Schrödinger’s Cat and the Alternate Timeline

Quick little theory that I had since episode one of Season Six, yet only getting round to posting it now (namely because I had forgotten Schrodinger’s name and therefore couldn’t explain it without reference to his philosophy).

I will firstly refer you to the fountain of all knowledge, so please have a quick gloss over, as you may find Wikipedia easier to understand than my explanation:ödinger’s_cat

Schrondinger hypothesised as follows:

“A cat is penned up in a steel chamber, along with the following device (which must be secured against direct interference by the cat): in a Geiger counter, there is a tiny bit of radioactive substance, so small that perhaps in the course of the hour, one of the atoms decays, but also, with equal probability, perhaps none; if it happens, the counter tube discharges, and through a relay releases a hammer that shatters a small flask of hydrocyanic acid. If one has left this entire system to itself for an hour, one would say that the cat still lives if meanwhile no atom has decayed. The psi-function of the entire system would express this by having in it the living and dead cat (pardon the expression) mixed or smeared out in equal parts.”

If this has melted your head, a simpler explanation was given in FlashForward, Season One, Episode 6 (ironically and interestingly by our very own Dominic Monaghan). Imagine you have a small kitten, and you put it in a box, along with a poisoned sardine. You wait. Assuming the kitten has eaten the sardine, it will have died. If it hasn’t, it is still alive. Up until the point at which you open the box, the kitten is BOTH dead and alive. Two seperate scenarioes.

Now in relation to the bomb. What of it? If it explodes, then I would suppose the Alt. Timeline is the likely consequence. If it doesn’t, the Losties are time-warped back to 2007, and arrive at the Temple etc.

Basically, if this theory of the Schrodinger’s cat applies, it would lead me to believe neither timeline is correct or incorrect, in existence or inexistent. Not until it is revealed what actually happened to the bomb. And dramatically speaking, wouldn’t it be much more interesting if we never found out what happened to the bomb? We don’t have to choose between the two timelines.

The only thing I can’t account for is the conscious leaping from between the timelines. Although if you refer to the an excellent theory by the witty Achalli:, everything fits fine!

PS. Although I read similar theories poking to the same idea as mine, I simply thought I should go ahead and post this anyway, so sorry if you have posted something similar, and if you have, please link me to it as i’d love to read it!

Thoughts guys?

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9 thoughts on “Schrödinger’s Cat and the Alternate Timeline

  1. these ideas have been discussed before buts its such an interesting idea that it always worth going over.

    My only question would be “who is the observer who will eventually open the box to find out which timeline is the real one?”

  2. I think the lost theory websites have the guiness record for most mentions of a theory obscure to 99% of society…lost is really improving all of our knowledge of theoretical physics.

  3. ‘Up until the point at which you open the box, the kitten is BOTH dead and alive. Two separate scenarios’.

    What if the kitten is NEITHER dead or alive. This would mean the kitten ceases to exist.

    In reference to the ATL, neither of them completely exist/are real until proven to be.

    Not too sure where im going with this and I’ve confused myself but when i remember my point il come back.. unless someone can finish it off for me 😉

  4. Cyan Eyed, I highly agree that quantum mechanics is at the heart of what happened with Jughead and the alt univers. Although this isn’t the first time Schrodinger’s Cat has been used, people approach the concept and how it relates to Lost from different angles. One of my earliest posts used a variation of Schrodinger’s Cat called Quantum Suicide (also known as Quantum Immortality). It’s called Schrodinger’s Island and here is the link

    Since that post I have done several others using various aspects of quantum mechanics. read my post “Surfing th Possibility Waves” for another concept known as the transactional concept of quantum mechanics.

    My current thinking on the alt universe is that it has always existed and that Jughead merely linked to it. I agree that there is no need to choose one over the other or to even merge the two. This I have been saying for awhile and I know I’ve been in the minority on this. Being a prolific reader of sci-fi, dealing with the idea of alt universes is nothing new to me and in most cases it is a bad idea to merge two realities, much less link them.

    Very nice theory, I enjoyed reading it.

  5. One more thing, I mentioned the transactional concept of quantum mechanics because it removes the need for an observer all together. This may answer SawyerGirl45’s question.

  6. Thanks Achalli. I enjoyed your theories.
    In response to the first few comments, if we are presumed to be the ‘observer’ of the experiment from the start, it is up to US to open the lid.
    But I have a feeling Lost will not clarify on which universe is the ‘correct’ one, so to speak. If the box is left unopened, both universes MUST exist.
    To Sawyer’sGirl45, I like your reasoning. Although, surely if you look at cat, the only two possibilities are that the cat is alive or dead. I can’t see how the cat reaches a universe where it ceases to exist. Oh. Now I’ve confused myself. Valid point all the same.

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