From Latin impossibilis, impossible it is what is not possible or what happens very difficult to fulfill. To understand the notion of impossible, it is essential to know the definition of possible.
The possible is what can be, happen or exist. The concept is associated with real or what plausible: it is possible that a dog barks at night or that tomorrow it will rain on a Caribbean island. The impossible, instead, has no chance of coming to fruition Or, at least, it is more than difficult. Thus it can be said that it is impossible for a cat to bark or for it to snow tomorrow on a Caribbean island.
That which is impossible can change with the weather. In prehistory, it was impossible to think of a human being flying, something that became possible after the invention of the airplane. Today it is impossible to think that people can travel in time but, perhaps, in the future such action will be achieved through some technological innovation.
Sometimes the impossible is associated with known conditions or at existing evidence. Thus some may affirm that it is impossible for the Yeti to exist although, in reality, for others it could be the possibility that such a creature inhabits lands unexplored by the man. In this way there is an opposition between the impossible (there is no possibility that the Yeti exists) and the possible (there are minimal probabilities that said being lives on Earth and has not yet been found).
In colloquial language, the adjective impossible is used to name something difficult to do: “Cristiano Ronaldo scored an impossible goal by avoiding five rivals and kicking at goal from a very uncomfortable position”, “The Canadian runner won an impossible race: he started in the last position and managed to beat a competitor every two laps “.
The terms impossible and improbable are often confused, as are their opposites, possible and probability. However, if we refer to the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy, their meanings are sufficiently different: impossible is a situation that has no power or means to succeed or become; improbable, on the other hand, is an implausible thing that has no basis in prudent reason.
In other words, something unlikely can happen, even though a analysis rational cannot guarantee it or points out that we should not wait for it to happen. This concept can be applied to various cases, from sports matches to the sale of a property, through job searches: “My favorite team is unlikely to win, but I don’t lose hope”, “Given the economic situation, it is unlikely that this house will be sold”, “With this curriculum it is very unlikely that they will give me the position”.
For the situations just outlined to be considered impossible, there should be factors force majeure that prevented its success by all means: that the team was prohibited from playing, that the house was in ruins because of an earthquake and that the person applying for the job has a considerable criminal history and knows that the company will find this information before making its decision.
As mentioned in previous paragraphs, the limits of the possible and, therefore, of the impossible are often given by historical and culture, for which they are not considered rigid. Just as the technological advances of the last three decades have given us communication devices and networks that seemed impossible half a century ago, also at the ideological and cultural level, changes have been achieved that many believed were unattainable, although in these cases growth is much slower .