Acceleration Problem

Talking about perspectives, I always take on multiple ones, so you can consider me as sitting on the fence, omnipresent when looking at the same object/issue/idea/dispute or perhaps as being a perfect observer but it appears that I have met my match. While I must claim capability in applying scientific principles of balance in nature with that of humanly interaction and social sciences, or using economic principles to explain behaviours, much robbing much of psychologist’s rice bowl but this time, I must seriously admit defeat. My sister, when flipping through her Physics Tutorial, was asked the question:

Is it possible for the speed of a body to decrease while the [magnitude of] acceleration increasing simultaneously?

In retrospect, the words in the parenthesis makes all the difference about how the question should be answered but the issue here is that my sister told me the answer is a ‘yes’, which is really counter-intuitive. Then she explained that you can be slowing down in speed because you are accelerating in the opposite direction. That was total ownage. Never have I expected that sort of perspective. It’s like running 2.4km, slowing down and getting scolded by the coach for slowing down halfway – what do you reply? “I am so not slowing down, in fact, I am accelerating, just in the opposite direction.” Would you take that for an answer if you were the coach? Sometimes, in fact often, we rely on our intuition more than logic because logic is often undermined by a play of words, setting certain premises down to misled people. In fact, some weird people actually dare to attempt to undermine my arguing ability by providing the following ‘riddle’:


Apparently, the words in parenthesis in the question reflects the actual question and despite the difference in pronunciation, it is too slight for us to detect naturally without close inspection. This would thus suggest that the question is out to trick people to give some really complicated answer when you could have just said ‘It’s Ginseng’. But yet that would not constitute an answer because of the premise being set down – that the question is supposed to be philosophical. As such, the answerer commits no mistake in producing any answer or even babbling constitutes an answer because the question itself is flawed – the answer that is expected of the question do not satisfy the premise that has been set down.

Going back to the physics question earlier, the answer is indeed ‘yes’ if we simply consider the ‘magnitude’ of acceleration because taking on ‘magnitude’ would mean a total disregard of the sign. This being true, we can say we are accelerating rapidly in magnitude if we go to a stop from a sprint. There’s absolutely nothing wrong logically with this statement, but it irritates people. And more importantly, it irritates people more than the Monty Hall Problem. Probability is a wonder, it never becomes truly integrated into our intuition because it doesn’t satisfy our day-to-day experience and the transfer of information makes the law of large number valid but makes large numbers seem small anyways. Therefore, the Monty Hall Problem would be one that confuses naturally, and is inherently, indisputably counter-intuitive. But this, is different, it is difficult to take on a perspective not expressed in the ordinary terms – though there’s often times when you have to accept extremist perspectives, they are not as disturbing as the one raised because this acceleration problem gives rise to other connotations of laziness and so on. It is hard for us to accept such a logical argument.

That being said, we do not rely on logic, and reason is just something that managed to become housed in our intuition enough for it to play out fully in the world. Reason, as far as we know, in the context of human being, is never consistent and I believe I have mentioned in previous articles/writings that double standards is a result of the idea appealing to the different sides (emotional or intuitive reason) of our brains. Logic is not relevant when it cannot be linked to our daily experience and applied to our lives. The scientific rhetoric, or to put it nicely, philosophy of exploration of natural inquiry, should cease to generate arguments of nature so abstract and devoid of reality.


  1. Well, the physics problem is not really counter intuitive if you remember that acceleration and velocity are vectors and speed is just scalar.

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