Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Quantum Superpositional Dating

This was the hardest question on the 45-minute survey of attitudes toward Palestine/Israel conducted by the Big Gay Synagogue:

I am:

  • single
  • partnered
  • married
  • widowed
  • divorced
  • separated
  • in a steady relationship (e.g. boyfriend/girlfriend)
  • in a polyamorous relationship
  • it’s complicated
  • other, please explain: _____________________________

Seriously. They covered their bases!

I waffled for a while among single, poly, complicated, and "other," all the while wondering why it was so difficult to make a selection. After all, unlike most such surveys, this list includes options that actually apply to me!

The hard part was picking just one. And it got even harder if I wanted to pick one that not only was true today, but also was likely to still be true by the time someone got around to counting my responses. I had a creepy feeling that clicking one of the options would somehow jinx the situation - that by presuming to measure or define my relationship situation, I would somehow introduce new complications, and make my response instantly obsolete. It's like the dating version of Schrödinger’s Cat.

The Schrödinger’s Cat thought experiment describes a phenomenon known as quantum superposition. In extremely simplified terms, this means that multiple physical states occur simultaneously. Inside a sealed box, where you cannot measure or witness what's happening, the hypothetical cat is both alive and dead. Once the box is open, possibilities collapse. You can't check on the cat without affecting the outcome.

Actually, given the attitude of [a person whose relationship with me is a quantum superposition of its own] toward my cat, let’s drop the metaphor.

Measuring reality necessarily alters it. Making the decision to click on a radio button alters my thoughts about a relationship, so it alters the relationship. I appreciate the plentitude of options. But I don’t really want to pick one. I guess I find quantum superpositional relationships sexy.

It's sort of like the opposite of Intro Stats Meets Dykes to Watch Out For.

Then a friend reminded me of another sexy implication of Schrödinger’s Cat – quantum fetish mechanics. You’ll never think about kink the same way again.


GregB said...

Really nicely said! Like the "cat", your post here makes me think about what's possible if we ignore categories or pick new ones.

In other words, what definitions are possible for the cat besides alive and dead? (those are pretty all-inclusive, but it's what occurred to me based on the original seemingly exhaustive list of relationship categories).



Dane said...

Possible cat categories (as they occur to me):

claws out
making cute faces

Dane said...

Another example of Schrodinger webcomics: