Lets take computer games as an example (because I love gaming). In Need For Speed Underground 2, I once had a cheat code that lets me freeze the camera position while the car still going, when the car goes too far from the camera position the objects (buildings, other cars, road,..etc) start to disappear and the world goes black. Why ? because the memory of the PC is too little to hold all the rendered objects at once, so to overcome this problem the PC renders only the objects around the car, like a virtual circle around the car and moving with it, if the object is inside this circle then it’s loaded, if outside it’s not. This way you feel the world of the game real because it’s visible wherever you goes to, but you don’t see what’s happening in the background of the game to deliver this immersive realism.
Just like in computers, particles are in unknown state unless they are being observed, at this moment your mind renders them to see them the way they are. This takes us to Schrödinger’s cat, one of the proofs to the superposition principle of the quantum theory (the one I understood so far..)
Imagine a cat is placed in a room that is shielded from the environment. A Geiger counter and a little bit of a radioactive element are in the room. Within some time, say one hour, one of the atoms of the radioactive element may decay, or it may not. The Geiger counter can of course measure that. If it does measure the decay, it will release some poisonous gas, which will kill the cat.
The question now is: at the end of the hour, is the cat alive or dead?
Schrödinger’s interpretation is that as long as the door is closed, the cat is both dead and alive in dual superposed quantum states. When the door is opened, the quantum states are made known and the cat is observed to be either alive or dead.
This means that you can define the state of a particle only when you observe it, just like in the game, you can only see the object when you go around its position.
So we can say that particles are like data that make up the objects in a computer, your body is like the car in the computer game and your mind is like the computer’s memory and processor. The particles are out there, invisible to the car, unless you approach it.
This shows us how the digital world and the nature as it is, have a lot in common in concepts and structures.
We imitate the nature in our lives, in anything we do but we just don’t know it. And we also discover more and more by doing stuff and figuring out in the end that nature does it.