Solely In Black and White: Schrodinger's Cat

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Schrodinger's Cat

Have you ever pondered Schrodinger's paradox? It’s basically a paradox which describes an unknown situation and brilliantly and simplistically defines it as: until we look at the actual outcome, both outcomes have occurred simultaneously. This ingenious paradox is one of the primary building blocks of quantum mechanics. Although this is not my favorite experiment produced by science, it is fascinating in its complexity yet simplicity. But what fascinates me most about the premise of Schrodinger’s paradox is its application to life. Quite possibly, if unchecked, our existence would be in a state of constant imbalance of an unknown, either content or discontent, wherein we are living in two parallel yet simultaneous dimensions. It is by choosing to see that we are happy with our lives that we actually see one side of the paradox and thus complete the observation revealing that the premonition was right. However, if the observer in the paradox looked inside the box only to find that the cat had actually died and his/her premonition was wrong, he/she lost nothing by assuming that it had lived, provided that the (what turned out to be false) hope didn’t cause the observer to become dejected.

On the other hand, viewing the paradox from a pessimistic point of view would set in motion the alternate parallel dimension to which the observation would only serve to validate the original disposition. But what were to happen if the cat was still alive; the sorrow would have been for naught. 

Alternatively, this could be applied to dating and engagements too. When one begins dating someone, the outcome of their dating can be either one of two possibilities, both of which are unknowns. Thereto, at any given moment the couple involved are both engaged and not engaged without any conscious effort due to the fact that until we know the outcome with certainty, at any moment, either outcome can occur (sans for “one and dones” and scenarios as such). This paradox can also be used explains what an "unofficial engagement" is. Basically, because the outcome has occurred, yet it is unchecked, we do not know what the ultimate outcome will be, but we hope for it to occur. Other than waxing philosophically, what exactly am I getting at?

Basically, we can determine the outcome of our lives based on our perception of occurrences which have yet to transpire exclusively based on our outlook. Therefore, we can determine our happiness and well-being by merely altering our perception and attitude. Furthermore, our perceptions and attitudes don’t just affect one moment in time; they transcend throughout a larger timeframe and affect many aspects of our being. And when they say happiness is infectious…. They really mean it! (And vice-versa of course.)

Just some (cat) food for thought…. :-p 


  1. Amen to that! :-) (i love how you use Schrodinger's paradox to explain the relationshiip between attitude and hapiness) I have a great shiur about that...(not about Schrodinger's cat...about hapiness and attitude...)

  2. So basically what you're saying is that until something has actually occurred, it would be wise to assume and hope that the outcome of the process will be positive. There's no gain in worrying about a negative outcome when there just as well may be a positive outcome.

    Whilst I agree with that wholeheartedly, I disagree that we can actually determine the outcome, because once it has occurred, that is the reality and unfortunately, I don't believe that perception changes that. However, choosing a positive attitude regardless, is in our power.

  3. "However, if the observer in the paradox looked inside the box only to find that the cat had actually died and his/her premonition was wrong, he/she lost nothing by assuming that it had lived, provided that the (what turned out to be false) hope didn’t cause the observer to become dejected."

    The end is a pretty big IF. In terms of dating, how could anyone hope/believe they're engaged and not become dejected when they find out they were wrong?

    I agree with the point of your last paragraph, perception and outlook does determine the outcome of our lives in some ways. However, walking down the street with a smile doesn't help a bit, if lightning strikes :-)

  4. BJG, how does perception determine outcome? If anything, effort can affect the outcome.
    Unless I'm getting this wrong, outcome=reality.

    Perception is in some way the attitude that you choose to go with before, during and after.

  5. SIR: I'm not saying that perception can alter reality, hence my comment about lightning striking. However, I do think that perception can affect outcome. For example, if you perceive things to be bad, your negative outlook can lead you to react to events in a way that makes them bad, when they had potential to be good.

  6. I think that negative attitudes do indeed result in negative outcomes. Events that are neutral can either be interpreted negatively or positively- the interpretation will impact the individual's mood, future outlook and possibly set off a chain of negativity that does inded affect outcome.
    Obviously, a wide, persistent smile wont make a bad date a good one- and it wont make a single person any more married. But every bad date, every bad experience, every bump in the road can be interpretd positively, neutrally, or negatively. Negativity breeds more negativity. Although some of the cheeriest people in the world have yet to catch a break- at least they're not adding to their own suffering and are making the most of things until they reach their destination. I believe that positive engergy can alleviate a lot of pain and may help us appreciate the good we do have. And appreciating the good that is there helps contribute to hapiness.

  7. In certain situations, having a negative attitude may affect the outcome. But there are plenty of situations, that no matter what you do, no matter how positive you are, the outcome will be the same regardless.

    However, I do agree that it's worthwhile to maintain a positive and hopeful attitude, because there's more to gain with that, than the alternative.

  8. I like the mashal. I quoted it in my new post

  9. @Sun Inside Rain:

    See the way I see it, both life and the paradox can be explained not in a form of pessimism or optimism, but of realism. Life happens and we don’t know why things happen certain ways. In the case of paradox, the outcome has happened regardless of how we feel about it. Our hopes and desires cannot change the status of the cat, it is what it is. However, the time in question, in which we do not know the status of the cat is where the paradox lies. It is my belief as realist to take the stance, that the actual status of cat is irrelevant to us! Until the moment when you must look into the box and deal with outcome, one should let it faze them. That means either way, neither for good nor for bad. However, if one were to get caught up in choosing a side in the paradox, let it at least be that of the positive; for negative thoughts can only bring a person down and cause them to view everything else in the same negative light for absolutely no reason. So with regards to life, I believe in the same premise, try not to worry about the unknown, because you can’t change it, it is already set (in some ways and certain circumstances etc…). Nonetheless, if you choose to anticipate the future, then at least be positive.


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