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Schrödinger wanted people to imagine that a cat, poison, a Geiger counter, radioactive material, and a hammer were inside of a sealed container. The amount of radioactive material was minuscule enough that it only had a 50/50 shot of being detected over the course of an hour. If the Geiger counter detected radiation, the hammer would smash the poison, killing the cat. Until someone opened the container and observed the system, it was impossible to predict the cat’s outcome. Thus, until the system collapsed into one configuration, the cat would exist in some superposition zombie state of being both alive and dead. (read detail here)
Why Is A Zombie Cat Important To Us?
Let us think of the cat as a metaphor for all our fears, deficits and insecurities. If we keep them all shut inside we would never know whether the "cat" (in terms of fears, weaknesses and insecurities) is alive or dead. What do we do then? We check on it. We open the door of our hearts and head and make sure we know where we are. Then, we do something about it.
It hardly matters what we do in life. We could be teachers, engineers, lawyers, architects or chefs. We could be home builders or doctors. All of us have something that we would like to be better at. For some it is communication. For others, it is learning a new language or keeping up with the changing IT structure around the world. Bring out the fear and conquer it.
Another way of looking at the metaphor is for leaders and managers around the world. Without really knowing the people that we work with, all we can do is "assume" that they are doing well and are being looked after. At that time, without us working with them and seeing for ourselves, all we have is a zombie state where it becomes impossible to know whether the team that looks up to us is actually doing well.
So what do we do about this form of our own Schrödinger’s Cat? We MUST know our teams. We MUST know what makes them tick.We MUST invest in the human potential and spend time with them (I have written about it in the past too - here). If we do not know who we work with at a human level, we are not leaders. We merely manage.
Schrödinger claimed that quantum superposition did not work on big organisms like cats (or humans for that matter). We cannot be dead or alive at the same time. But, I think, the basic premise of the thought experiment still holds. Unless we open the doors of our hearts and heads, all we deal with is a lack of knowledge and, quite possibly, zombies.