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RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Is it... "irresistible" force, or "unstoppable" force?

Asked by RealEyesRealizeRealLies (30943points) August 10th, 2017

Ultra-Sphix tells Superman, irresistible force.

But Joker tells Batman unstoppable force

No sorry I don’t equate the terms as synonymous.

And neither does Thesaurus dot com synonym for unstoppable or synonym for irresistible. Neither are found synonymous with the other.

Anyone know the original usage?

How did it morph from one to the other?

Which term do you use?

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7 Answers

PullMyFinger's avatar

The “Irresistible Force Paradox” (aka “The Unstoppable Force” Paradox) is…

“When an unstoppable force meets an immovable object”. I think it was originated by the Chinese (maybe a thousand years ago), and ponders the question…...

Well….I’m not sure what the hell it ponders…....

zenvelo's avatar

I always had it worded as “an irresistible force meets an unloveable object”. Sort of “the biggest magnet of all time” pulling on a mountain of iron.

Pinguidchance's avatar

An example of this paradox in non-western thought can be found in the origin of the Chinese word for contradiction (Chinese: 矛盾; pinyin: máodùn; literally: “spear-shield”). This term originates from a story in the 3rd century BC philosophical book Han Feizi. In the story, a man was trying to sell a spear and a shield. When asked how good his spear was, he said that his spear could pierce any shield. Then, when asked how good his shield was, he said that it could defend from all spear attacks. Then one person asked him what would happen if he were to take his spear to strike his shield; the seller could not answer. This led to the idiom of “zìxīang máodùn” (自相矛盾), or “self-contradictory”.

Another ancient and mythological example illustrating this theme can be found in the story of the Teumessian fox, who can never be caught, and the hound Laelaps, who never misses what it hunts. Realizing the paradox, Zeus turns both creatures into static stars.

PullMyFinger's avatar

Good job, @Pinguidchance

Thank you…..

Pinguidchance's avatar

You’re pulling my leg.

Rarebear's avatar

Hey CT! Good to see you. I’m going to go with irresistible.

funkdaddy's avatar

If they’re not synonyms, then aren’t they used for different things?

An irresistible force draws toward it, so that could encompass a lot of things not generally considered forces, like charm. The sirens present an irresistible force.

An unstoppable force is implied to be moving itself. A train, an army, or a wave could all be unstoppable.

The Sirens are not unstoppable and the train is not irresistable.

So I think they’d be used for different things, or at least carry different connotations, rather than one being a substitute for the other.

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