Schrödinger's Dreams


Go to sleep, little kitty

Schrödinger’s Cat Dreams

In 1935, Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger proposed an interesting thought experiment, which has come to be known colloquially as Schrödinger’s Cat. This thought experiment is an illustration of one of the peculiarities of quantum mechanics.

In this thought experiment a cat is placed inside a space with an agent (poison or explosives) that at a random time in the future will deploy, killing the cat (so, you can clearly see why this needs to be a thought experiment). However, because we are external to the space and can’t see into it, we can’t tell whether this event has happened. This leads to a paradox where it can be assumed the cat is both living and dead—a paradox that will only be resolved when we open the space and the possibilities collapse to reality.

Here’s another (perhaps better) explanation:

This actually leads to some rather startling conclusions about reality, but those aren’t my main focus today. Instead, I’d like to focus on how we can apply this reasoning in our own lives.

On the hit TV show The Big Bang Theory, Schrödinger’s Cat was used by Sheldon Cooper in a surprisingly insightful conversation about relationships with Penny.

Our dreams are just like the potential relationship between Penny and Leonard. Until they are explored, we will never know if they will bear fruit.

It’s often much more comfortable to keep our dreams inside our own heads, to daydream of those dreams coming true without putting forth the effort to make them happen.

We mistakenly believe by keeping the dream within our own minds, it is safe and protected from the world. That’s not how we protect our dreams. Contained and insulated, dreams fail to grow and develop. They are merely daydreams, who’s existence mixed with fear leads to contented inaction.

So, what should we do?

Jadah Sellner suggests, “Say your dreams out loud.’ It helps to bring them not only into focus, but in some ways instantiates them into the world. We need to get beyond Schrödinger’s paradox with our dreams, and calling them into existence helps collapse the possibilities.

There is only the choice to live in our daydreams or to live our dreams.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sales.
Explore. Dream. Discover.

Photo courtesy of Seth WekhelserCC-BY-SA-2.0