Schrödinger’s cat is the one to explain paradoxes or seemingly contradictory things.
There is a phenomenon observed in physics called superposition. It happens when a certain particle has two opposite properties at the same time. For example, an electron might have an upwards spin and downwards spin at the same time (don’t ask me what spin is). And it keeps such a state until we try to observe it, at the very moment of observation, the electron jumps to one of the opposite states.
Even the exact location of particles is a superposition, they are in many places at the same time, and we can only guess where exactly. This is so counterintuitive, that scientists had a serious trouble explaining this to people.
But one guy, Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger tried to do this in 1935 with a help of a cat. He suggested that if we put a cat into an isolated steel chamber, with a specific deadly contraption, the cat might be in a superposition of being dead and alive at the same time. The contraption works like this: there is a radioactive atom, which can decay or remain stable, there is a detector which can detect the decay, in the case of decay, the detector releases a hammer and the hammer breaks a bottle with deadly acid and the cat dies.
But the point is here: since we cannot predict whether the atom will decay or not, we cannot tell if the cat is alive or not without opening the chamber and observing it! So, it seems that the cat is in a superposition, dead and alive at the same time, and at the very moment of observation, it jumps into one of the opposite states!
Superpositions in life
It would be nice that such sophisticated and counterintuitive thing remained in the field of physics. But we have the opposite situation when no matter what question we have, the internet is full of contradictory advice.
Some of them, like which food to eat, and how to exercise are an ongoing war of opinions, which are backed by science, personal experience, or memes. If we find the point where science agrees with experience and memes, then we know where the truth is.
But then we have broad fuzzy ideas about the philosophy of life. “Listen to your heart!”: says spirituality. “Listen to your brain!”: says personal development. So, which one should I listen? “Change the world!”: shouts the modern motivation industry. “Appreciate here and now!”: suggests the ancient motivation industry. So, change or not change? Most often these ideas are not contradictory, but only seem to be, because those words have a deeper meaning, and when we investigate this meaning, the contradiction disappears.
It’s like saying that there is a contradiction between being half full and half empty. A glass cannot be full and empty at the same time, but it can be half full and half empty, full of water and empty of oil.
The same is with subtle personalities. An introvert can be talkative, brave and socially awesome – there is no contradiction here if we understand what these words really mean. A person can be logical and creative at the same time, calm and full of energy at the same time.
These superpositions confuse our minds makes it more difficult to make a decision and sometimes block them, because we think that certain things are opposite when they’re not.
That’s why I asked Schrödinger’s cat to help me deal with such superpositions and paradoxes, to explain why seemingly contradicting things are not contradictory at all, to explain the deeper meanings of words and quotes, or simply solve those paradoxes for us and make our minds free of worry about unnecessary things (or at least a bit freer).
Together we started the most philosophical meme series called Spiritual Superposition, where Schrödinger’s cat clashes two contradictory statements and then we try to resolve them. I’m not saying “have fun”, I’m saying “have some insights”. But fun is possible too, it’s not contradictory.
Is this cat dead and alive at the same time? No it isn’t, it’s alive. And whenever we have a contradiction, the cat will be here to help us solve them.
This cat lives in a box, Schrödinger’s box – it is possible to know what’s inside only by directly observing what’s inside. Otherwise, the cat is in a superposition of states, you can say it’s eating, sleeping, thinking, reading and doing many other things at the same time. A very private life, I’d say. Mysterious life!
Have fun and insight at the same time!