# Why skin a cat at all?

Schrödinger’s cat walks into a bar. And doesn’t.

There may be more than one way to skin a cat; but why are we skinning cats at all? The case of Schrödinger’s cat has been the source of wonder, intelligent discussion and excellent t-shirts for some time, however there is a slight risk with the popularity the underlying mechanics of the thought is missed. To anyone familiar with the situation, or indeed quantum mechanics, it won’t come as any surprise that there are different interpretations of the paradoxical situation proposed by Schrödinger, many of which are worth understanding before forming a view on the subatomic kingdom. Before we look at how to skin the cat, we first establish why we are being so cruel in the first place.

The ideas of quantum mechanics are disturbing, leading some of the world’s greatest minds to be extremely spooked.  The big problem? It’s an abstract theorem constructed in the realm of mathematics, where classical descriptions of the world have to be left aside. All you have ever experienced is a classical description of the world and indeed all humans before you have ever experienced is a classical description, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that this is a little uncomfortable. Yet despite this complexity, humans have managed to harness the power of the quantum realm to the point where it is estimated a third of the US gross national product is the direct result of quantum mechanics (Tegmark & Wheeler).

This post, along with some future posts are intended to serve as a preamble to a rather more developed post; so if you don’t find the subject overly fascinating in its own right (which you should!) I hope the ideas will weave together later into an acceptable marriage.

All this feline chatter

Schrödinger is most famous for his derivation of the second order partial differential equation known as the wave function, denoted Ψ, which rightfully bagged him a Nobel prize in 1933. The wave function is a complex valued probability amplitude; which in essence is a mathematical expression of all the things something may be with probabilities assigned to them. In the quantum realm for example, we may be talking about an electron around a nucleus; the function is computed using all the possible degrees of freedom the electron have (states it can be in). You should never be concerned if you don’t know how to interpret the wave function at first – because nobody, including Schrödinger himself did when they first looked at it. Wave functions can be produced by including all points of position or momentum space (for example), and allow for the inclusion of discrete degrees of freedom (for example spin of +1/2 and -1/2). The wave function is very complex, but to understand Schrödinger’s cat all you need to appreciate is that the wave function is describing all the states a particle may occupy and the probability associated with being in each state; so if you like anything that can happen is included.

Schrödinger’s cat can be considered a paradox; what he is doing is demonstrating the issues that arise when one links the quantum realm and the macroscopic world that we are so familiar with. To set up the experiment imagine you have a sealed box in which you can extract no information (light is unable to penetrate, sound cannot escape). Within the box you have a radioactive substance, which decays randomly (i.e. puny humans have no predictive power) and a Geiger counter which measures radiation. Next to this you have a cat, a vial of poison and a hammer. If the Geiger counter should sound then the hammer goes, the vial breaks and the cat is dead. Intrinsically the fate of the cat is now the result of the quantum mechanical rules which govern the random decay.

Is the cat dead or is the cat alive? The short answer: you have no idea. To assume the cat is dead or alive is to assume you know something about the conditions within the box to make that prediction; by the construction of the experiment you do not. But if you cannot say that the cat is dead or alive what is it? Being dead or alive is surely a binary construct? We must consider the cat in superposition – which in normal terms is a suspended state of being dead or alive. All we know is that there is a probability of the cat being dead, and alive; it is simultaneously “stuck” in these states until we open the box and we determine the cats luck by conventional means. Sound like nonsense? That’s the point – a cat cannot genuinley be both dead and alive… can it?

The construction is designed to illustrate the weird world of quantum mechanics; you know it is often said that quantum mechanics is like playing dice. Well unfortunately the world is so damn strange that even that is an oversimplification; since when one plays dice the dice obey nice normal classical mechanics, we just don’t have the required knowledge to form predictive assumptions. In the world of quantum mechanics the classical world, we think, melts away. So the paradox provides an interesting way of illustrating the situation where we cannot know the state of an object without observing it and the seemingly paradoxical situations that can arise when we tie the information we have learned about the quantum realm to our more familiar macroscopic surroundings. Now you see why we must skin the cat; we need some answers.

The Copenhagen Interpretation

This is the leading interpretation of the thought experiment (and quantum mechanics in general) and is likely to be what you have been taught (potentially even represented as absolute truth) if you have studied the subject or done some reading. The interpretation was developed by some big names; Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, but interestingly they didn’t fully agree on any approach and never actually laid down a formal description of their interpretation. As such the approach has developed over time with the help of many minds and you many not always see identical descriptions when comparing one text to another. The key point is that a physical system has no definite properties before being measured. The rest flows from here.

So the wave function represents a system with everything that can be known before any observation takes place; the set of all possibilities with all probabilities. The system itself may well contain incompatibility –  for example the well known uncertainty principle that asserts one may not know about the position and the momentum of an object to within a certain threshold of accuracy. This function exists in this state, quite happily, until terrible humans come along and measure the thing. At the point of measuring the system, what we are actually doing is collapsing the wave function (into an eigenstate) for the observer. That is when we observe the system we collapse all of the possible outcomes and probabilities into one known outcome of which we can interpret as being classical. So we haven’t actually measured in the quantum realm at all, we have collapsed the “normal” behaviour with our observation and made it fit with our window on the universe. Proponents of this theory point to the fact that humans are classical and not quantum beings and we can only observe quantum systems by reducing them to mere classical situations – the inner workings or a quantum mechanical system are not observable to a human and never will be.

So in the case of our dear cat, what actually is happening is before the event the cat is in its state of being dead and alive – with a probability of 50:50 dropping out for each scenario from our wave function.  When we actually observe the cat we collapse this situation into one fixed definite situation – we know the cat is dead or alive. Critics of this theory are often say that it isn’t actually an explanation at all – but rather a work around to the problem by simply stating you cannot observe it and if you do everything that existed before collapses. Unfortunately the Copenhagen Interpretation may well be true; so if the cat is dead I am afraid it’s your fault for looking.

The many worlds interpretation

If you are interested in a full post on this, you should check out Mekhi’s excellent post here.

This interpretation is probably one of my favourites; it’s just so fanciful. What it lacks in rigorous detail it certainly makes up for in imagination. The bedrock of this theory is that anything that can happen…. sort of will. In the quantum mechanical situation particles exist under the rules of probability; in the many worlds theorem everything exists. In parallel. It’s quite a mind-bender; the theory has both the mathematical construction of the Schrödinger equation; and a much less well defined correspondence between the quantum realm and our experiences.

To tackle this theory, understand the difference between a world and the Universe. Simply there is one Universe that contains all the worlds. Drilling down a little further, when we define any world, it becomes unique in the past and many in the future. So interestingly, this theory takes the idea that there is one I; I am unique however there are many Joe’s. Excuse me? I am all of the future Joe’s. All of them; and yet I am only one I, the unique defined present version of myself. So what we have is a situation that looks like this:

UNIVERSE› = ∑αiWORLD i

The wave function of the Universe is taken to be the wave functions of all the different worlds; which are not alternatives but rather all actual realities happening until they are defined. I’m sorry, but if you’re not in neurological heaven right now you are on the wrong page.

Aside from the fact that parallel universes are delightful, the Many Worlds Theory has some other big plus points.  Firstly – you don’t need to collapse the wave function like you do in the Copenhagen Interpretation. The idea that you have a system that is totally independent from initial conditions and only influenced by probability is uncomfortable since it is so at odds with out experimental evidence (which under the Copenhagen Interpretation is the measurement problem). But secondly, the Many Worlds Theory resolves many (if not all) of the paradoxes of Quantum Mechanics – one of these being Schrödinger’s cat. In fact is was said Schrödinger himself was waring up to this theory.

Under the Many Worlds Theory, Schrödinger’s cat is in two parallel universes where the cat both lives and dies. It is only when the cat is observed that the situation is fixed in the present; with the many worlds of the future living on. Here is a illustration on the scenario.

This theory is gaining traction as a description of the Universe – but it has work to do. It violates some very old laws around nature that we either need to overcome or rewrite before we are converted (see Ockham’s razor if you are interested).

Information interpretation

Does reality contain information? Is information reality? I am rolling with the latter; it would appear that truth is nothing more than a set of propositions – information. It is actually quite a fun game to play, to pick anything then break it down into nothing more than a set of axioms. No matter how complex the system is (like for example a human) you can keep breaking it down into simpler and simpler systems until you get to an elementary system. This is just like a binary system; it is or it is not, which can be represented by a 1 or a 0. When we get to this point we have the smallest unit of information possible (sometimes called a quibit in quantum mechanics). The key idea here therefore is that an elementary system is just a bit of information.

But what about randomness? Well it is a little different; all you looking at is objective randomness which is the result of a lack of information. We are closing in on the cat. The elegance in this theory is that it answers the question of why the world is quantised at all. It is disturbing if you really muse on it. Well the answer is simply the quantisation of information; if reality is merely information, with an elementary system being binary then of course on the smallest of scales the quantised picture will arise. Delightful. The theory also goes on to address quantum entanglement, pointing to the fact that the phenomena arises where the elementary bit is information for more than one of the systems. All tangled up.

Now in the case of our dear cat, the issue is such that there is no information for asking if the cat is dead or alive; and therefore we don’t have the answer. When we look at the cat, information is created (in an objectively random way); this new information arises all the time in information theory and is either subsequently destroyed, or in our case stabilised which then becomes a measurement. In essence the problem with viewing the quantum world is that viewing and taking measurements extracts information from the system – and with information being the currency of reality, we leave ourselves with less in the bank.

Did the cat live?

How should I know. Schrödinger’s cat in all three interpretations is tied to an unknown fate until we observe it – but the situation before and after is viewed differently. Do not forget; this is about creating a thought experiment to highlight quantum mechanics. So whilst, for example, the information theory might seem like a pretentious way of saying I don’t have information before I look, (go figure), its beauty and elegance as a description of the universe on the smallest of scales should not be overlooked. I cannot resist the lure of the quantum realm; it quite literally makes up everything, the building blocks of everything and anything. There are many more interpretations you may wish to explore if you are interested; the three I highlight are the most popular.

## 65 responses to “Why skin a cat at all?”

1. So, you’re saying if we skin the cat then it is absolutely dead?

This is my problem with quantum theory stuff as I know it. And I’ll admit, I have none of the background or the understanding of the equations that support it. It seems to me to be a purely idealistic exercise of pure science.

From what I understand, quantum mechanics seems to just be a way to calculate what will happen based on what we know in a statistical manner. In other words, it’s purely conjecture. The problem appears to be that we just don’t have the ability to measure cause and effect at the subatomic level to predict outcome at this time, so we calculate odds.

It’s never been explained to me in a way I understand how we’ve determined that this is an actual reality and not just statistical guess work with practical applications.

If we bury a box with a cat in it for five hundred years Schrodinger style and come back to look at it, the cat is dead. If we do it five thousand times, the cat is dead. I understand scientifically we can’t claim to know that without investigating. That’s science in its strictest, purest sense. But when we start to conjecture about multiple universes and alternate realities, we’ve left science behind.

Again, this is just a layman’s understanding. I am genuinely curious to understand this phenomenon. Not at all trying to rip what you wrote. It fascinates me.

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• Hello and firstly thank you for visiting and reading! You make some interesting points; interesting and correct. With the burial of the box; I would say yes you are correct but the difference in that situation is you know that it is statistically nearly impossible for a cat to live for that long – both the number of years and the lack of nourishment. So in a sense – you do have the information you need.

What I would say around quantum mechanics is there are certain elements of it that we absolutely know work; beyond any reasonable doubt. Codes, microscopes and lasers alike all work and rely on quantum mechanics.

The real forefront of quantum mechanics – the bit that causes most confusion is a work in progress. But using the Copenhagen Interpretation, you can kind of think about it as from the sense of a human it will always be random because by interfering with the system I am fixing it. It is spooky to say that something is only the way it is when no body is looking; but when you get down onto the smallest of scales, like we are on, to extract information you need to send in a probe – and the smallest probes we have, even a photon, causes havoc. So you can at least appreciate why it is very difficult to extract information from a QM system?

In a way – it actually is statistical guess work with practical applications!

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• Thank you, sir. Just trying to wrap my head around this thing to answer the question “What is it?” I’ve watched documentaries, etc, but don’t really seem to get anywhere other than it’s mind blowing and a really interesting concept.

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• Me and you both! I would recommend trying to follow some lecture series – Leonard Susskind’s theoretical minimum is a great resource but there is lots out there. But don’t ever let go of the fact that there are multiple interpretations as highlighted in my post. Some things are “truths” but many things are still uncertain

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2. all you need to grasp is that the wave function describes all a particle may be the associated probability;
Sorry, I can understand the syntax of this sentence and so i can’t grasp what that “all you need to grasp is” — should that be ‘all a particle may be with? the associated probability?

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• Sorry, probably a bad sentence to get sloppy with my syntax right!

I have amended to:

all you need to appreciate is that the wave function is describing all the states a particle may occupy and the probability associated with being in each state

Do let me know this makes things clearer?

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• Thank you for reading! 🙂

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3. The phrase “to skin a cat” is American slang, and it does not refer to felines; it refers to catfish. Besides that, the post is interesting.

And reminds me of a joke.

Schrödinger, Heisenberg, and Ohm were going to a party. Heisenberg was driving Schrödinger’s car above the speed limit.

A policeman stops the car and says to Heisenberg: “Hey buddy do you know how hast you were going?” Heisenberg replied “No, but I can tell you exactly where I am.”

“Well, you were doing 75 kph in a 30 kph zone.”

“Great. Now I am lost.”

The policeman thinks this is suspicious and says: “I need to see what’s in the boot.” Heisenberg gives the policeman the keys, and the policeman proceeds to open the boot, looks inside, comes back to the passengers and says: “Do you know you have a dead cat back there?”

Schrödinger replies: “Thanks to you, now I do, you jerk.”

The policeman tells them to get out of the car because they are all too suspicious and they have to go to the police station.

Of course, Ohm resisted.

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• I did not know that Keith! That is very interesting indeed – I know little of catfish (and I am not sure I want to know much of them!).

I love the joke! Hadn’t heard that before either

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4. This is great … I guess it’s different levels of ‘perception’ or ‘seeing’ is it? …and the human mind …brilliant tho it is at organising and rationalising the world around us so that we can actually live in it …AND in the scientific world come up with tools and equations to take our understanding and development to the next level …there is a point where it is all turned on its head …and we haven’t yet got the tools and equations to explain it …on a quantum level it’s taking things down to such a minute scale that it is merely the tiniest of micro dots of ‘energy’ for want of a better word …which is in fact the most rudimentary yet complex ….and is this then the elusive ‘ God particle’ folks go on about? …Hmmmm and although the cat is dead to us as the human observer …it’s ‘energy’ …or ‘God particle’ or ‘Particles’ has just drifted off elsewhere …maybe to a parallel universe …maybe to a very different one …or maybe absorbed into the one we already know …not necassarily as a cat but possibly ANYTHING …a kind of recycling or reincarnation …and am probably not making ANY sense so had better pop off to bed ….but this stuff is facinating none the less

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• Why thank you very much I am glad you enjoyed. You are making sense – and actually whilst I don’t necessarily believe in reincarnation one of my late night thoughts is around how weird and strange it is that the very atoms that make you up may have one made up another person a very long time ago! Quantum mechanics is really a wonderful journey of discovery. If quantum mechanics and general relativity don’t change the way you look at the world then something is very wrong

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• Or maybe not necessarily a person …a thing …maybe a cat …or maybe a scattering of atoms making up allsorts ALLOVER the place:D:D:D

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• A very interesting thought indeed!

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5. Thanks for posting, enjoyed that. Will.

Sent from my iPhone

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• Thank you very much!

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• Thank you very much!

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6. Essentially this, from a psychological point of view, is a problem of the nature of reality. Ever since I was a kid of about 12 and read about Einstein’s understanding about the nature of time as a dimension I became puzzled over what it meant to be alive. The space dimensions that we can see do not pop into reality only when you open the front door and step outside to see that the sky exists and there is a street outside that was there yesterday and can be observed again when you look at it. So, if Einstein’s understanding of time is real then the future and the past are really there and were there yesterday and will be there tomorrow and the sense that things change is an illusion of traveling from the past to the future. It’s all there even if you don’t see it. And because it’s there you have a chance to predict it and be somehow sure that tomorrow morning the street will not be full of tigers or be a huge chasm so that merely stepping outside with your eyes closed will be a death sentence. In other words, reality is like a book where the story has a beginning, a middle and an end and just because you’re on page 5 does not mean that page 7 is not there until you get past page 6. But then the basic question is what is this thing I call myself that is turning the pages and why can’t I get tired of this book and pick up another (or is there another?) When I requested answers about this feeling of moving from the past to the future of scientific sources the only answer I got was that it is an illusion. Frankly, that explains nothing that I can make sense of. The idea that there are moments of creation where, if I change my mind, I create entire universes does not fit well in my experiences. The idea that there are a variety of pathways through time and which direction I move into is somehow responsive to my personal choice is a bit more digestible but creates a good deal of mystery over whatever I am that can decide the pathways and move into a pathway others I know do not move the same way. Knowledge is, after all, a mental quality and the rest of the universe seems rather rigidly restricted to cause and effect and I do not see why I should be free of that since I am totally embedded in this universe. Doubtlessly there are seeming random effects such as atomic decay but is this truly random or is it merely that we do not know how cause and effect functions at atomic levels? We are aware that there is a statistic half-life duration of atomic decay but is that perennially indeterminate? The whole can of worms lays in understanding the nature of time and how we relate to it. I highly respect mathematic analysis but math is merely a language of precise description and is quite capable of constructing fantasies as with any language so I am still very puzzled.

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• Hello and thank you for your very interesting topic! I think you are touching on both the issue of determinism and free will along with the nature of time as a fourth dimension. Time is obviously special as our fourth dimension as it is currently the only one that we cannot traverse in any direction we choose; although that isn’t to say it isn’t a dimension at all – it is just to say that we can only perceive the forward motion. I am building up to a post on what it means to be conscious I think you will find interesting; I just didn’t want to include all this information in it so I thought I would post it as a separate post; I think it will at least tackle many of your questions, although some of them are of course so big if I had the answers I would not be working in finance. I think the important thing to appreciate is you won’t ever get a clean cut agreement out of scientists on some of these issues as it is the forefront of scientific progress open to interpretation. So if you were to sing from the MW hymn sheet then yes you do enter a new world (not universe) when you make a choice in life – fixing the past and leaving the future open. In the Copenhagen Interpretation however you do not. Around your point on randomness; I like to think of randomness as defined from a human perspective i.e. there are too many variables or we have too little information to model the thing – so from a human point of view it is (and perhaps always will be) impossible to make predictive assumptions – so it seems random.

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7. It is not often I encounter fighting with the fundamental unknowns on a personal level and it is a welcome experience to discover another perceptive discussion in this very irritating insecurity. As I have mentioned elsewhere I have come to the conclusion that this “myself”, with which each of us identifies, is a kind of manufactured gadget useful to the rather unknown powerful entity within this living creature where I live. This ultra being needs a tool to navigate the great unknown which is exterior to the creature so it receives a variety of inputs from the several senses and out of the influx of impulses invents what we call reality which is a very limited version of whatever universe is perceived. This fiction is where I live and try to get the superbeing of my body some form of tolerable maintenance. Each living creature invents its own reality since each one has different requirements and different sets of sensors and different experiences to decide how to react. Whatever the hell is really out there in the real reality is far too complex, full of irrelevants to our existences, that is discarded as of no utility. So even this elemental construction in which we each exist is far too incomplete to solve the major basic puzzles. But we do what we can.

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• A very interesting and philosophical point. I do hope that reality is not too complex; but just seemingly too complex in the sense that a computer would have seemed to a human of 500 years ago. Indeed we do what we can!

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• In several recent scientific reports research has revealed that our fellow species which are equipped with quite different sense apparatus than humans are quite adept at many skills formerly assumed were human alone. Even bumblebees seem to become emotional with pinhead sized brains in somewhat the same way that humans might in delight. I do not presume that these very different creatures are the equal of humans in working with complex abstractions but only express that our own sensibilities, whatever we might make of them, probably are unresponsive to rather fundamental goings on that remain unknown. The current experiences with dark energies and dark matter are probably only the very tip of the great unknown we have yet to discover.

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• How interesting! And yes I do agree that we are only on the tip of the unknown; we have come so far and yet we have so far to go. That is what makes now a very exciting time to be alive!

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8. I don’t pretend to understand the math, but it seems to me that the whole theory depends on being described within mathematical terms, a sort of language, and any language has limits in how it describes things. I’m more familiar with programming languages, where instead of x/2 you’d have true/false. Unknowns are described simply as Null rather than a superposition of all possible x’s, and can be, in fact must be checked for as neither the logical path for true or false can be assumed. However, checking for Null does not define it. Seems like that’s the key difference, the math of quantum physics wants to require a definition even if it’s all possibilities, programming logic simply acknowledges something is unknown and makes allowances for it.

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• Thank you for your comment Dave and you actually raise a very interesting point; I agree with your logic. You may be familiar with Rodger Penrose; a very famous UK mathematician who believes that certain elements of quantum mechanics may actually be non-computable. The collapse of the wave function is one such phenomena that it is currently believed may bot be possible to ever actually programme. That said there are many parallels that can be drawn particularly with the information theory; but you are right in the sense that we cannot simply allow for an unknown in the same way

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9. Hi thanks for such an interesting read, I find your blog fascinating. For the sake of discussion I am going to go out on a limb here and say some things that I have absolutely no empirical evidence of just to put it out there.

Space is information, our bodies are subject to classical physics (due to our limited sensory perception), but our mind dwells in the quantum world, mind is all and no thing. There is no problem with viewing the quantum world when we learn to see it with our mind, within meditation. And in the non dual awareness of mind nothing is ever lost or gained, the bank has no balance = 0

I am not sure if I favour the many worlds theory or the Copenhagen interpretation, I must read so much more on both subjects, however, I disagree with elements from both as you have described them. Probably the biggest issue with both is that it seems to me that they do not seem to account for multiple observers (7 billion of us) Perhaps the newer MIW does a good job of this.

I agree with you whole heartedly resistance to the lure of the quantum realm is futile.

QP

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• Hi thank you very much for your kind words – I am glad that you find the blog of interest! MIW does allow for different observers it is certainly worth exploring further – in fact so does the information based approach. In that sense the cat is its own observer. It is often the case that when things start to get subjective they stray away from the realm of science – although I whole heartedly agree that they are the “big questions” of the future, how we can marry up these ideas to come up with the right answer!

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• Great question Joe,

I can only suggest two things, cross disciplinary dialog and lots of it, and quantum physicists need to learn to meditate. Only then can we begin to experiment in areas where mind and information meet.

QP

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• I have to say I have never ever meditated before! Although I do a lot of thinking if that counts!

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• nope sorry, thinking does not count but good try. Meditation is not avoiding the thoughts, but learning to see the space between them. Seeing what happens as they arise, exist, and fall back to where they arose from. Not so unlike most\all phenomenea. It is said that only an intillectual understanding of the ultimate truths is not enough, one must learn to see it as well.

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• Well then I am indeed lost! I have to say I do not fully understand everything you say, but that does not stop it being very interesting!

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• Hi Joe, what in particular do you not understand? Then we could discuss it?

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• I think it was the space in-between thoughts that lost me! Trying to get my head around exactly what the space in between thoughts is

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• The space between the thoughts

Here is where the world of meditation gets a little freaky and the pop culture understanding of mindfulness and relaxation ends and something difficult to describe begins to become apparent. Normally our inner dialogue or train of thought goes on and on. For most of us our thoughts seem endless and super fast. And every once in a while we “like” a thought and it materializes for us. I digress. Imagine sitting at the crossing gate waiting for a cargo train to go by and noticing that between every wagon there is a space that we can see past and into what is beyond the train. Actually if we sat here and blinked our eyes st the correct frequency we would only see this “space” and not the train anymore. This is what one can train to see in meditation. This is the place/space from where everything arises from and returns to in mind.

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• I am not sure that is something I can ever wrap my brain around! I can try, but I am afraid I may be a train with no carriages. Nonetheless the concepts are very interesting to me indeed

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10. Well, the good news is that you don’t have to wrap your brain around anything. Much like in science, meditation is an experiment with based on the experience of meditators practicing for the last few thousand years and your own experience on the meditation cushion. Everyone has similar worries when they start and we all have the same potential to meditate there are no people who cannot. Now I wish that was the case when someone shows me all those formulas and functions….

… that is just a train wreck on paper to me. 🙂

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• Very interesting how the different sides of the coin sound mutually terrifying to eachother!

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11. Sorry, I just have to tweet that joke. Then I’ll come right back and *really* pay attention to this article. Or will I?

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12. Let me see if I’ve got this right…

To observe something, we have to be able to see it.

To see really small things, we shine a light on them.

BUT

some things are so small that if you do shine a light on them, the light photons themselves can knock around the thing that you are trying to observe.

This interference can cause the really small thing that we are trying to observe to do things that it might not have done if we hadn’t shone the light on it to observe it

BUT

we don’t know what it does unless we observe it, right? Or not.

Yes.

That seems simple enough…

Also, that is a FANTASTIC cat!

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• Hello and welcome to the blog! Exactly that yes; taking any form of measurement involves interfering with the thing you are trying to measure. A bit like if every time you looked at the scales you got lighter and then when you looked away you went back to your normal weight. You wouldn’t actually know your weight, but you may be able to deduce from other phenomena that you are actually quite a bit heavier!

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13. Okay, this is how you know I’ve not been feeling well:
I appreciated that Schrödinger’s cat walked into a bar. And didn’t. I loved Keith’s joke…got that. The dialogue between you and quantumpreceptor: check, because his thoughts sidled up along my vague ones. Dave Ply: Null. I get that, “I don’t know” is also a valid conclusion.

But I swear, Joe, even though I usually get a glimmer, I was unable to get past “All this feline chatter,” meaning The Sub-Title, not the text following it! One of my other selves, in one of those many other worlds, must have gotten all the deep thinking instincts this morning.

I’ll catch up. Eventually 😀

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• Hello Pearl! Indeed I appreciate this one is a little dense; but I am sure it will click in place sooner or later! The case of Schrödinger’s cat is a very interesting but mind-bending quirk of quantum mechanics

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• Very true, indeed! Ah well, even when things fly over my head, I still learn something – in this case, a really funny joke!!! But, yes, I’m sure the light bulb will go off over my head at some point 😀

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14. Hi Joseph – read this most useful discussion when issued and agree with your preference for information and have since had opportunity to cover it ever so briefly in my blogging.

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• Hi Richard – hope you are well and thank you very much! I am glad that once more we share some common ground

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• Your most welcome and I’ve been wanting to refer to a couple of your posts in what was in my ‘pipeline’. Sorry for inserting links shortly after instead of before publishing.

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• Not a problem at all, you are most welcome to use as you please!

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15. Btw, preferred clarity of your previous Gravatar’s photo

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• It is a little fuzzy – point taken!

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• It’s ok – superb smile. Which reminds me to change from my summer hols shot.

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16. Pingback: Conscious thought and fuzzy reality·

17. I look forward to reading your post when I’m not brain dead from exhaustion. It looks very cerebral and humorous which I need more of.

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• I do hope you enjoy!

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18. Pingback: What happens behind my back?·

19. Remind me to never let you babysit my cat 😉

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• A very good idea!

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20. Pingback: Saving the Present·

21. I’m glad to see more people realizing that nothing is random. It is just our observation skills and lack of in depth experimentation on such a small world which leaves us puzzled to what actually goes on.

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