Schrödinger’s Hat

Discussion in 'After Effects' started by greencow117, Nov 14, 2010.

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  1. greencow117

    greencow117 New Member

    Some days I think I live life through the looking glass; other days I know that I’m merely looking through a glass, darkly.

    No doubt I’ve already alienated some of the people reading this. Perhaps they’ve already assumed that reading any further will merely issue forth the stench of pseudo-literary pretension that come with overused references.

    They might just be right, even if glass is no mere metaphor to me. Synesthesia makes sure of that.

    You see, there’s impostor who holds me in a prison of glass. He’s amiable, capable, and seems to be more than able to maintain a functional existence in society. He occasionally likes to think that he smokes Gauloises in that French existential way, trench coat glistening in the twilight, the Clint Eastwood of philosopher-poets (hence the tired phrases). He’ll tell the rest of the world that what I tell you is fiction, that I am fiction, realising that nobody cares enough to see that the identity he masks himself with is fiction. He’ll even try to narrate my real world existence, thinking I’m just another character somewhere far away from his urban habitat, far into the headlands, buried in a plot between self-destructing androids and schoolyard arsonists: after all, he is the one whom I live through, whom I live in; and I’m just a voice in his head.

    But he knows that I am his apotheosis; I am his addiction; and I am his all. He knows he is just part of a symbiosis: he the apathetic puppet with a real world presence, and me the emotional core that transcends it in favour of a heaven of imaginary ideals (or a Heaven of Platonic Forms, for the philosophically inclined). And of course, the rest of us know that glass is fragile.


    Some days I blow molten glass bubbles into his left ear, Break the glass and start the alarms. Oh, and don’t forget the fire.

    He ignores me. He likes the way his life is. He gets good grades and plans to follow the career he wants.

    I remind him that he will dislike the deadlines, restrictions, and politics.

    He buries his face in Bernoulli. He plugs his ears with Beethoven. He hopes they can talk louder than I can.

    I remind him that they aren’t on the syllabus of life the world has assigned him.

    He says that it’s not the world’s fault. He explains how everyone else is a victim of the same system. He reasons that it all happened naturally due to human nature, which is in turn a result of the very fabric of reality.

    I remind him that this doesn’t make dealing with them any less trivial or futile.

    He tells me it’s the natural progression of his life. He assumes it will mean something one day. He points to how his past had led up to this point in his life.

    I remind him of the Lego cenotaph he built to the childhood he never really had.

    He usually spins out of consciousness right about now.


    Some days I whisper pristine glass shards into his right ear, Break the glass and slice the arteries. Oh, and don’t forget the femoral.

    He suggests that it’s clumsy and might not even work that well. He speculates about how the sphinctoral muscles will contract to close off circulation. He continues on about how the blood is supposed to rush to your central organs.

    I remind him how much he loves the sight of blood.

    He notes that the coagulation will make it look like rotting strawberry jam after a while, and smell like it too. He conjectures that vomit will be part of the pallet that paints the ambience. He contemplates the side effects if it all fails.

    I remind him of what he gets if he succeeds.

    He then drifts to sleep dreaming of what if.


    Next day, I wake him up and tell him of a new method: supposedly 100% success rate if properly done; supposedly no side effects if improperly done. He is visibly impressed.

    But he is ambivalent; he always is. He tells me there are things he would still like to have done. I tell him it’s statistically impossible in the real world. He reminds me that it’s what I want too. I remember that it’s also my apotheosis; my addiction; my all.

    But the world doesn’t work that way. He believes we can still make it that way. I deride his irrational optimism. He says that he knows it’s crazy, but retorts that I believe it too. I don’t deny it, but point out his own scepticism.

    We laugh: at the absurdity of being Buridan’s ass between two haystacks although one is simultaneously superior yet futile, of how apathy and indecision has always crippled us in the past, of how we used to solve it. But flipping a coin doesn’t seem quite momentous enough for the occasion. We should be crossing the edge of Occam’s razor like a tightrope walker, either to be sliced in half and thus simplified, or to get to the other side, like the chicken (we’ve always used humour as a defence – how else is one to react to absurdity?).

    Thus consider Schrödinger’s cat, who resides in a sealed box where there is a 50-50 chance of being dead or alive. Until the box is opened, the universe outside remains indecisive, and must conclude that the cat is dead and alive. We who are poetic choose our poetic devices carefully; just as we who are suicidal choose our suicidal devices carefully. It’s perfect for our life of dichotomies. To be or not to be.


    One day, we look out through our prison of glass, our Schrödinger’s Hat. He dispels the romanticism and says it’s just a cardboard box lined with garbage bags further attached to a complicated series of mechanisms. I tell him to shut up.

    He drops a bearing ball into a Y-shaped tube. Bernoulli provides the Law of Large Numbers that suggests that 117 experiments with roughly 50-50 results are enough to test the 50-50 chance of left or right of the Y, themselves leading to two distinct fates. Beethoven provides the exit music that prevents us from hearing the accessories of Schrödinger’s Hat at work. We fall into medically induced sleep before we know the result: pills, not to kill, just for sleep. Gravity and causality, pulleys and levers - they do the rest.

    Soon there will be being or nothingness, war or peace, crime or punishment; but of course, being asleep, we aren't entirely aware of this.

    Soon we will either die because of the absurdity of the meaning of life, or try to live so meaningfully that death would be absurd, even if trying meant defying all statistical odds.

    Then suddenly, though we knew it wouldn’t be easy, we opened our eyes.
     
  2. plates

    plates Well-Known Member

    What did you see?
     
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