Mar. 26th, 2015

Because this is just such an amazingly useful concept that some people are not yet fully aware of, I'm going to just do the internet a favor and give a reference point. If you need to explain "Schrodinger's Cat" for whatever reason, you have a link to point to.

The Background: One of the early theories in quantum physics is that a particle that could, physically, be in any one of several states/places/positions, it is actually in all of those states until such time as it is "observed". The observation isn't by a conscious mind, but by the reaction of the next sub-atomic particle or wave or whatever to one of the possible states, which collapses wave functions and... Listen, if you think you understand quantum physics, you don't understand quantum physics.

Erwin Schrodinger had a thought experiment to describe this. Seal a cat into a box. Place in that box a radio-active molecule that may or may not decay, around a 50/50 chance. According to this bit of quantum mechanical thinking, said cat, until the box is opened, would exist in states both of living and dead.

Note: This was a thought experiment only, and intended to express how nonsensical quantum physics are on the macro scale.

As nonsensical as this concept is to our intuitions of physics, it's immensely valuable for our concept of dealing with decision making.

To give a generic example, if you're in an apartment and there's a knock at the door, you don't know who it is. It could be a good friend bringing you good news. It could be an enemy meaning harm. It could be something more neutral. You neither immediately grab a gun and start shooting through the door, action movie style, nor throw open the door and open your arms for a great big hug... some other movie style. Until you find out, you have to interact with the whole range of possibilities.

This is useful in explaining the position of the person inside the apartment. But, it's also something important to note about the person on the other side of the door. That person, knowing hir own conditions, might not think about the other possibilities, but is still in position of dealing with someone who does have to deal with those possibilities.

The person in the Schrodinger's Position can make use of this position. Schrodinger's Asshole claims a serious statement to be a joke or a satire of someone who holds a view as just stated, based upon the reaction of the audience.

Mainly, this is useful for explaining the concerns of somebody facing a Schrodinger's Unknown. Dan Audy, someone I know from comments on another website explained that he can face anxiety when dealing with possibilities of unknown potential worst-case-scenarios far greater than any specific worst-case-scenario, for the basic reason that he is interacting with all the potential worst-case-scenarios at once. He calls this Schrodinger's Awfulness.

That becomes a reminder to people who are in Schrodinger's Position of where they are, in terms of other people's information. One big, and uncomfortable reminder is that of Schrodinger's Rapist*, in which women meeting men for the first time, or entering into newly vulnerable situations with men have to interact with the potentiality of... yeah.

You can see how valuable this is with regards to... so many states of mind. Seeing that most highschool English classes have yet to devote one full class to the exploration of this concept, I'm providing a little something. Hopefully, people can just link to this page to smooth things along.




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