Can Prayer Save Schrodinger’s Cat?

A few days ago, while surfing the net, I came across a one-line joke that sounded like this: “How can a religious man save Schrodinger’s cat? He prays before opening the box.” For those who are not familiar with quantum physics and the interesting disputes generated by its various interpretations, I want to start by saying a few words about Schrodinger’s famous cat.

As the amazing discoveries of quantum mechanics point out, when unobserved, atomic particles exist in all possible states. It is only the act of observation (or measurement) that forces a particle to collapse into a definite state. Schrodinger devised a thought experiment to show us the possible implications of this fact in everyday life. The experiment involves placing a cat in a sealed box with a deadly mechanism. The probability of finding the cat dead or alive is 50-50. According to the principles of quantum mechanics, the cat is simultaneously dead and alive until the box is opened and an observer comes into the equation.

Of course, this hypothesis sounds ridiculous, as it completely defies shared sense. According to everything our experience and senses tell us, a living being can be either dead or alive, never both at the same time. Something can either exist or not. But then again, doesn’t faith and prayer defy shared sense in addition? Until God decides one way or another, we live in a world of endless possibilities. As long as we haven’t opened the box – and future is always a closed box to us – God has the strength to change the time of events.

So many times, I found myself praying for the success of an event that had already occurred – such as an exam, a surgery, etc. My shared sense used to say: “What’s the point of praying for it now? Isn’t it a bit too late?” But there was another voice that echoed thorough inside, an unexplainable certainty telling me that no, it wasn’t too late. Yes, the event might have taken place, but as long as I didn’t know the results, things could nevertheless be changed.

To God, nothing is impossible. in addition most of the times, he seems to prefer the more subtle miracles to the ones that blatantly defy the physical laws of the universe. That doesn’t average that the latter don’t occur. They are just a little rarer. For some reason known only to him, God prefers to work in mysterious ways, in ways that are as hidden from our eyes as the fetus inside the womb and the germinating seed in the bosom of the Earth. This hidden space where God likes to perform most of his miracles is the unobserved reality, the world of endless possibilities, the box where the cat is both dead and alive.

So maybe, indeed, prayer can save Schrodinger’s cat. Once we’ve opened the box and the outcome is in front of our eyes, it is more difficult to change it. If the cat is dead, a miracle would include a resurrection, which, in turn, would bring a sheer violation of the physical laws. It is not impossible, but it takes a lot of faith, far more than we can manage at the best of times. But while the box is closed, God can work in his favourite way – mysteriously – and sprinkle our path with little miracles that can make our faltering faith grow stronger and stronger.

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