8 April 2015

Buridan's Donkey

One of the podcasts that I follow regularly introduced me to the following paradox:

Buridan’s donkey is standing halfway between a pile of hay and a bucket of water. It keeps looking left and right, trying to decide between hay and water. Unable to decide, it eventually falls over and dies of hunger and thirst.

If he only could, the animal would realise he could first drink the water, then go eat the hay. But, in this scenario, he can't. He simply can't decide. And that is his downfall.

So, what's stopping me from doing anything that I want to do?
  • Even if it’s humbling? 
  • Even if there’s a steep learning curve? 
  • Even if there is no guarantee of success? 
  • Even if I'm afraid? 
  • Even if the steps seem insignificant? 
  • Even if I have to give it all up, and place my future in God's hands?
Perhaps I just need to make a choice.

(The donkey in question is named after a 14th century French philosopher and cleric called Jean Buridan. In reality, the paradox predates Buridan, and it probably came from Aristotle. But such is fame.)

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