A paradox is a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth. That is an interesting definition taken from Webster's. It doesn't say a paradox is true, but could possibly be true. For the purposes of this blog, I would argue they are true. Of course it may be wise to say they are seemingly true because that way I have a way out if you disagree with me.
By that definition, I would say the example I used in my last post is aptly described as a paradox. At first glance, it would appear contradictory that we both want to be insignificant and have a desire for meaning. The two desires would seem at odds with one another and yet I believe they exist in all of us. Paradoxes help us maintain a clear view of the truth because the truth is rich and deep. Paradoxes help us to see the reality of "both/and." Many times we want to reduce the truth to" either/or", in so doing we cut ourselves from the full truth. Let me explain. In Christian orthodox thought we say that Jesus is both God and man. He is not God or man. He is both. The hypostatic union (the union of Christ's humanity and divinity) seems contradictory, but is nevertheless true.
As I write this, I worry that it may sound that I am arguing that everything can be true, as if there is no difference between religions or ideas – as if you can be both a Buddhist and a Christian. I worry about the charge of being a Unitarian Universalist, which is not what I am arguing at all. As this fear enters my mind, I discover another paradox, about truth itself: truth is both broad enough to include the "both/and" as well as narrow and specific. Let me again use Jesus as an example. Jesus is both God and man which illustrates the broadness of truth that it can encompass seemingly contradictory or opposed propositions. On the other hand, Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. There is no other name by which we can be saved and have eternal life.
Paradoxes seem to be all around as I explore this topic. I am looking forward to going deeper and deeper into understanding this topic.