I would do anything for love, but I won’t do set theory

Remember how this blog started to go downhill with stupid analyses of bullshit songs that got stuck in my head ? Well today let’s talk about a little success of american pop culture called “I would do anything for love”, by Meatloaf, most notably famous to be for having been featured in Scrubs s04e01. Here is the song:

but you don’t need to listen to it: the part that struck a chord with me is the refrain/title line that is sung in the show and marked part? of a generation in the US or not? idk:

And I will do anything for love, but I won’t do that…

And I kept going over and over it in my head, wondering what the hell did it mean?

I mean it HAS TO have some kind of deeper meaning reflecting a view of the world exposed by the composer right ? And the harder it is to understand the deeper the meaning probably is, reflecting pon the absolute truth of the world and stuff. I mean put on lyrics with no discernible meaning at this day and age in the music industry ? Who would do such a thing ?

but riddle me this. He would do ANYTHING. meaning any thing. Take a thing. Do you have it ? He would do it.

(impressive right it’s like magic only it’s just written text)

The question is: what’s left ?

My first guess is to take a bunch of things, but it can be considered as a group of things and this group is technically one thing (like a list of task, he could do the whole list). Even if you consider an infinite list of tasks. It is an infinite list of tasks, it’s a THING, meaning he would do it.

At this point i’m pretty impressed by his ability to do things and his writing skill. And this inductive reasoning brings to mind my favorite ever paradox about set theory that I want to mention here, and it’s called Russell’s paradox.

We’ve seen that set of things are still things. You can conceive of sets of sets, right ? (for instance think about the set of even numbers and the set of odd numbers, those are two sets, here you have a set of two sets).

What about the set called S containing all sets that do not contain themselves ?

– if S does not contain itself, it fits the definition in blue and therefore must be contained in S !

– if S contains itself, then it is an element of S thereby validates the condition in blue.

This set cannot contain itself, nor can it not not contain itself. Isn’t it like super rad ? It means that we’re fucked and math is wrong. Well almost. It means that not everything is a set, there are objects that can be described by rules that are not sets. We call that class.

Therefore, as a logician, the only possible conclusion is that the singer was not willing to do a class of things that is not a set. A possible example is the class of all sets, that is to say he won’t do all the possible list of tasks at once, which is fairly understandable.


But where a simple logician would sigh satisfied after destroying the known paradigm to smithereens and creating a new domain of mathematics to toy with, yours truly can’t help but wonder… Isn’t a class a thing too ? Wouldn’t that awesome dude do it for love too I mean if he can do all the lists of tasks he may as well do them all.

Then what’s left ?

Nothing ? But nothing is something since we can talk about it. I’m almost sure that this brave hero is willing to do nothing if needed.

And there philosophy brings us some light, for if nothing is something, is it really nothing? And there we come back to Lupasco’s “Included middle” theory which we mentioned when transcending the swag dialectic, which is here very fitting. Every concept is actually a mix of three entities, itself, its negation and a third inclusive meta-entity. Could this intangible encompassing entity be what the song referenced? Not nothing, not something, but the ever so hard to describe relationship between nothing and something? But if I just mentioned it, then is it not a thing that the singer could do ?

I have to admit that it feels like chasing a mirage here, every time coming up with an answer only to have it swallowed by the limitless ability of Meatloaf’s lead singer. At the heart of it all, what we’re looking for is a concept that cannot be conceived. And it’s a tough one. Descartes was a firm believer that there was such a thing. But we just gave a definition right here, allowing us to talk about it and thereby giving it at least some sort of existence, kind of a class-concept. I do not pretend to have a clear answer, and maybe there is no clear answer that anyone could bring. Maybe not even Meatloaf’s legendary allmighty singer. Maybe answering this existential philosophical debate is precisely the thing that he won’t do for love…

PS: do check out the Existential Comic about Riemann’s paradox

One thought on “I would do anything for love, but I won’t do set theory

  1. Pingback: [DT3] Self reverence | AMadManWithABlog

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