A dear friend wrote to me this morning, and he included an excerpt of his journal that mentioned Einstein and his Gedankenexperiment, “ideas that he twirled around in his head rather than in a lab… This is the way my thoughts whirl in the early morning.”
Gedankenexperimente, or Gedankenexperiment (meaning “thought experiment” in German), describes a conceptual approach to theory instead of actual experiments, including his work with the theory of relativity. In other words, Einstein sometimes used thought to understand the world.
Thought experiments were used by other men of science, including Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger. His cat theory illustrated that according to the Copenhagen interpretation, a cat in a sealed box would remain both alive and dead until the box is opened. I know, I know. It’s complicated. Sheldon tries to explain the theory to Penny on an episode of the Big Bang Theory.
You could say it all comes down to perspective. Everything we see, hear, feel, or experience on any level is filtered through our brains and edited based on our beliefs and perspectives. For instance, if you look at a tan dog on a white background, the dog will look dark. But if the same dog were standing against a dark background, he will seem lighter. Here is another way to look at it.
If someone says “Mary went to the bank,” what do you see in your mind’s eye? Do you see Mary being driven to a financial institution?
Or did you see another image, of Mary sitting alongside the shores of a body of water?
Our past, our limiting beliefs, or a myriad of other experiences caused us to form a mental picture of our own. This is what we do with wealth or poverty. If we see ourselves as poor – we are poor. If we view our lives as happy and fulfilling, our lives are happy and fulfilling. We can see the cat as dead or alive – it is our choice.
Think about it.
So today, conduct your own thought experiment. Imagine what would happen if two trains of thought leave the same station at the same time, and at the same speed. They look very different, yet they have the same power and the same ability to manifest a destination. Which train will reach its destination first?