One of the premiere topics in Quantum Physics is the concept of state when something is under observation.
And one of the primary ways of expressing this is a thought experiment introduced by Erwin Schrödinger in 1935.
It’s a mean experiment in my opinion. And entails putting a cat in a box with a radioactive source and a poison that will be released when the source (unpredictably) emits radiation, the cat being considered (according to quantum mechanics) to be simultaneously both dead and alive until the box is opened and the cat observed.
Here’s another way to think about the experiment without conjuring up the ideas of gas chambers and German era Nazis.
An unreliable friend tells you he’s going to go to the movies with you. There’s an equal chance he’s going to show up, but there’s an equal chance he may be unable to show up. Rather than expect reliability, you’ve learned to enjoy his company, when it comes, and have gotten thick skinned and simply choose to enjoy the moments you have with him rather than take issue with his lack of reliability. The relationship’s changed you and helped you become more patient in general, and you have retained this unreliable man as a friend as a result.
Now you’ve just made plans with him to see something you’re BOTH looking forward to – the next installation in the Transformers movie series – and you’re eager to discuss your recent romantic interest because he of all people would understand why you’d do such as thing and not judge you for your choice to do this and remain married.
But you don’t want to get your hopes built up.
So is he going to show up or not?
That’s the Quantum Question. A rather dualistic approach.
But in truth, quantum is funkier than that. There’s something called pluralism.
Put specifically – From my friend – let’s call him Bill – from Bill’s observational perspective I may or may not show up. This is an exceedingly simplistic view, it’s either off or on, true or false, but it demonstrates the introduction to the true infinite potential of quantum realities through something called dualism.
Now to Bill – as an observer. I either do or do not show up.
This perspective – similar to the question ‘is it a wave or is it a particle’, similar to ‘is it right or wrong’, and similar to ‘is it good or is it bad’ – respects the dualistic nature of most binary minds.
But from my pluralistic perspective.
There’s an finite potential number of states ‘in between’, in a conceivably infinite universe of possibilities.
I COULD have showed up. I could – in a literal sense – be sitting there with Bill. Only he does not see me.
There are a finite potential ‘list of reasons’ Bill may not see me, for instance:
- Bill’s mind MAY have filtered me out – in an effort to gain independence for his own decisions his mind made a command decision to delete me ‘from the scene’. There’s a well documented phenomena where the mind fills in the gaps between events based on assumption and prior experience, so it’s safe to say there certainly exists the possibility it’s doing other things we’re not aware of.
- We could have gone to different theaters – even in the same complex, and even thorough checks and attempts at cell phone calls landed with us not finding eachother.
There’s also alternative possibilities, where our skewed and biased egocentric perspective could have actually made us overlook things, such as:
- Miscommunication which we do not even consider may be a regular part of our interactions where I could perceive him as the flaky and unreliable one
- We may interpret things differently in such weird and profoundly different ways which consistently make the other seem unpredictable from our particular vantage point.
Now I realize these seem like reasons and excuses. But they aren’t, and here’s why:
In the original thought experiment. Shrodinger’s cat is presumed to be in either one of two states. Dead or Alive.
But there’s a wide array of other states that cat could exist in, and then – there’s a MAJOR influencing factor in the state of that cat that the scientists didn’t seem to even consider in the original thought experiment which may actually be responsible for creating new states.
And that’s “What does that cat want?”
The scientist studying the cat may claim neutrality.
But there’s the simple belief that one of two states will be the result of the experiment.
This influences the observed outcome.
It reinforces dualism.
And acts as a perceptual filter to the plurality of real outcomes.
Put specifically – with this thought experiment – when you’re expecting one of two outcomes, you’ll receive one of two outcomes with mysterious hints of other outcomes.
When you expect one outcome, like Marketers do, you know you’ll get scientists who will be obligated to lose information which does not support the selected outcome.
This is modern science.
But when you focus on one outcome – expecting any outcome as a result.
What if the result of the thought experiments led to the cat being in both states at the same time?
Or what if the cat had mastered death and intelligence and had shifted the scientists into a simulation mere moments before they thought they were putting the cat in the box?
Or what if the scientists disagreed with eachother and each saw something different. One seeing a live cat and the other seeing a dead cat, and they started accusing eachother of being insane.