Reality and its Order

German title: "Ordnung der Wirklichkeit"

Translations by M.B.Rumscheidt and N.Lukens (section III by I.Heisenberg)



In a letter from July 1, 1941 to his wife Werner Heisenberg writes:
"Towards evening I wrote on the private philosophy, and started the passage about the roses. I now write on these things with great enjoyment. Not always with a clear conscience, because, basically, I understand almost nothing of all these things. But since Bohr probably will not write down his thoughts, it is good that anyone who knows them is writing down what he makes of it. In Urfeld I could maybe seat myself at the little table in the bushes and also continue pursuing these thoughts."

Quoting from "Reality and its Order":
"The powerful figure who assumes the right to destroy the enemy and who throws resisters in jail is not important; it is instead the jail guard who, despite orders to the contrary, cannot refrain from slipping a piece of bread to the prisoners now and then. We need to remind ourselves again and again that it is more important to act humanely towards the other than to fulfill any professional obligations or national obligations or political obligations. Even the din of great ideals at its loudest must not confuse or hinder us to hear the one, soft tone on which everything hinges. It has been said so often that weakness will perish, that only the strong will prevail in the struggle of life. That may well be true. But what is the strong? In music, the loudest passages are often not those when the full orchestra fills the whole hall with sound but the bars when a single violin softly sings a melody. Therefore, those who still know the white rose or who can still discern the sound of the silver string must now join together."
Since the German edition is out of Print, we have also included the full German text.


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