Archive for January, 2013

Jan 31 2013

Consciousness and Schrodinger’s Cat

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I recently came across a Youtube video that explained a famous thought experiment called Schrodinger’s Cat. The idea is that if you put a cat in a bunker with a grenade that has a fifty percent chance of exploding and you seal the bunker, the cat now exists in what is known as a superposition (Einstein’s version of the experiment). In other words, it is both dead and alive at the same time. That is, until you open the bunker door. Once you observe the cat, or what remains of it, the cat is either dead or alive, but no longer both. Your conscious observation forces nature to choose a single one of the two possible outcomes.

In the video, the narrator also explains that just as the cat is linked to the fate of the grenade, so is the observer linked to the fate of the cat. There may be a chain of consciousness that runs in a circle that decides every event in the universe. So A observes B, who observes C, who observes A. We tend to think of consciousness as highly personal–maybe the most personal thing that there is. But what if our individual consciousnesses were actually linked in a network? What if my consciousness is existentially as important to someone else, or even everyone else, as it is to me? Based on the thought experiment, could each of our consciousnesses be an indispensable link in the chain of time? Could a person exist without any other conscious observers to decide that person’s fate?

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