The Other I

May 15, 2010

Schrödinger’s cat and me

Filed under: Just Stuff,Uncategorized — theotheri @ 8:39 pm

The comment following yesterday’s post alluded to a problem in quantum physics concerning Schrödinger’s cat.  Without going into the why’s of this problem which I only vaguely grasp, the problem it poses is whether a cat in a box is alive or dead if nobody has looked in the box.  In other words, it suggests the cat’s existence depends on someone else knowing about it.

My understanding is that this problem has been solved to the satisfaction of those scientists who understand it in favour of the cat existing independently of our looking in the box.

Which is reassuring to those scientists and cat lovers who have been worrying about it.

But now our almost-instantaneous global communications systems are creating a parallel worry for me.  When I read comments posted on Twitter and Facebook and other social networking sites, I wonder sometimes if some people’s identity depends on someone else knowing that they are alive at that instance.

I mean, do I really need someone else to know that “I’m eating chocolate ice cream in Central Park?”  or that “I’m downloading Explorer 8 onto my computer right now”?  “Long day, dead tired, having a drink,” or “L has walked out;  I can’t stop crying”?

Do I only matter if somebody else knows? does what I am doing increase in importance if the whole world is told about it?

I find it a little scary.

I deactivated my Facebook account yesterday.  I’d delete it altogether but they keep telling me I’ll always be welcomed back.



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