Two men went to a priest to resolve a dispute.
Having listened to the first, the priest said, “You are right.” When the second man insisted on being heard, the priest listened to him and said, “You’re also right.”
The priest’s wife was overhearing the conversation from the next room. She called out, “But they can’t both be right!” The priest paused for a moment, reflected on what the wife said and then concluded, “And you’re right too.”
How wonderful that we’ve met with a paradox, observed Great Danish physicist Niels Bohr, “Now we have a hope of making some progress.” Bohr wasn’t the only one who thrived on contradictions. It’s said that Einstein discovered relativity by way of resolving an apparent conflict between electromagnetism and mechanics.
A physicist is only too happy, writes Carlo Rovelli in his book Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, “when he finds a conflict of between successful theories: it’s an extraordinary opportunity.”