The blanket and Schrödinger


Last Sunday on Silicon Valley three of the shows best characters went on a thought experiment ride. Jared, Dinesh, and Gilfoyle talked about Schrödinger’s Cat – a quantum physics thought experiment. The gist is a cat is locked in a box with poison. The fate of the cat is unknown to the people outside of the box. Meaning, at that precise moment the cat is both alive and dead. Only when we peek into the box do we force reality onto the situation causing an outcome. So in theory our observing the object inside the box causes the outcome.

I most likely butchered the premise – but you get the point. Once you look inside at the cat then the outcome has been decided.

At the same time this week my daughter phoned us from one of her many stays at her Grandma’s to inform me that she had recently decided to box up her favorite blanket. She said it was time to grow up and put it away. I went all mad dad and demanded that the blanket be removed from the box and for her to not worry about such things!

The tears in her eyes could be felt over the phone – I’m sure sometime in the past I had made remarks about needing to put the blanket up to save it. But I meant more in the distant future when she was heading to college. Far be it for me the man whose childhood teddy bear sits in his daughter’s room as we speak to tell her when to let go of the past.

When she came home the next day I tried to explain to her that there was no need to box up her favorite blanket. That she is just a 6-year-old little girl and to ENJOY her childhood. There was no rush to get to the adult stuff like boxing up your favorite possession. I then went on a rip about never growing up! Don’t do what others want you to do and be an adult – have fun and enjoy life!

While I sit here at lunch on a Friday, the two moments collided inside my head. The cat in the box and my daughter’s blanket. What if your life is inside of a box right now, or was. Right before you open it there are a million ways it could play out. A world-class athlete. A drug addict. Married with 8 kids. Married with no kids. An astronaut. Anything and everything you could think of all happening at once! Then you opened it up and BAM! There was the start of a series of events that will lead you to right now. Can you remember the moment when you let go of everything that could be and you ended up here? Was it worth opening up the box? What if instead of opening it up you just threw the box away and did everything?  What if putting a blanket in a box is opening up something else?

Very deep for a dad – but I think there is that feeling with a lot of us. That even though we wouldn’t trade our families or loved ones away for a different future, that somewhere a long the way we remember a point in time where an event caused the life we have today and we wish we would have done things different. We wish we would have kept the lid on the future closed and just did it all instead of this. That having infinite potential for everything was so much more colorful and exciting then being good at numbers and copying papers.

I don’t want my little girl to box up a blanket – I want her to be a kid forever. Even if it’s just a kid at heart. I want her to hold onto her blanket and look at that life box and imagine all of the things she could be and try them all!! Don’t open the lid and pick one path – live the infinite possibilities and get everything you can out of the short time you have.

I’m sure there will be some asshole out there that might read this and think to themselves, “Well that’s the problem with today’s world, no one wants to grow up and be an adult!”. No, that’s the problem with the world, EVERYONE wants to grow up and be an adult. Adults cause war, poverty, global epidemics, etc. Adults become greedy and self-centered and we create these horrible situations in life that we then force our children to deal with instead of being kids.

How quickly would it all go away if we thought like a child? How happy would we all be if instead of us living out one life we thought we should, we shared in the joy of life and tried everything with everyone? We kept the lid down as long as we could. Each of us lived out a million possible potentials while loving each other like we did when we were kids.  Meh maybe nothing would get done and the world would fall apart.  But would it really be worse then what we are living in today?

Maybe we are all living out a life we didn’t want and we just want our blankets back…

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