A Cat and the Paradox of Forgetting

I’m going to try to science the hell out of this so bear with me. Schrodinger had this way freaky story about a cat he put in a box. Suppose that in the box some radioactive poison is there but you are not really sure if the poison has been released. The question is: is the cat alive or dead? The answer apparently, if you subscribe to the quantum superposition theory, is that the cat is both alive and dead. You can only confirm if the cat is alive or dead by lifting up the box and seeing for yourself and until you do, at that very moment, the cat is a radioactive super kitty that is neither alive nor dead. Except the flaw in this story is nothing can be both alive and dead. It was meant to critique the scientific method but that is another story for another day.

So we learned two things. One, Schrodinger is a sick, sick bastard. You don’t think about killing cats in a box and be all that right in the head but he’s cool like that because he’s a physicist. Two, I’m as confused as you are.

Here’s another way of putting it. Do things exist only if you observe them or are they nonexistent because you do not see them? Or are they both? Let’s put this hypothesis to the test.

Suppose you want to forget about something. What most people do is they cease to observe whatever it is that they wish to forget. You burn letters. You return the little things given to them by lovers long past. You release little animals into the forest. You change hair colors and hairstyles. Out of sight, out of mind. It works for a while and for a few peaceful, anxiety less days, the things that you want to forget are just that, forgotten. You know that they exist somewhere but for you, they do not exist anymore. They have become Schrodinger’s cat.

The problem is that somehow those things we want to forget creep into our realities. They pop up suddenly in our social networking timelines. You suddenly see their names in road signs. A movie you watch reminds you that you were meant to watch it together. You bump into them in the least expected places. They have become observable phenomena and quite suddenly they become very, very, very real.

This is the paradox we have to contend with on a daily basis. The more you want to forget about something, the more they come back into your lives like some sort of cruel joke. Suddenly, physics is not the most confusing thing on our minds.



Add yours →

  1. Great article and it amused me that you taken a daily phase and analyze it scientifically.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A dead cat in a box? A radioactive paradox? How is that again? I forgot. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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