Can we use Quantum theory to explain the search for Independence in Catalonia?

Written originally in Spanish by Sergio Colado García Engineer/Neuropsychologist. English & Edit by Alison Wilson, Communications @

Admittedly, there is a reluctance to enter into political discussion about the independence of Catalonia if you step-in you are bound to be accompanied by all of its’ heat, chaos, divergent thinking and complexities. During the last few weeks, after observing the people and their responses to the crisis, regardless if some hold a deep understanding of the situation and climate or the absence there of. It has been the last few weeks, and their heated events plus the purported proposed outcomes that have led me to reflect on the duality of thought, that is present right now, in Catalonia. In totality, the lead up and promise of independence, suspension, and initialisation that has left me searching for explanations.

However, hard you try and persist-it is difficult to avoid an argument! So, in this case I combined both my skills and thinking as an Engineer and a Neuro-Psychologist to try and rationalise this seemingly impossible debate with what I know best, science.First, a quick explainer for those not familiar with Quantum Physics,It is the discipline that studies the behaviour of matter on a microscopic scale”. I felt it essential to look this closely to try and conceptualise for those around and far from me, the situation at hand.

To cite Thomas Young's ‘Double Slit Experiment’ (circa 1801) a famous and equally surprising experiment. Young's so-called double-slit demonstrates two important precepts. The first, in which I will not go into detail, has to do with the nature of objects. The second is the fact that observing these objects causes them to act in a different way or another (this sentence alone will help you understand my thesis).

In Young's experiment, there are two separate slits at a distance that are bombarded with electrons that pass through them and hit a wall. What is expected in this case on the wall is a random pattern with two concentrations around the slots.




Expected pattern. Mar Guilis's blog picture

However, the result that is obtained, in fact, is a very different pattern that suggests an interference between electrons.

Pattern obtained

This can happen if the electrons show a wave of behaviour, that is, they pass through both slits at the same time. If their behaviour is found to be uniform, and say consistent with that of their neighbour. To confirm this fact, a metre is then placed as an "observer" at each slit to try to confirm that the electrons pass through both slits at a time.
The result is surprising now, not only do they not go through both but, on the wall the pattern appears which was initially expected:


So, clearly my observation here is that the observation effect in fact alters the behaviour of the particle. This is partially my explanation for the situation in Catalonia.

We know that thoughts are states of electrical polarisation in neurons. It may be thought, then, that they can also be subjected to the theories of quantum physics and, therefore be transferred to human behaviour, it's’ reasoning and experience changes as it is observed. 

The observer could be understood as the current social group that are now debating the future and ultimately the complete autonomy of Catalonia. Forever, when I look at my social groups such as friends, colleagues, neighbours and the information I can absorb from my surroundings. There are several groups of course, others clear, others more obtuse. Instead of imagining these people as part of a science experiment, I can say simply that, I discovered some close friends who were expected to take a position of one type, but they can even appear or ‘manifest’ another position that seems quite different to their preferences but are enabled to remain objective contrary to their opinion. As, a reader, you may have a strong opinion on the topic but can see reason on both sides. 

Is it possible, then, that both thoughts coexist?
Another interesting concept of quantum mechanics, known as Schrödinger's cat, explores how a quantum system can exist in several states at once. For this experiment, a cat is enclosed in a box that also contains a radioactive atom, a Geiger counter and a bottle of cyanide. If the Geiger counter detects the emission of radioactive particles, the bottle is broken and the cat dies. If not, the bottle is still intact and the cat lives.

Not knowing what will eventuate, it is possible to determine that the probability of the cats survival is 50%. But, only when opening the box is it possible to verify it. That is, as long as it is not observed, it is possible to conclude that it can be in either of the two states. From this it can be deduced that in the quantum world any particle carries within itself all its possible physical values t the same time or in superposition until it is measured or interacts with the environment. 

In a social context, we could determine that an unconscious social thought can be any and all agglutinate thoughts and ideas. But, only at the moment of observation, this materialises into one with some certainty or a ‘concrete’ one.

Using a critical example,after the October 3, 2017,  referendum when President Carles Puigdemont declared independence and then suspended it, this opened a discussion: has Catalonia declared itself independent or not?This debate widens in that some consider that clearly, it has been so and others consider that independence has not been declared at all. Again a duality appears. 

In the social collective, both thoughts are being given, and it only depends on the observer to lean towards one or another idea. It is the individuals choice (and/or preference) to except either reality. Many can identify with their simple thoughts, i.e for or against, in a simultaneous process. But, to reinforce my comments from earlier depending on the observer with which they interact, their conscious thinking will materialise one or another position, even without understanding the complexity of the process and lacking the ability to explain how they got there.

This experiment adds weight to the idea (and helps justify my use of experiments in this article)! That it may be in fact the thought that influences the environment more so than the environment in which the thought was born. 

Although it is widely considered that it is the environment and cultural settings that guides all, and that influences our thoughts and decision making. That it is these thoughts that contribute and create the system that we are a part of or aim to be.

While the system is influenced by thought and this, in turn by the effect of observation, a continuous feedback is maintained that ignites dual thoughts. This can only change if the observer is not present. With the absence of a collective consciousness, unconscious thought remains latent and but can reignite again depending on the observational variables to which it is subjected.


Alison Wilson