Once you begin a relationship you unknowing enter the Schrödinger box. The relationship is alive in the proverbial box and the relationship is dead inside the box. And what is the fucking box? Our minds...our minds are the fucking boxes.
Let me lay this out. Erwin Schrödinger was an Austrian-Irish Physicist who holds claim to being one of the first forefathers of quantum mechanics. I am not even sure that I understand what the hell that even is. Simply put, quantum mechanics is the study of how atomic particles exist and interact with each other...whatever that means.
How I came to know about Schrödinger was because of his experiment with this cat (which wasn’t really an experiment so much as it was an example of how two completely paradoxical things can be true at the same time).
In Schrödinger's original formulation, a cat, a flask of poison, and a radioactive source are placed in a sealed box. If an internal monitor (e.g. a Geiger counter) detects radioactivity (i.e. a single atom decaying), the flask is shattered, releasing the poison, which kills the cat.
When the box is opened in one universe, a dead cat is revealed. In the other universe, there is a live cat. But there always were two worlds that had been identical to one another until the moment when the diabolical device determined the fate of the cat(s).
So I am no physicist but this makes sense to me. At least to the level I am capable of understanding it...which is at an extremely low level.
I think the same is true for relationships. When we begin them, it is like we place them in a box with the poison gas (behaviors) and a radioactive material (our minds) and then we let the physics of relating happen. And so in one universe the relationship lives and in another it dies...repeatedly.
For me I can see that perhaps my putting my relationships in the fucking box to begin with might just be the crux of my issue. Living so much of my relationships in my head isn’t probably as healthy as I tend to think. And I can see that every time I put them in my head to clunk around in there, I come up with all sorts of crazy notions about pretty much everything.
The truth, for me, is that I do not know what is going to happen. And so this Schrödinger box mind doesn’t really help me at all because both possibilities are always true: the relationship can be alive and well and it can also be poisoned by my thoughts and behaviors which will kill it dead every single time.
I can’t not think about my relationships. I can’t stop putting them in the box, mostly because so much of all my relationships exist in my mind. I mean I have the part where you and I actually relate and interact...then there are the parts where I think and feel about our relationship which go on solely in my mind and you aren’t even involved at all. I mean you are subject to all the shenanigans my mind comes up with as ideas about what is going on, how you feel, how I feel, what should happen, what should not happen. And up until recently, I didn’t see an issue with this practice at all.
But I do now.
It is kind of torturous to live in a constant state of the relationship living and dying all the time. Straddling the world where your loved one and you live out your days in comfort and peace, and also breaking apart and ending. It is a lot to carry around with you all the time. And it isn’t a great deal of fun for anyone either.
I never knew I did this whole Schrödinger box thing until very recently. And now I can see that this more than anything else has been a great source of suffering for all who have had the misfortune of landing in my box mind. This is not just romantic relationships, it is all of them. All the time.
And it is exhausting. Mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically to exist in this place where your most prized and valued relationships are alive and dead at the same time.
The other day I had this revolutionary notion (well to me anyway) that perhaps I could just stop the mechanism of my box mind. I could take out the radioactive material and the poison. I could just dismantle the whole enterprise. But then what would I have? What the fuck would I have then?
I don’t know. I am going to have to get back to you on that. But I am thinking maybe peace. I cannot figure out how it will fail, when it will fail and in what manner. I cannot predict the ending of things any better really than I can predict the success. And all this experimentation has really caused me to feel like I am in the trial run of life. Always trying to think my way out of feeling.
What I realized the other day is that perhaps I am the cat in the box and I am the scientist in charge of when and how the experiment goes down. And perhaps, I have enough data from this whole experimental lab. And perhaps my hypothesis was faulty to begin with...perhaps I am not supposed to know. I am just supposed to be present, honest, open minded and willing and allow God to do the rest.
I have tried to pre-feel my life, always examining it closely for fault lines and incongruities. And so far, all that has really done for me is rob me of peace in the moment. And there have been a lot of moments where the peace has been removed for no other reason than because I thought it so.
So for now, I am turning away from the intellectual pursuits of concrete data and hard facts and just throwing up my hands. I have no idea what I am doing. I do not know how and when to relate. I am lost like a child in a mall and I do not know where to go and that just has to be ok for now. I am not lost in the woods in certain peril. It is just a mall and there are places to eat, and sit and relax and someone will find me eventually. Or perhaps I will find myself when I stop all this diabolical scheming and planning and experimenting.
So I am letting all the cats go, putting the poison gas where one stores such objects and handing the radioactive matter over to those that are better suited to deal with such things.
And I am going to work on the three things that began this whole journey for me in the first place...
Yep, right all the back to step one. Again. Still.
My time as a relational physicist has come to a close. I am retiring and will spend my time doing something, anything else. No more cats, radioactive materials and poison gas. I am going to write, meditate and go for long walks with my dog. And when I get home I am going to give a great deal of love to those cats of mine, telling them the boxes are gone once and for all. And I will work on being still and quiet and allow the lab work to be conducted by those more qualified for such endeavors.
What I have learned is that all my relationships are both alive and dead, so long as they exist in the laboratory of my mind...
No actual cats were harmed in the course of my relational experiments...