Friday, January 6, 2012

Schrödinger's Cat and the Life of Unopened Possibilities.

Because I believe in higher education and the idea that there is an infinite amount to learn in the world so wouldn't you want to learn as much as you possibly can? I try to surround myself with people I can learn from. Since I haven't found too many super smart people in real life that don't get creeped out by me following them around gawking, in the hopes some of their intelligence will rub off on me -- [tip: you don't have to physically rub someone; it's more a figurative concept than a literal one. Trust me.] -- I am absolutely stoked to have stumbled upon The Big Bang Theory. I realize the television series has been on since 2007, but that is not the point. The point is, it's a show filled with just the geeky lovable types I yearn to hang out with in real life.

A couple nights ago (in a re-run that probably aired years ago), Sheldon mentioned Schrödinger's cat. Schrödinger was a scientist who sealed a cat in a metal box with a vial of poison that would kill the cat. Essentially, everyone knew the vial of poison was in the box with the cat but no one knew whether or not the vial would break, thereby killing the cat. The possibility existed that the cat could either die, or remain alive. No one knew until the box was opened.

On a most VERY BASIC LEVEL (save your hate mail, super intellegent beings, I'm not as advanced as you. Yet.) this meant that during the time the cat was sealed up in the box with poison, one could think of the cat as alive! [yay for positivity!] And one could think of the cat as dead. [oh, you glass is half empty Negative Nelly.]  The point is that both possibilities existed at the exact same time and would continue to exist until such time as the box was opened and the outcome actually revealed.

Schrödinger's experiment was really an illustration of superposition; a principle in quantum theory that occurs at the subatomic level - which honestly does not mean a lick to me, however, I couldn't help but immediately think of how often it occurs at our basic most emotional levels.


When you purchase a lottery ticket, the ticket can be thought of as the winning ticket at the same time it can be thought of as the losing ticket. It is only when the winning numbers are actually drawn - and the metaphoric box is opened, do both possibilities cease to exist and only true scenario remain.


You sit at your desk dreaming of a new job. The possibility exists that you could land a fabulous job and make twice the amount of money and work with an amazing group of awesome people at the same time the possibility exists that you could end up working for the devil with a bunch of creepizoids worse than the ones you're used to. Until you actually unseal the box and apply for the job, you will never know.

In a crappy relationship? Unsealing the box means actually leaving and finding out if you find the partner of your dreams or never get asked out on a date again.

It dawned on me how long we walk around with our boxes too afraid to open the lid. Because once we open the lid there is no turning back. It's the moment of truth. The cat's either alive or it isn't. But not knowing offers some comfort. Because we can trick ourselves into thinking the cat is still alive.

I mean, I don't blame anyone. It's hard to open that box and face the unknown outcome. I walk around with my own unopened boxes all the time because I'm just not ready to take the lid off. Sure, logically I know that if I take the lid off now and the cat is alive I get this fuzzy, fluffy, warm and cuddly kittie to enjoy and that's good, right? What a shame it would have been to be walking around with this unopened box when I could have been enjoying the cat all this time. And I also logically know that if the cat is dead, well, then at least I know I have to get busy digging a hole and bury it and move on. As disappointing as a dead cat would be, at least I would know what direction I was headed in.

I guess you can choose to spend your whole life carrying around a bunch of unopened boxes and unconcluded possibilities, but that isn't living the way your life was intended, that's just.... well, storage.

It's time to start ripping the lids off those boxes once and for all. What box are you going to finally open?

Open the box, people. Open the box.


HeatherB said...

Okay, okay. I am going to do it! I start clogging classes this upcoming Monday!

I have also recently found The Big Bang Theory in re-runs and have been loving it! I also discovered 6 seasons of How I Met Your Mother on Netflix and got hooked for the two weeks leading up to Christmas. It was all we watched...

I am excited about the clogging. What's your box?

Tina, said...

My head now hurts after reading this, way too deep for Friday.

But I can tell you that if you seal a cat in a metal box, it will be dead. NO AIR.

And exactly where was PETA during this famous Cat in the box experiment? Worthless group if you ask me, they insist the people of the world let a baby polar bear die because nature should take its course, idiots. That's what zoo's are for, to preserve them. And then after the bear did die, oh shit no, you can't make a hat out of baby bear fur! Idiots. But put a cat in a metal box and these people are too busy siting in cages nude, painted up to look like a tiger.

See what you started...

Brenna said...

Why do you have to be such a NERD all the time? God.

Stacey said...

LOVE this. I'm actually procrastinating opening the box right now, and getting back to writing. Thanks for making your point. I'll get back to writing my own post now.

Becca said...

Great post. I've been opening boxes this weekend, sending out inquiries about summer work. For now both possibilities exist: 1) I have professional value and am capable of holding a job, and 2) I should just give up. We'll see what happens when people start checking their email on Monday!

Phoenix Rising said...

@HeatherB: the fact that you'll be clogging makes my heart swoon! FOR REAL!! Also, I could easily lock myself in my house for the next six months to do nothing at all but watch Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother. LOVE!!!

@Tina: BWAHAH! "too busy sitting in cages nude, painted up to look like a tiger." HAHAHAA!!!!

@Brenna: Nerds are sexy. Duh. :)

@Stacey: please, please DO get back to writing!

@Becca: I've been following you.... you're a Ripping Off The Lid goddess!! YOU GO GIRL!! I can't wait to see what the future holds for you!!


I'm going to have to share this post. I wish we could go out for coffee.