Schrodinger’s Vax

By Spiralz — Flickr, CC BY 2.0,

You’re either vaxxed or you’re not, right?

Wrong. Maybe you took one for the team, Team Humanity, or maybe you opted for ‘freedom.’ Still, whatever you did or didn’t do, the jab is not the vaccine.

A vaccine is a biological agent that provides immunity to a specific infectious disease. The jab gets the agent into you but if the right sequence of immune system events does not subsequently unfold, no acquired immunity is produced. And no vaccination, just a jab.

You hear the term, ‘compromised immune system’ a lot these days. It sounds like stakeholders struck some kind of a backroom deal, like the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Uh, no.

Compromised is a polite way of saying, broken and when you say, broken, it’s easier to understand why the jab may not result in a vaccination. The process didn’t happen right because of the broken parts. No antibodies were produced in reaction to the biological agent.

It seems like it should be simple enough to test for the presence of the antibodies post-jab and at least the immune status would be certain. But of course it isn’t simple because it takes more than one test and there can be high rates of false negatives and false positives, but most of all — They Say Nothing About Tomorrow.

Ignoring for the moment all the uncertainties involved in antibody testing itself, there is no expiration date included in the results. The results are by definition irrelevant, or at least certainly not conclusive, a snap shot of the past.

As the quantum physicist Carlo Rovelli explains, we can observe and measure and learn certain features of the universe. But when we are not observing and measuring, we have no idea what’s going on and it feels as if the universe is saying, “Don’t Ask!”

My lymphocyte count (white blood cells) is low and one class of lymphocytes, called B-Cells, are pretty much MIA for me. Blood cancer and chemo. People like me were specifically not included in the initial mRNA-style vaccine research and when the first focused studies did emerge, the results weren’t great. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines don’t produce much immune response at all for people with blood cancer like mine. Not even a 50/50 chance.

Mis-Shapen B-Cells in CLL, from Wikipedia

Johnson & Johnson’s is a classic, non-transfection, vaccine. I received it yesterday. There are no studies I am aware of that estimate the odds that I am actually in the process of being vaccinated, not just jabbed. I look at it as 50/50.

Schrodinger’s Cat is the most famous life-and-death thought experiment in quantum physics. Erwin Schrodinger, the man who wrote the equation that is the foundation of the entire field, also imagined the consequences of his probabilistic world. He imagined a cat in a box with an air tube that will introduce poison into the box if a particle connected to a device on the box decays. There’s a 50/50 chance either way.

While we are not looking and not observing and measuring, the cat is considered to be in both states at once — dead and alive. It is not clear how this is possible, being in two states or two places at once. All we know is it has been experimentally confirmed over and over so that applied technologies like quantum computing are already making use of this apparent capability of nature.

Yogi Berra said, ‘when you come to a fork in the road, take ’em both,’ and as usual, he nailed it. This is exactly what the universe does. Until we peek.

Quantum physics is said to be impossibly strange, stranger even than Chia Pets. But I’m not sure. I like some people and I also don’t like them at the same time. I agree and disagree with certain propositions. Definite features are not a characteristic of my inner experience. It’s a characteristic of rationality, materialism, and science.

My vaccination status is in superposition. Maybe I’m making antibodies right now while I’m writing these words, maybe I’m not. Both are true. I have achieved quantum immunity.

If we observe and measure me, we will reduce uncertainty a little about the immediate past, without providing any definitive answers about the future.

To me, the behavioral implication is clear. Quantum physicists who follow Hugh Everett’s interpretation of quantum physics believe that the probabilistic Schrodinger’s Cat, and my Vax, split into separate worlds that are closed to each other. Whether this happens or not, my plan is to keep my attention in the world where I’m not vaxxed. Even though I got the jab, anticipating risk undiminished by that experience is the obvious way to play this hand.

Because of my broken immune system, the probabilistic nature of my internal defense is very clear. To some extent, the fuzzy nature of immune status is true for everyone. Everyone’s vax is in superposition and no one’s measurement will tell them when it expires.

In that way, I am fortunate to have the potentially false sense of security so apparent. Often, when we attempt to mitigate risk, the way we behave afterwards just ratchets it up more. Improving protective equipment in football ends up causing more injuries and more serious injuries because players feel that they can play more recklessly.

I got the jab and so far it is easy to resist any inclination to go off into Vaxxed-World in my mind. I am content with my Schrodinger’s Vax.




Learning Technologist focusing on VR, Video, and Mortality … producer of Less Than One Minute and 360 degree videos

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Tom Nickel

Tom Nickel

Learning Technologist focusing on VR, Video, and Mortality … producer of Less Than One Minute and 360 degree videos

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