What happens if an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?

I first came across the question in Ian Banks’ Walking On Glass, which was also home to one of the best quotes to describe individuals with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Namely….erm, I can’t remember the exact phrasing,a nd I cant find it online. But it’s something like telling the reader that this paranoid character can only get safely past a stretch of path by avoiding the pavement between the cracks. Geddit? NOT the cracks in the pavement. I thought that was awesome!

Anyway, according to E2,


[in the Marvel Universe]

One point that has failed to emerge is where exactly we are going to acquire these unstoppable and immovable objects. Conventional physics seems to imply that all things are both moveable and stoppable. Perhaps a black hole is very nearly immovable, but there is an entirely different set of physics rules for them (or at least their event horizons, but this is not a discussion on black holes, at any rate). What would be ideal would be objects large enough to see, but not so huge that you cannot see them all at once from a short distance. To get to my point a little quicker, two individuals gifted with super powers concerning their inertia would be perfect.

Juggernaut, or as he is aptly called, The Unstoppable Juggernaut, cannot be hindered by any means. He can crash right through anything he chooses, be it vegetable, mineral, animal or anything else you care to throw in his way.

The Blob, aka The Immovable Blob, can prevent himself from being moved an inch by simply willing himself not to. He is also one of the few members of the Marvel universe who is male, yet has no bulging muscles. He’s a big fat guy, in short. But, we are shopping for immovable, not abdominals on which to grate cheese.

With these two we could test all our unstoppable versus immovable theories. Simply have Blob brace himself and have Juggernaut charge at him. I suspect that upon colliding, aside from most likely triggering the kind of quantum event that rips the universe into five or six newer and weirder ones, the Blob and Juggernaut would cancel each other out. And, since we are in the Marvel universe here, we would after a few panels of some very weird shit indeed, be witness to the birth of a brand new superhero…one that I like to think would be called Blubberjuggs. We can scarcely dare to imagine what his (or, hopefully, her) powers would be, but it is a safe bet that Blubberjuggs would be an entity that is constantly in motion, while at the same time not really going anywhere. Use your twisted imagination.

The only issue with using these super heroes to test the immovable versus unstoppable thingy is that they turn their abilities on or off by choice. They might simply think better of slamming into one another at the last second, and the Blob might allow himself to be moved, or Juggernaut might allow himself to stop. The best way to avoid this would be to get them really mad at one another, or better yet, to rip off Juggernaut’s helmet and have his psychically gifted brother Charles Xavier control both him and the Blob, and force them to crash into each other with powers in full effect.

A side note
I am informed that on one occasion, within the panels of a comic, this actually occurred, Juggernaut did indeed crash into the Blob, with both powers in full effect. Apparently the only end result was that a large chunk of pavement and ground, namely the chunk directly below the Blob, was uprooted. I choose to believe the Blubberjuggs version, personally, as it seems a lot more fun than merely ripping up the street a bit.


According to Isaac Asimov

A universe in which there exists such a thing as an irresistible force is, by definition, a universe which cannot also contain an immovable object. And a universe which contains an immovable object cannot, by definition, also contain an irresistible force. So the question is essentially meaningless: either the force is irresistible or the object is immovable, but not both.


Looking back a bit too philosophically…

The unstoppable force has never been challenged. It has no purpose, no reason for existence until it encounters the immovable object. The same is true of the immovable object. It has never been challenged or had a reason for existence until it encounters the unstoppable force.

Both the unstoppable force and the immovable object have a desire to be true to their nature. They do not know challenge, so they will by nature seek to fulfill their empty purposes. Yet, they will remain in balance, because otherwise neither will be able to fulfill their purpose. To be unstoppable. To be immovable.

From this initial struggle develops mutual respect and an attraction. They will seek to understand each other, at first under the guise of overcoming the other’s power. As that respect grows into understanding and eventually love, the natural desire will be to acquiesce to the other in order to demostrate the level of respect and admiration they have for each other and their purpose. Love, at its highest level, takes on the nature of sacrifice. Of giving everything one is capable of giving. The focus shifts from the lower, animal tendency to focus on one’s desires and ambitions to helping the other fulfill theirs.

Unless they remain in balance, one would by definition be destroyed by the “surrender” of the other. So, they must acqueisce at the same time. Because they are perfectly matched, the yin to the other’s yang, they would not allow the other to destroy itself, which would happen if one acquiesced before the other.

In order to give what is needed by the immovable object, the unstoppable force will come to rest. The immovable object would allow itself to be moved. In doing so simulataneously, the natures of the force and the object are changed, reflected by the needs of the other.

In allowing themselves to be changed by trusting and respecting each other, the unstoppable force and the immovable object will grow and become more than their original purpose granted. They come to realize that being unstoppable or immovable means nothing. They grow, evolve and become something greater than what they were by learning from and teaching each other.

Some people are unstoppable forces. They will keep going, unchecked and defying any and all who might try to stand in their way. Other people are immovable objects, refusing to change, refusing to grow, adapt or evolve. Sometimes they need to challenge each other, to learn respect and love for one another before they can become more than what they were. An unstoppable force has no real purpose outside of maintaining its perceived sense of power. An immovable object had the same problem.

If they do not allow the change, then they have only arrogance and ego to carry them. If that is all they have, then they are little more than the lifeless concepts you originally considered them to be.


LOL E2 is always a blast. More personal than Wikipedia and just as informative.

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