Being in a Relative State

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I anxiously awaited Dr. Anderson.  I felt like I had Alzheimer's.  We don't have a full theory for Alzheimer's, but he had a theory to treat me.  Yes, it was more a theory than a treatment he'd warned.
Anderson was straightforward, brilliant and most of all innovative.  After all, he discovered recombinant DNA applications for schizophrenia.  He'd already told me I hadn't any ordinary Alzheimer's; another D.M. said it was just "old age".  I'm not old.  Why, I've just passed my Century Mark, and I'm ready to pursue my new career in exobiology.  
He swept in confident but concerned.  He started, "Your disorder's quite baffling.  You are perfectly healthy, but like so many, you are phasing in and out.  You have the so-called Phoenix Encephalitis, with no precise symptoms, except neurological instability.  It's called that because it was first diagnosed in Phoenix.  It appears you are on the verge of dying.  Your brain scans suggest you're at times simply fading away."
I was stunned.  Was this better than dementia?  He continued, "Until now we've had no theory of what is happening.  The conclusion I've come to is that you are actually shifting into an unstable quantum state."
I was floored.  All I stammered was, "What...?"  Macro quantities don't exist in indeterminate quantum states, I thought.  People don't exist in a quantum state.  I told him, "My nerves are no more in a quantum state than that chair!"
"Well" he responded, "human consciousness is a quantum-mechanical state like that chair.  Physical objects can be in a state of superposition; that is, existing in all their possible states at one time.  That's the basic process of qubit technology.  My theory is that your consciousness is in a superposition causing your instability."
"Wow!  What causes that?"
His reply was both disheartening and encouraging.  "You know that there's a lot of recent problems with qubit computing, which uses superpositioning.  It appears there has been phase interference from indeterminate sources, and I think it's causing your disorder too.  We don't know, but if I' right, we might be able to stabilize you."
"You mean keep me from dying!"
"Yes, but it's theoretical and you would be the first patient to try this radical approach.  I won't minimize the risks.  Your odds are slim, but otherwise your days are quite short."
"So, what do I have to lose but a few days?  But what's the treatment?"
Anderson replied, "It's not all of you that's in superposition, just the neural nets that lead to your sense of consciousness.  We've been able to monitor that for decades using a SQUID."
Shocked, I retorted,  "A squid! You can measure my consciousness with a squid?"
"No, not a squid, but a 'Superconducting Quantum Interference Device' called a 'SQUID'.  I'll save you the tech, but these extremely sensitive devices can measure the magnetic fields and voltage in neural activity.  Working from those measurements, we can monitor the superposition of your consciousness.  We've done this for years in neurology with non-quantum disorders."
"Okay, I'll bite on the SQUID monitoring, but how do you stabilize me?"
Anderson grew more worried, "This is where it becomes more theoretical and tech.  We know from the first Large Hadron Collider in Texas that bosons in Bose-Einstein condensate have 'peculiar' properties.  The primary one of interest to us is that we can form the condensate at cryogenic temperatures that living tissue can tolerate instead of the near absolute temps usually required."
"So you want to freeze my brain, and then what?"
"Well, yes.  We will have to cryogenically treat your brain and then we can create a Bose-Einstein condensate surrounding your neural network that's in a state of superposition.  We think that may bring you back to normal."
"Why not just shoot me?  It would be easier!  What are my chances of survival?  One in a thousand?"
He replied slowly, "Well, they may not be that high.  The cryogenic freezing and thawing is no problem.  It's done regularly now.  Creating a large Bose-Einstein condensate, while not exactly routine, can reliably be done at the Texas collider.  And, we have experimentally placed living tissue in such states and returned them."  He said in an upbeat tone, "We've done it with whole frog embryos.  The truth is, we're asking you to be the first volunteer for a very risky experimental procedure to help develop a treatment for this plague of Phoenix Encephalitis."
Being a risk taker with little to lose, I said, "If you have the review approval and the means, let's do it."  Maybe I could beat this and make a break-through.  I didn't look like I'd do it in exobiology.
If I hadn't gone through the acres of tech, I'd have thought it was a normal operating room.  Well, there was some strange equipment like the cryogenic tanks oozing fog and the weird condensate generator.  
Anderson said, "Okay, we're going to put you under, and hopefully, you'll awaken in recovery, a little groggy, but feeling stable."
"The cooling went smoothly, as did establishment of the condensate over the neural core.  Then, he expired,"  Anderson wrote in the surgical report.
I felt as good as one can in post-op recovery.  Anderson said the procedure went well, but frankly was surprised it was successful.  He seemed very odd, but I was okay.  The postings in the room were in a strange font I couldn't read, such as "CERN".  Then, they gave me weird stuff called "applesauce."  My stomach turned with deep uneasiness.
My confusion continued when the TV referred to NASA for space exploration.  It sank in when the history channel featured a horrible U. S.  civil war in the 1860's.
Inconsistencies flood in everywhere.  Internal combustion engines are the primary transport here.  But, it's the small things that still shake me.  We have tiny spears here called 'forks' for eating.  
It seems that I've become a true phoenix accepting this strange new universe.  Now, I'll pursue exobiology.
Copyright 2013

About the Author: 
Russell Buckbee is a social worker providing psychotherapy. He enjoys reading reading widely in science including quantum mechanics. Currently he is studying neurology.

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