A Cat in the Cupboard #30 #cong23 #reality


For something as real as reality who knew that writing about it could open so many avenues of exploration. If everyone perceives the world through their own unique perspective/lens, then there are arguably as many realities as there are people in the world! I thought that at least science was absolute in its reality but then I considered that it too is on its own voyage continuous discovery so is only ‘reality for right now’. I want more from reality than potentially shifting sands. So here it is, by starting with Quantum Superpositions (IYKYK) and winding up dead, I’ve shared in this post the four dosage levels for Delusion, my drug of choice for coping with, escaping and changing reality. Don’t take them all at once or you’ll get nothing done for the rest of the day.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Schrondinger’s cat was used as a thought experiment originally designed to reflect Schrodinger’s challenging of the principles of quantum superpositions – something I know nothing about. But the layman’s interpretation is that if you seal a cat in a cupboard with something that can eventually kill it, the cat is both simultaneously alive AND dead until you open the cupboard and reveal which of those two possibilties is real. Is our time on earth just one giant cupboard where any reality is a possibility and any possibility a reality until we are definitively dead?
  2. The reality of life is not all halcyon days of sunshine and flowers. Most of us consider the realities of life something that needs to be escaped or changed at least from time to time. For some that escapism can be medically or chemically induced. I prefer Delusion – flights of fancy, daydreaming, wistful thinking and even hardcore manifesting. What harm can it do.
  3. Having completed this I wonder if I have missed the third path, the path of acceptance. Maybe instead of escaping reality or trying to change it, accepting it is the other option. In a world where we’re constantly encouraged to strive towards something else/other, we might find a greater peace by seeking shelter in place.
  4. Nothing is more real, more incontrovertible and less open to interpretation or perception that being confronted with the reality of death. I can imagine away anything but that.

About Joan Mulvihill:

Joan Mulvihill, career flaneuse, artist and technology evangelist who thinks and talks at the intersection of human creativity and the digitalisation of everything else. Her artistic practice actively informs her thinking on technology and the future of organisations as she fine tunes the balance between being data driven but human led. “We don’t shape the future by having all the right answers but by asking the right questions”.

Joan is the Digitalisation and Sustainability Lead for Siemens, a professional artist, a board member of the Contemporary Irish Art Society (CIAS), the Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII) and the Industrial Research and Development Group (IRDG). An experienced public speaker having addressed Cultural Festivals in France, Music festivals in Ireland and Business Conferences all over.

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By Joan Mulvihill

There is a cat trapped, simultaneously alive and dead, in a cupboard and a tree has fallen outside in an empty forest without making a noise. Who knows. Reality.

I had intended writing something lighthearted this year. It was going to be called, “Delusion, my drug of choice”. Alcohol, cigarettes, trippy tabs or herbally induced hiatus – they will all work for a while, the side effects are high risk and can be brutal. They can even un-real you altogether.

Disappointment is as bad as it gets with Delusion and I can handle that. The trick is managing the dosage. I’ve categorised four dosage levels as follows:

Level 1: Flights of Fancy. This is a small dose, inspired by a passing idea and nothing grounded to too much, dare I say it, reality. Effects lasts 2-3 minutes. Example: Having a ‘running away from home’ moment. Limited impulse control required. Unlikely I’ll quit my job, walk out the door never to return. Low level escapism.

Level 2: Day Dreaming. Higher dosage, may last anywhere from 30 minutes to a few lost hours. Possible but improbable escapism. Effective by staring into space or with eyes closed but may also incorporate artificial external stimulus. Example: Escaping to the country/city. Google searching homes in desirable places that are just out of reach. Low level investments can be made to support the day dream such buying lottery tickets and not checking the numbers. The longer you don’t know you haven’t won, the longer you have won. You’re the cat in the cupboard, all at once a millionaire and not.

Level 3: Wistful Thinking. This can often be confused with the day dream but involves more specific concerns and tends to be more grounded in nature. This is higher level delusion in that you may risk believing the impossible could actually happen. You wist at your peril. Like the Day Dream, external stimulus can support the delusion, e.g. Fortune Tellers, Online Dating Apps, Add to Cart (WARNING – do not proceed to payment, it’s a delusion, you cannot afford it!!!!! ).

Level 4: Manifesting. This is a high dose delusion. Less accidental mind scrolling and more intentional focus. Typically it centres on a very specific outcome, person, object, role. It involves BELIEVING in your delusion. This believing makes it high risk with side-effects including profound disappointment and hopelessness. Best suited to very patient, long-gaming, bouncing back optimists. Not suited to those with rejection intolerances or pessimistic tendencies. Also, just as there is Big Pharma, there is also an emerging Big Mani. Big Mani will have you believe that if your manifestation has not been realised it is because you did not believe enough but if you just buy this other book or subscribe to these coaching sessions, you too can have a better reality. Your delusions can happen. I am a long game optimist who is hardened to rejection. I’ll cope. Just don’t end up in a cult. Stranger things have happened.

Delusion is of course predicated on some desire to ‘change’ reality or at very least escape it for short periods. The thing is that everything is already changing all of the time anyway. Eventually science fiction becomes science fact and even existing science has the potential to be disproven with new theories and hypotheses.

In words of Einstein, “imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world and all there ever will be to know and understand”. See. Einstein was all for a bit of delusion too it seems. It takes imagination to day dream, to have flights of fancy. We’re in good company.

They say as long as there is life there is hope. Maybe it can be just as true to say that as long as there is hope there is life. Schrodinger’s cat is both alive and dead as long as I don’t open the cupboard door. I can keep the cat alive by keeping hope alive and the cupboard door closed. But once I open that door and I see that cat is dead, then there is no hope, and no life. I cannot delude myself to believing the cat to be alive in the face of its very real death. I cannot perceive the cat to be anything but dead once I can see that it is dead. Nothing is more real to me than death. In my experience of life the only thing I can truly categorise as REAL, as immutable, incontrovertible, and irreversible is death. The only reality of life is in fact death. Everything before death is open to interpretation, a function of perspective, discovery, time.

And if I am a cat? Keep that door shut. I am high on delusion and this is surreal.