Beach Day by Rodger Bliss
May 2024
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I Am, Yet I Am Not

NEWTON
There is a story that a man and not a man
Saw and did not see a bird and not a bird
Perched on a branch and not a branch
And hit him and did not hit him with a rock and not a rock.

How is this possible?

Thank you Luca for your submission.
Plato wrote this ancient riddle.

Submit your Guess

 

 

 

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12 guesses to I Am, Yet I Am Not


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  • Sampreet

    Man sees and hits a bird on a branch. The bird does not see anything.

  • Crabman

    Our species is often referred to as “man kind”, so maybe a women is a man who’s not a man. Or a boy? Or a transsexual.

    Saw but did not see. To me this means “thought he saw”. I hear people say they saw something all the time but we wrong.

    A bird that’s not a bird… a “flying” lizard? A squirrel? What animal that’s not a bird most resembles one?

    A branch that’s not a branch. Something artificial? A metal rod that got stuck in a tree?

    Hit him, but did not hit him. Hit fruit that fell and his the bird-like-creature

    Rock, but not a rock… petrified wood?

    So.. a woman (or boy) threw a piece of petrified wood at what they thought was a bird (but was actually something resembling a bird) perched an something (not a beach) stuck in a tree, hit an apple that fell and hit the animal.

    My brain hurts…

  • craig

    I had a dream once. When I woke up none of it was real either.

  • No one has figured this one out yet.
    Keep trying!

  • Tiguan

    I’m reminded of Plato’s theory of forms where anything is as such because it partakes in being of a certain form. For example, say I had a blue ball. I would see it as blue because it takes part in ‘blueness’ or representing the Form ‘Blue’. The same can be said about the ball representing the Form of ‘Ball’ or ‘Ballness’.

    Back to the riddle. A man is as such because he takes part in representing the Form ‘Man’. The bird participates the Form ‘Bird’ and the same can be said for the branch and rock.

    Back to the blue ball. The ball is blue only because of what humans associate to be blue. It’s very easy for the hue to be called something else. For example, what if the name green were associated with the color of blue? It’s entirely possible for this to happen, or have happened when creating these associations. These Forms of which Plato spoke are not fixed and can be subject to change. Therefore, the name something is given could easily be changed or have been something else entirely.

    What happened to the supposed man and the supposed bird, though the action may have been carried out, could have been a completely different story.

    What do you think, Dude?

  • Sorry, Plato was being literal in his round about way of describing things. I will reveal the first line to help you get started.
    There is a story that a man and not a man: a eunuch…
    Keep trying!

  • Jess

    So a eunuch who couldn’t see very well. Could the bird but not a bird be a bat? It flies but it is not a bird.

  • Yes, yes, and yes. You are on the right track, just the second half of the riddle to go.
    Keep trying!

  • Tiguan

    Could the rock be a diamond?

  • Tiguan, this riddle was written by Plato. Throwing diamonds at bats is not what he had in mind.
    Keep trying!

  • Angela

    The answer would be: A eunuch glimpsed a bat on a reed and hit it with a piece of pumice.

  • Angela, you are close enough to be today’s winner. The answer Plato gave is:
    An eunuch who did not see well saw a bat perched on a reed and threw a pumice stone at him which missed.