Paradox

Hands

Building and defending wealth requires critical thinking – clear, reasoned judgment and decision making. Thinking about logical paradoxes is a way to sharpen the mind. Paradox is all around us even in estate planning law.  It’s fun and mentally challenging to ponder paradox and logic.  It’s also the key to understanding the true nature of the human mind and physical reality.

 

The Illinois Estate Tax is a “soak up” tax – meaning it’s calculated based on what the Federal Estate Tax allows as the maximum deduction for state death tax. But you cannot calculate the Federal Estate Tax without knowing what the Illinois Estate Tax is (because that’s a deduction used to calculate the Federal Estate Tax).  So, you have to perform a circular calculation using trial and error iteration (the Illinois Attorney General has an “estate tax calculator” on its web site for this purpose).

 

The Paradox of the Court is based on an old Greek logical paradox. A law student agrees he will pay his teacher after he wins his first case.  The teacher then sues the student (who has not yet won a case) for payment.  Who wins?  Does the student pay?

 

This Statement is False. It that last sentence true or false?  Remember Zeno’s Parodox?  If you shoot an arrow at a target it will travel ½ the distance at some point in time and then ½ of that at another point in time, and then another ½ the distance, etc.  So the arrow never hits the target.  And would a list of all lists that do not contain themselves include itself?  (Russell’s Paradox)

 

Bottom line – paradox is awesome!   Paradox creates consciousness.  The mind is a self- referential loop.  To probe deeper into that notion, read the 1979 Pulitzer Prize winning book by Douglas Hofstadter Godel, Escher and Bach or “GEB”.  It explains how a system (through self-reference) can acquire meaning despite being made of meaningless elements.   By exploring the paradoxes of (1) Godel’s Incompleteness Theorems in math; (2) Escher’s drawings in the art (those hands drawing each other are Escher’s); and (3) Bach’s recursive music; Hofstadter takes you on an intellectual roller coaster ride.  His 2007 follow up book I Am A Strange Loop is also really good.

 

Acquiring wealth and securing it with estate and financial planning will give you plenty of time and personal security to pursue interests and passions beyond just making a living. Worrying about the future takes away the ability to enjoy music, art and to expand the mind.  Exploring and penetrating mentally challenging, cross disciplinary human knowledge takes time and mental energy.  Both of these are secured by your Estate Planning War Chest.

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