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Blue to Cream Gradient

Cat in the Box Paradox

A thought experiment, also known as Schrödinger's cat.


A paper had just come out arguing that if an electron might be in four places, then it is in all four places at the same time until someone determines which of the four places it’s in. Like ‘guilty until proven otherwise.’

But that doesn’t make any sense, so what Schrödinger did with this thought experiment was point out how weird that theory is.



The experiment consists of the following:

  • A cat inside of a sealed box with a few radioactive chemicals that might or might not cause a radiation detector to trip a hammer that releases poison into the box and kills the cat.

  • So, according to the theory that electrons are in all-possible-positions until they are measured, the cat is both alive and dead until we open the box to find out if said cat is alive or dead.

  • Therefore, what Schrödinger is saying is that it’s highly improbable that the cat could be simultaneously alive and dead.

The thing is, even if you keep the box closed, the cat doesn’t stay alive-and-dead. Even if you didn’t observe the cat in whatever state it’s in, the air in the box does. This means that keeping the box closed keeps you in the dark, not the universe.


In some ways, you are who you are because other people observe you; but you are also are who you are in spite of other people’s assumptions about you.


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