Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Why did the chicken cross the road?
The first question is impossible to answer according to the ordinary laws of humanly observable nature. This makes the second question all the more difficult, since we cannot answer it unless we discern whether it was the chicken, or the egg, that crossed the road in the first place.
Like Kafka, chickens have provoked controversies over some very important issues. And, as with Kafka, the answers to these questions become harder and harder to find the deeper we get into the mundane circumstances of the chicken’s world. Their lives are a maze of small doors and windows followed by a short plunk on the head in the service of something they will never understand. They know not who their warders are, and their warders won’t even call the chickens (or the eggs) by name.
Note: Cage-free chickens, their owners, and their consumers comfort themselves in the thought that these “free” chickens have been spared the Kafkaesque world of their cousins, but they haven’t – and you don’t need to be Sartre to see through this fowl illusion. Their maze is just bigger and harder to see. This will become apparent when free chickens reach a road.
The explanation provided by quantum mechanics is mathematically elegant and scientifically consistent, even if it’s at odds with the observable universe: The superpositioned chicken and egg coexist in perfect harmony until the very moment you attempt to answer the question. Then you have trouble, because the question forces you to put one thing before the other when in fact their natural state is to coexist in perfect, yet completely reasonable, contradiction. The superpositioned chicken is both egg and chicken, and it is on both sides of the road at the same time.
This is the paradox of Schrödinger’s chicken.
Credit: http://animalphotos.info/a/, photo of chicken crossing road with Schrödinger, or possibly Kafka, disguised as a dog, watching in the background.
Inspiration: http://maghanlusk.com/category/exploration/, “Are You and Antiterminalist?”
See also: “Schrödinger’s cat”
2 responses to “The truth and chickens”
Nice. I like Schrodinger’s chicken. Thank you for putting the philosophical question in these terms!
Love the relation wiht Kafka! I did something similar in my blog, it’s called heavenly creatures.