The original paradox comes, of course, from a suggested experiment to prove some theory of quantum mechanics. It’s goal is to prove something about suspended states of particles in some process of decay where we don’t know if they have decayed or not until some observation of the decay can be made.
The question at hand, is whether or not the cat is alive or dead in the box. In theory, the cat could be in both states, or IS in both states, until someone opens the box and observes the outcome. When that happens, the cat is either alive or dead, and obviously not both.
How does this apply to relationships, or, more specifically, romantic relationships? Well let’s just say you have two people who are in a box together, or on a sphere together, such as earth. Those two people enter into a relationship which most assuredly has some sort of “shelf life”, of which, when first acknowledged, is not known to either of the two parties or any other outside observer.
These two beings continue to exist in some sort of state of co-habitation on the sphere much like Schrodinger’s Cat in the box, and the relationship between them also exists.
At some point, though, the relationship reaches it’s half life of the original unknown shelf-life and at that point becomes decayed beyond repair. However, unless observed, the relationship may be alive or dead or, in theory, both at the same time.
One can’t know which is true or that the terminal state of the relationship has been reached unless seen and acknowledged by some observer. That a relationship can be thought of as still existing or not existing or somehow both well past the shelf life because no one is paying enough attention or cares enough is, indeed, a tragedy.
That anyone would put a cat in a box with a decaying sub-atomic particle is kind of a sick thing as well, but I will not dwell on that.
In Schrodinger’s experiment, the cat can’t apparently be his or her own observer, which is quite daft as I’m fairly certain the cat will know the moment of its death. If it can’t or doesn’t, well then, that would cause a whole other host of philosophical and spiritual questions to be raised.
In this comparison we don’t have that same set of questions because it is without a shadow of a doubt possible for either person who is in that relationship to also be the observer. And since the termination of relationship doesn’t kill anybody, it’s quite harmless really. Still, the experiment can be painful, and repeated attempts might leave a person quite unwilling to go “back in the box”.
I’ve just concluded such an experiment myself. In the end, I had to make myself the observer so that it could truly be called done. I initiated a conversation acknowledging that it wasn’t what it should be between us, and in doing that, opened the box to set the other person free. He took the opening in a mannor not unlike him and echoed my sentiments from his own perspective.
I’m sad, but also relieved that it’s over.
I would also like to note that he hinted at the possibility that we can continue on just as we have been as our relationship was never in a box to begin with. It is true. We never defined it, or talked about what it was or wasn’t or what it could be in the future. In a sense, we never acknowledged the beginning of the experiment and therefore there is really no way to say “it” is ended because “it” never existed in the first place.
This is, in my opinion, a very clever way for any person to live their lives without fear of being the person responsible for ever hurting someone else’s feelings. If you deny the existence of the relationship (or in this case, that there was ever any intent for dating with hope of a future together), then you will never have to hold yourself accountable for your words or actions. This tactic is very self-serving, and smug no matter how you spin it. But I’m a chicken shit and did not call him out on it.
In any case.. “it” did exist and I spent 6 months of my life in “it” with him. So he can deny all he wants but I have to observe and acknowledge and have my closure on “it”, which thankfully, now I have. As for trying again? I think not.
I’m not going to have time for any more of these grand life experiments in the coming months. I’m going to focus on my MFA and my Poetry and my AWS and my new JOB and my plot to take over the world instead. I think that is enough.. don’t you?
Be Wary of Men with Cats in Steel Boxes,