On cats and boxes

“I did tell you I don’t particularly like the cat box analogy. Tell me, what do you know of the original Schrödinger’s thought experiment?”

“Hmm… Only that the cat inside the box which cannot be observed is either alive or dead, because of a mechanism attached to a Geiger counter that breaks a vial of poison. For some complex reason related to quantum theory, the event that causes the vial to break doesn’t actually exist until the box is open, and so the cat is both alive and dead.”

“Close enough. What everyone forgets is that Schrödinger described his box because he wanted to demonstrate what was absurd about the conclusions people make from quantum theory.”

“Quantum physics is confusing as hell, since I understand pretty much none of it, but I don’t think it’s actually absurd. Too many important things are based on it!”

“But it was never meant to apply to cats! That a particle can behave in that fashion is no surprise. You can’t observe a particle while it actually exists anyway. Replace it with a cat, and a physicist knows it’s nonsense. Schrödinger was worried that while hunting for particles, physicists were playing with things that aren’t even real. Caused quite a stir back then.”

“So how did they deal with it?”

“Several interpretations of quantum theory evolved, and they all offer a way for the cat to be either alive or dead, but not both… well, unless they use more than one cat. But even then, what they say exists is sort of a sum of all possible cats.”

“Doesn’t that mean that no way two truths can actually coexist from the physics point of view, and we’re misunderstanding the whole thing?”

“It’s truth about particles. Truth about people is different, and the analogy falls short by mixing the two up. There’s only one cat in the box, which is either alive or dead, it’s just an academic question as long as you can’t open the box. But once the box is opened, it will be answered.”

“Oh. I see. You said that ‘truth about people’ may sometimes not actually exist at all. That would mean that even opening the box might not help. Right?”

“Worse. Conflicting ideas about a particle collapse into one certainty upon measurement when the particle ceases to exist. But the most important things in every person’s world only exist through perception of that world. Truths about people never actually collapse. People just live in different stories.”

“That’s like there’s actually more than one cat in the box, that can’t be right!”

“Replace the cat with love …and it can.”

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This is an Umineko story, so you gotta have tips. Where else the author can be sarcastic about the characters, feed readers veiled hints and blatant falsehoods, and otherwise relax.

After a lot of messing with RenPy, which resulted in reporting at least six bugs in it along the way, I was finally able to cook up a universal mechanism that will also do for any kind of footnotes I might want to add along the way and doesn’t require me to embed text into images. (bleh) Unfortunately I keep tweaking the pixels all the time, so these screenshots change often. :)

Posted in Story, Technology | 3 Comments

Opening novelty

The Rose Gambit is Beatrice’s standard opening move. George’s cooperation is commonly assumed for it to get off smoothly, but it is actually both in his power and in his character to disrupt the event entirely…
…at least until an alternative method of letter delivery is devised.

This is the first significant plot point that causes this story to go off the rails and eventually, completely out of whack. This should have been the first sign for our heroes that extra caution is required. Rika was in a hurry, and didn’t read all the way to the end, which later on proves to have been a bad idea… but let’s not get ahead of ourselves by too much.

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This is a book that has never been written.

It could be because all the participants would prefer to forget this has ever happened. It could be because they really have no memory of it ever happening. It could simply be because nobody saw fit to mention it. This is a story that does not exist, as much as a story can be said not to exist at all, and still be talked about, like we are talking about it now. But there is a place that contains every story ever thought of, whether that story ever existed or not.

We can only guess what it would have been like if it actually existed. We can only guess what it would be like, if we could actually read it.

Let us make a guess.
Because despite the constant fire hazard, manuscripts don’t burn.

This is not mystery. This is not fantasy.
This is research.

Posted in Story | 4 Comments