An interview with Professor Frank Backus, the Paradox King from the novel Paradox Lost Books I and II written by Daniel L. Lowery who also authored this interview.
1. HarryBalls.com: In the story Paradox Lost, Professor Frank Backus teaches classes on the Philosophy of Language and Basic Philosophy. Professor Backus what subjects do you cover in your lessons?
Frank Backus: Well, Greenleaf University is a fundamentalist Christian school, so many of the students are unfamiliar with the subjects I cover, such as oxymorons.
2. HarryBalls.com: Oxymorons? Could you explain them to us?
Frank Backus: Well, don’t feel bad if you don’t know what an oxymoron is. Half my class thought it meant really stupid people. Actually, oxymorons are words that contradict each other such as Same Difference, Turning Up the Silence and a Well Known Secret.
3. HarryBalls.com: Could you explain the oxymorons you just mentioned to us?
Frank Backus: OK sure, “Same Difference”—suppose I owed you $10. I could pay you back with a $10 bill, two $5 bills or ten $1 bills. So Same Difference, right? As to “Turning Up the Silence”—suppose you didn’t like someone, so you gave them the silent treatment i.e. never talking to them, but then you took it a step further. You tell others not to talk to them as well. That’s Turning Up the Silence. Now as to a Well Known Secret—this would be something that is formally a secret, but in reality everyone already knows about it such as a presidential candidate who hires a campaign manager, staff and files all the right paperwork, but still insists he or she is not a candidate.
4. HarryBalls.com: So the words in certain terms can actually contradict each other and still be true?
Frank Backus: That’s right. I like to think of oxymorons as just smaller paradoxes.
5. HarryBalls.com: Speaking of Paradoxes, you are known as the Paradox King in Paradox Lost. How did you earn that nickname?
Frank Backus: Well, some of the students at Greenleaf don’t want to be there. They are known as Not Wannabes. Their parents, poor grades or economic factors force them to go to Greenleaf. When they hear my lectures on paradoxes, they like how it contradicts some of the indoctrination they’ve had about creation, Noah’s Ark, the Tower of Babel and so forth. So, these students affectionately refer to me as the Paradox King.
6. HarryBalls.com: Could you share some paradoxes with us?
Frank Backus: Certainly,the first one I like is “At least hypocrites have the right idea.”
7. HarryBalls.com: Now what does that mean and why is it a paradox?
Frank Backus: Well, hypocrites are frowned upon by society, but you have concede that sometimes their ideas are correct. We might dislike someone who tells us not eat too many sweets especially after we find out they indulge their sweet tooth whenever they desire, but they are initially correct to tell to others not to eat too many sweets.
8. HarryBalls.com: Ah, I see…do you have another one?
Frank Backus: Another one I like is, “Teaching is a great learning experience.” As a teacher I can vouch for the truth of this paradox. While teachers instruct students they also learn a lot from the students. So you see, teaching is a great learning experience.
9. HarryBalls.com: I suppose this is true. You might say teaching is a great way to educate yourself.
Frank Backus: Yes, that’s right. Now you’re getting the hang of it.
10. HarryBalls.com: Do you have any more paradoxes, Professor Backus?
Frank Backus: Dozens: “Steal $25 go to jail, steal $25 trillion they put you in charge of the treasury; Superficiality is very profound; Expect disappointment and you are rarely disappointed; Expect satisfaction and you are rarely satisfied; I don’t enjoy enjoying myself; My pet peeve are people with pet peeves; I had a déjà vu experience in the middle of a déjà vu experience; My teacher told me my paper on cliches was in itself cliché; Being interesting requires a lot of reading, studying and researching, so you have to be very dull to be very interesting; If guns don’t kill people; people do, then nuclear weapons don’t kill people; people do.” Had enough?
11. HarryBalls.com: That’s quite a lot to think about. I’ll let our readers try to decipher those paradoxes. The point I want to end is while paradoxes contradict themselves they also can be true.
Frank Backus: Yes, that’s what makes them so fascinating.
12. HarryBalls.com: Thank you for your time Professor Backus.
Frank Backus: My pleasure.
Daniel L Lowery wrote this interview as well as the novels Paradox Lost: A Divine Comedy Books I and II. You can download Book I for free and Book II for $0.99 from the Smashwords web site. Daniel L. Lowery uses the power of myth to destroy the myth of creationism. He evokes such literary masterpieces as Paradise Lost, The Divine Comedy, Faust and more to expose the false idols of Creationism and Intelligent Design.