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Sheeeesh! 3 quantum physics theories that will have you thinking different

My mind is always full of questions, which can be annoying AF when I’m trying to live in the moment, but whatever, I am who I am.

Sometimes I like to drive myself crazy with reading psych theories and questions even though they make my head hurt.

There are a couple of theories that have astounded me from the moment I came across them to many revisits later.

Shoutout to The Quantum Lifetime’s consciousness podcasts, which have seriously fucked me and the way I see the world up.

Schrödinger’s Cat

In 1935, astrophysicist Edwin Schrödinger came up with what scientists and psychologists call a thought experiment.

You can find the theory word for word, but lemme sum it up as simply as I can.

You’ve got this cute kitty locked up in a hunky steel container. Why’d you put it there? I don’t know, you tell me.

Inside that container, there’s a tiny bit of radioactive substance that has a 50% chance of decaying and a Geiger counter that will release poison if it does.

If the subatomic particles do decay, the cat will in turn be poisoned and die. If the particles do not decay, the cat lives.

Now, imagine moments before you open up the box and look at the fate of your poor cat. This is where the thought experiment poses two intriguing questions:

A. Before the container is opened and checked, the cat is in a state of non-being: neither alive nor dead, that is, until the action is forced to have an outcome.

B. What is the larger outcome here? You’re forcing the cat’s state of being by opening up the box… But who, in turn, is opening yours?

The Double Slit Experiment

This one is considered the “Granddaddy of all quantum weirdness.”

To get a clearer understanding than I could ever give you, watch this video:

So we have an object full of electrons aimed at a screen with an open vertical slit. Behind the screen is a plain wall. If we start to shoot the electrons at the vertical slit, assuming the electrons stick to the wall, we get a singular mirror vertical-pattern.

When adding a second vertical slit and shooting electrons at the screen, rather than two parallel vertical patterns appearing on the wall, scientists observed what they call an “interference” pattern: many vertical lines; the weakest being the furthermost outward, the strongest meeting in the middle.

These patterns behaved the same way the frequency of a wave would.

Scientists considered that maybe the electrons were bouncing off one another in chaos, causing the random lines to form, so to test this out, they shot them at a much slower pace to ensure they were not hitting each other. They still got an interference pattern.

Something was going on here, the only conclusion was that before the electron reached the vertical slits, it acted as, or became, two electrons rather than one. So they took it one step further and added a device that would allow them to view the electrons to see which slit they were going into.

And this is where shit got really weird.

After implanting a device that would allow them to view the electrons, the electrons suddenly formed only two vertical-slit patterns on the wall.

Wait, what?

Yup, upon the act of being viewed, the electrons changed their entire pattern process.

What on earth does this mean?

While no one knows, I will refer back to the experiment of Schrödinger’s cat; something about our physical sight seems to force outcome events. Whether or not these outcomes are random is still up for debate, but if we hold this much power in the way things play out, then there’s something much greater to say about the metaphysical world.

The EPR Paradox

The homie Albert Einstein, along with his colleagues Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen, decided to question the validity of quantum mechanics and its inconsistency within the law of physics.

Einstein was a little salty arguing with Niels Bohr, who developed quantum mechanics. They came up with a thought experiment, or rather a paradox, that essentially proves matter acts differently than we may think it does.

The EPR Paradox, summed up, states that a “0-spin particle” decays into two separate particles; Particle A and Particle B.

With the risk of making up my own numbers, let’s say Particle A has a spin of +1 and Particle B has a spin of -1. This would make the original particle’s spin zero.

Sounds simple, right? Scientists know that this much is true, but the question that arises when studying these numbers is: How do both particles know what the other’s spin is?

There are two theories that explain this:

  1. There is an instantaneous communication between the two particles that let one another know the charges.
  2. Einstein believed that this was a proof for “hidden variables,” or other factors at play that were a violation of the theory of relativity.

For a simple explanation, as well as Bell’s Theorem which I’m not going to get into today, check out this video below:

To sum up, the universe in which we live in has many more factors at play that we are not aware of, and probably won’t be for a long time.

What’s most interesting to me is the very act of sight. Something about our sight seems to force the occurrences in our everyday life. Taking this a step further, what role does sight play in our world? And if sight has altered outcomes, what does that say about our daily life?

If we can get to the bottom of this, it seems that the power of changing our universe lies in the palm of our hands.

Or more specifically, our retina.