Everything IS Possible

David Cowles

Nov 4, 2021

Yesterday, my 8 year old grandson told me, quite authoritatively as usual, “Nothing is impossible, everything is possible.”

My first thought was, “Hmm, that doesn’t seem right.” But I should have known better; whenever I disagree about anything with any of my grandchildren, I am usually wrong.

In this case, I started coming up with examples of things that are impossible. For example, a circle that is also a square. But then I realized, it’s not that a ‘squared circle’ is impossible, it’s that it’s not a thing.

Despite riddles to the contrary, you cannot have something that is black and white at the same time. The meaning of the concepts themselves, the words ‘black and white’, preclude something that is both. (White is the sum of all colors; black is the absence of any color.)

On the other hand, a unicorn, even if does not actually exist, is certainly possible. There is nothing about the attributes of a unicorn that would make its existence an impossibility.

So, historically we’ve gotten this all wrong. Everything IS possible! But not every random combination of attributes constitutes a thing.

Yesterday, my 8 year old grandson told me, quite authoritatively as usual, “Nothing is impossible, everything is possible.”


My first thought was, “Hmm, that doesn’t seem right.” But I should have known better; whenever I disagree about anything with any of my grandchildren, I am usually wrong.


In this case, I started coming up with examples of things that are impossible. For example, a circle that is also a square. But then I realized, it’s not that a ‘squared circle’ is impossible, it’s that it’s not a thing.


Despite riddles to the contrary, you cannot have something that is black and white at the same time. The meaning of the concepts themselves, the words ‘black and white’, preclude something that is both. (White is the sum of all colors; black is the absence of any color.)


On the other hand, a unicorn, even if does not actually exist, is certainly possible. There is nothing about the attributes of a unicorn that would make its existence an impossibility.


So, historically we’ve gotten this all wrong. Everything IS possible! But not every random combination of attributes constitutes a thing.

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