Schrödinger's Cat

At any given time, we carry around with us thousands of views, opinions, and beliefs, and often regard them as facts. Today I was reminded of the story of Schrödinger's Cat by an Apple Distinguished Educator who wore a T Shirt declaring Schrödinger' Cat is Not Dead.

Schrödinger's Cat: 

A cat, along with a flask containing a poison and a radioactive source, is placed in a sealed box shielded against environmentally induced quantum decoherence. If an internal Geiger counter detects radiation, the flask is shattered, releasing the poison that kills the cat. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that after a while, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when we look in the box, we see the cat either alive or dead, not both alive and dead.

Part of the premise, as I (barely) understand it, is that reality is influenced by us observing it. If we were not observing, what would be happening would be different.

I guess what this says to me, is it is very hard to be very certain about anything. In fact, it's quite likely that the more certain I am, the less likely it is that I am fully informed.

This sounds somewhat esoteric and confused, but the point I am taking from it is that I find it increasingly important to be open-minded.

I used to think I knew so much. I am a passionate person and tend to be strongly opinionated. I still am when it comes to many things such as the importance of equality of opportunity, the importance of valuing the whole child in the learning process, and the aesthetic beauty and operational beauty (simplicity, effectiveness and efficiency of use) of all things Apple, the importance of family, the importance of preserving our beautiful world and so on.

I am becoming increasingly aware that in reality I know so little. Schrödinger''s cat is a very small example of a whole world of understanding that is completely beyond me in terms of physics. And what of politics, religion, science, art, literature, politics? I have so many small and imperfectly formed kernels of information, and yet even with such a small reserve to draw on, I find it all too easy to make sweeping statements, hold untested opinions and claim understanding that simply has no foundation of merit.

I have changed my thinking about parochialism and realised the need to see not just our ANZAC neighbours as whanau but all nations. The selfless acts of the workers at the Fukoshima Nuclear Plant, and the Japanese USAR volunteers who came to Christchurch and showed such reverence for human life, are just two examples of why we should see our world as a whānauhood.

I have changed my mind about thinking, realising that what we refer to as what 'we think' is actually often based on too little thinking and too little information. A truer phrase might well be, "I assume".

I have spent too long assuming too much, and must become more open minded. My action goal needs to be to listen more, and assume less. As a colleague once taught me, "When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me."

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