June 02, 2022

We are Schrödinger's cats with unlimited capabilities

I am not a physicist, especially a quantum physicist, but I do have a fondness for cats and a love for Schrödinger’s cat, especially for what it represents, metaphorically speaking.

Schrödinger's cat is a mental experiment, also described as a paradox. It was invented by the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935. It represents what he saw/recognized as the problem in the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics in its application to everyday life.

In the convention the protagonist is a cat, which can be both alive and dead, its condition being linked to a previous random event. The mental experiment is commonly found in theoretical discussions of quantum mechanics’ interpretations.

You could argue, why bother, why to trouble our heads with something new?

And yet, if we look at the bigger picture, this cat in the box represents all of us.

Because it might be inside the box, but we don't know whether it's alive or not, what its condition is. The cat's fate seemingly hangs on an event that may or may not happen on its own. At the same time, practically speaking, its fate also depends on what it does. Will it come out of the box, tamper with any mechanism while it's hidden and out of the researchers’ sight.

There are too many alternatives as well as too many chances for each of them to happen.

I like this theory so much, because it shows that we all have unlimited capabilities for anything…

Something that will either lead someone to existential crises, because anything can happen, or it will get someone out of existential crises because again, anything can happen and technically, if you support the theory of parallel universes, it's already happening/happened/will happen.

Every single one of us (and we're talking about over seven billion people) has an infinite chance of doing literally anything in this life. Everything is decided by our choices.

Every small choice, however insignificant it may seem, can be the cornerstone for something bigger in the future, the first step in our evolution.

When we are faced with choices (I'm not telling about which cucumber to buy in the supermarket), we are also transported into a box, we become cats and for a few moments, while we’re trying to decide, we theoretically choose everything and branches open up before us.

And yes, circumstances may lead us to this or that choice, but it is up to us what we’ll do in the end (except in very extreme circumstances).

Others may have put us in certain situations, may have caused circumstances (such as putting the cat in the box in a condition of possible death), but how we will choose to react is up to us.

To avoid misunderstandings, I'm not saying that we should all have total control over everything and always make the right choice. Although we are sharp-eyed like cats, we cannot predict with certainty where the choice we make will lead. We only know that it will lead somewhere.

Therefore, should you keep anything from this article, that would be that it is better to make choices than to remain inactive due to some fear of making the wrong choice.

I understand that there are infinite options out there and things would be a lot easier if the universe decided for us, but then the 'Life' concept wouldn't be any fun.

After all, if everything and everywhere is going to happen, it is better to choose which way we want to move and make the choices we think are best for us, rather than letting the tangle of life (yes, cut pun again!) unfold and just happen without ourselves being active players.

They said it also in Para Pente (Greek TV series), “they placed us somewhere for an unknown reason; how we’ll deal with it, is up to us”.

Let us enjoy the moments of infinity among our choices and let the rest of ourselves in the multiverse deal with the ones we didn't make.

Photography by the Photography Team of TEDxAUTH 2022

Anastasia (Natalia) Mouza

She goes by Natalia (just to keep the mystery alive!). Graduate of the School of Psychology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. If you cross paths with her on the bus, she’ll most likely be lost in her own world, listening to heavy metal bangers. She claims to be a big fan of glitter and in her free time she may be found drinking tea, reading books or losing braincells on Netflix. Her philosophical inquiries know no end, but if you confide in her, she won’t breathe a word of it– she’ll listen to your problem and do anything in her power to help. In case you lose sight of her, she’s likely to be found under a pile of crosswords.

Savvas Katsidonis (he/him)

Born and raised in the sunny island of Rhodes, he found himself striving to adapt to the new rules and vibes of a megacity, which he now loves. A book-enthusiast and travel maniac daydreaming about the past, the future, the history in general. Volunteering, learning new languages and taking photos of everyone but himself are just some instances of his life, when he does not sleep or watch series.

Foteini Patinari (she/her)

Raised between Thessaloniki and Nuremberg, she loves exploring different worlds and words, so inevitably fell in love with translation. She likes to learn new things and is convinced that travelling, and reading are the best ways to do so. A walk with her dog, a great book and a yummy chocolate is what she needs, when she feels lost (in translation). A control freak at heart, she finally starts to embrace the chaos of life and enjoy it, singing “getting away with it -all messed up- that’s the living”…

Leave a comment

Get in touch

This independent TEDx event is operated under license from TED.