Frank Mundo the book columnist for the LA Books Examiner asks some pretty tough questions. Frank just reviewed my book (and a rather nice commentary too—I’ll post it soon. In the meantime, you can read it here).
He then followed up his review with some intriguing interview questions.
There was one question, though, about art versus commercial success, that really hit home.
That question, in fact, got me to thinking about this…
Have you heard of Schrödinger’s cat?
Erwin Schrödinger was a physicist who, pondering the matter of quantum mechanics, contemplated the possibility of a cat being both alive and dead. At the same time.
You see, one of the tenets of quantum science is that it might just be possible for an element (a particle, an atom, a molecule) to exist in all possible states, all at the same time.
Which, I suppose, led Schrödinger to wonder if that might, perhaps, apply to a cat—could it be both alive and dead?
Which, I suppose, makes most of us cringe (or scoff) at the absurdity of it all.
Which, however, led me to wonder—if quantum science is correct—if there can be more than one outcome, is anything, in fact, mutually exclusive?
Which, of course, remained somewhat rhetorical as a question, because to my knowledge, there hadn’t been any real evidence that quantum science was correct.
Until I saw a New Scientist piece, retweeted by Mike Cane, that speaks of a laboratory experiment in which a strip of metal was made to both oscillate and not oscillate at the same time.
Can it be true?
If a strip of metal can be made to simultaneously move and not move, is it true that the concept of mutual exclusivity exists more in our minds than in fact?
Further, if that’s true, is it also true that, in our everyday lives, we often arrive at decisions based on a concept—that of mutual-exclusivity—that is outdated and erroneous?
I mean how often do we believe that it has to be A or B, This or That?
Even worse, think of how often we frame those mutually exclusive choices in one of two ways: i) desirable but risky, ii) undesirable but safe.
And, think of how often we put ourselves in a position of choosing between; Something we want to do versus something we have to do. Or Something that’s meaningful but unprofitable versus something that pays well but sucks the creativity right out of us.
Or…..as Frank put it in his interview question, How do you reconcile art with commercial success?
All to say that maybe, just maybe, the question shouldn’t be, Should I choose this or that?
Maybe the question should actually be, How can I get both?
And, maybe, that’s exactly what Schrödinger meant.
Questions? Ideas? Suggestions? Please leave a comment.