No meta wish for YOU!

Here’s a variation of a well-known story:

A man walks along a shore and finds a bottle. He opens it and out comes a strange being who says “Thank you ever so much, dear fisherman, for freeing me. I am a genie, and I’ve been locked up for centuries. As a sign of my gratitude, I offer you a wish. What would you like?”

“Thanks yourself,” says the man. “BTW, I’m not a fisher, but a professor of mathematical logic. And I’ve heard this story before. Some idiots ask for a million dollars or happiness or something similar. But I’ve dreamed of this moment for years and planned ahead. My wish is: I want you to grant me ten wishes.”

“Smartarse, eh?” says the genie. “We were warned about your kind in genie training. What you want isn’t a wish, but a ‘meta wish’, a wish about wishes. And that you can’t have. You must choose something material, like a ton of gold or a pink unicorn, or something immaterial, like intelligence or eternal life. If what you wish for doesn’t exist yet, I can create it for you. But meta wishes are out.”

“Okay,” replies the mathematician, “then I want ten bottles with genies like you inside.”

Comments are closed.