Tag Archives: Georg Cantor

Can something be absolutely true and absolutely false at the same time? Parallel lines and rape are two examples of the Continuum Hypothesis in real life.

15 Jul

Following this quick introduction, I am going to reprint a post from M3, but first I want to explore the idea that we are never going to come to any agreement, culturally, about what rape actually IS.  All we can agree on is WHOSE version of the truth will be privileged, and that requires us to examine what the consequences are, and who is in the best position to deal with those.

The Continuum Hypothesis in mathematics can be boiled down to essentially this:  a mathematical axiom can be absolutely true in one situation, and absolutely false in another.  It’s a bit more complicated than that in strictly mathematical terms, having to do with creating sets of real and natural numbers that are not necessarily correspondent with either natural or real numbers and it’s sufficiently complicated that it drove mathematician Georg Cantor crazy.

No, really.  He died in a sanatorium, unable to resolve the conundrum he created.

Georg Cantor


Here is a really quick and dirty demonstration of how the Continuum Hypothesis works in real life.  In Grade three you learn some very simple Euclidian geometry:

1. All the angles in a triangle add up to 180°

2.  Parallel lines never meet


Easy, peasy, right?


Get in sailboat and sail in a nice big triangle around the Pacific Ocean (or any ocean you like).

Oh dear.  Looks like all the angles in a triangle can easily add up to >180°.  And ALL of them can be right triangles, too.

right angles

Take one run completely around the globe, and have your friends take a parallel course, and you will cross paths.  The distance around the globe is finite, but the lines never end.


Everything you learned in Grade Three is true, as long as you are working on a plane.  Curve the space, and everything is false.


Mathematical axioms can easily be BOTH true and false at the same time, which is way of saying NEITHER true nor false.


And honestly, I think that’s where we are at with rape culture.  I sincerely believe that most women who claim they were raped TRULY believe they were.  They are operating in Euclidian space.  Of course, there are point blank liars and false accusers, and the number of those may actually be pretty high.


But the rest of the ladies, the so-called “one in four” really, truly, deeply believe they were raped.  And as long as we use their definition of rape, they were.

But an alternate definition is available, and I think it’s one that most men use: every adult human is responsible for their own decisions, no matter how drunk or impaired they are (either by intoxicants or socialization or fear or resignation).  Men are operating in non-Euclidian space.

And if we use that definition, then virtually none of the sexual encounters women describe as rape qualify as actual rape.

If we assume that the spaces we operate in are vastly, completely different, then both definitions of rape are TRUE, and both are FALSE at the same time.  That leaves us only to consider consequences.

Who pays in terms of real, measurable, economic and social loss?  Cupcake who thinks she was raped has some therapy bills to ruck up for, but the accused risks his entire life.  He can be jailed.  His life can be utterly destroyed. He can be barred from certain occupations for life. Even an allegation later proven to be completely false can have ruinous consequences.


Women demand the right to have their definition, and only their definition of space apply.

It’s like setting sail across the ocean believing plane geometry to be the only truth.  When those parallel lines cross (and they WILL cross), you better hope it’s not a Supertanker you erroneously believed would never cross your path.


Following this post is M3, writing in depth about how our perceptions of rape, hinging on agency and responsibility, are just so different.

Different spaces, indeed.

Lots of love,


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