold opposing or conflicting ideas at the same time.

It's what allows us to purchase an article which may, in itself, be attractive, but which we know is unsuitable (yes, I knew I could never actually wear that dress, yet I bought it and still it lurks in the wardrobe).

Or, as sociologists are keenly observing at the moment, it might allow us say something on Facebook which our normal good manners would never permit us to say to someone's real-life face.

At its best, however, it leads to some of the most glorious moments in poetry and literature, when the writer's twist of context suddenly displays an opposition of which we were quite unaware.

And it's clear in our everyday language.

Proverbs condense the experience of our cultures yet it's possible to have the advice 'Look before you leap' co-existing with 'He who hesitates is lost' - you really have to opt for one or the other. The trick our clever brains apply is to work out which bit of advice is suitable for which situation.

I'm particularly fond of a 'helping hand' being the same as a 'leg-up', the instruction to 'Watch out!' usually corresponding to a warning of 'Heads down!', and that you can win 'hands down' but you can't lose 'hands up!'.

We were looking at the clues for the word CLONE recently. I was delighted to find that the clone, replica, duplicate or lookalike or could also be, maybe in imitation of the state of Schrödinger's cat, simultaneously a dead ringer or the living image...

3061 Responses to

Impossible things before breakfast

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jafa said:
June 20, 2014 at 10:21 AM

Do you work for JetPets Bell? They usually deliver my pets :))