Book Review | Applying Schrödinger’s Cat paradox to real life

Storytime. Our boy Will Grayson tries to live his life without being noticed and finds romance drama unbearable. He somehow ends up with a crush on a girl called Jane. Or maybe not. He is oftentimes confused about whether he likes Jane or not. She eventually gets tired of Wills indecisiveness and gets back with her ex. And that’s how Will realizes he is in love with her. It’s his thing, you know, he doesn’t want someone in his life until they’re gone. This is a bit familiar. Oh wait! we have done this one time or the other, haven’t we? I hope it’s not only me.

Even though Will likes to think she is not his types, they both like a lot of similar stuff, for eg. a band called Maybe Dead Cats. The name of the band is derived from the famous Schrodinger’s Cat thought experiment. Let me try to explain this experiment as plainly as possible (don’t try this at home)- A physicist, Niels Bohr came up with a quantum mechanics interpretation (Copenhagen interpretation) that says a radioactive atom is literally in two states at once- decayed and not decayed. Another physicist, Erwin Schrodinger, found this interpretation ridiculous. So he came up with an experiment that proves how absurd the interpretation is with his imaginary (emphasis on imaginary), feline friend. He kept a cat in a closed box with some radioactive stuff. The box may or may not release poison depending on the state of the radioactive atom. And as the interpretation says the atom is in both state that means the box contains poison and also does not contain poison, which means the cat is dead and alive at the same time until we open the box and find out if it is alive or dead.

Okay, the physics part is over let’s get back to our confused boy Will. He is in a similar place, he does not know if he wants Jane or not. Maybe the relationship cat is dead or maybe it’s not. Not that he doesn’t want to know, he just doesn’t want to deal with his feelings that will arise if he finds out the cat is dead. After a bit of romantic drama, he finally reaches a conclusion:

Keeping the box closed doesn’t actually keep the cat alive-and-dead. It just keeps you in the dark, not the universe.

And if you thought you’ll never use Physics in your love life then let me prove you wrong. It’s totally possible. Like for a lot of people who avoid taking decisions, for them, it seems that all possible results are happening at the same time and there is a little pleasure in it. But you can’t possibly live like that. Someday or the other you have to open that damn box and deal with what’s in it. You don’t have to live your life with closed boxes. You have to take that risk, and 50% of the times the cat will be alive and that’s a pretty good probability to live with.

In the end, Will and Jane decide to open the box and give it a try. Things are alive for now, but who knows? In the future, it might all fall apart. But that’s okay—Will finally realizes that this stuff is all part of living and loving. He doesn’t want to opt for closed boxes anymore. He wants to pull off those lids and take his chance with what’s inside. Yay!

From the book- Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green.

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