Tag Archives: behaviour

Will Schrödinger’s Cat Help You Win The Lottery? It Depends…

Today’s Imponderable:

I, like most normal human beings, hate getting bad news.  So, when I got some today, it got me thinking about whether getting bad news really is unavoidable…

If you’re a fan of The Big Bang Theory TV series, you’re probably familiar with the basics of the Schrödinger’s cat thought experiment.  If you’re not, the experiment essentially revolves around the idea that if a cat is placed into a box with a vial of poison – which can randomly break open and kill the cat at any given time – the cat can be thought of as both alive AND dead, until the box is opened and the truth discovered.  (forgive me, science nerds, for my glib interpretation).

This logic can, I suppose, also apply to news that we’re about to receive.  If we know that we’re about to learn something, but we don’t know what, we can assume that the news will be both good AND bad, until we finally learn it.  But, if that’s true, do we (the recipient of the information) have any influence on the kind of news that we receive?

I’m sure you’ll agree that, for some reason, positive life events and negative life events tend to cluster.  Good days tend to become better and bad days become worse…  I’m not sure whether it’s the law of attraction – which describes that “like attracts like” – or some other force not featured on Oprah, but, in my experience, this just seems to be the case.  Knowing that, I wonder if we can alter the kind of news that we’re about to receive simply by attending to it when the environment is already attuned to the positive.

Take the lottery, for example.  When you play, you can assume that your numbers are both winning numbers AND losing numbers, until you check the results.  If, however, you check your numbers on the day that you lose your job, as opposed to the day that you’re hired into a better position, will it change the results?

I suppose that we can never really know, without having access to parallel dimensions, just how much of an influence we have on our environment.  Perhaps, like Neo from The Matrix, we, too, should try to recognize that “there is no spoon,” and guide our circumstances by manipulating the only real variable in the equation… ourselves and our perceptions.  But, then again, we might look a little strange if we stick our fingers in our ears and dart away every time that we expect to hear some bad news.

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