Feb. 24th, 2011


The metaphors are almost too neat.
  • They’re either one thing or the other. They can’t be both. We have to choose one way of seeing them or the other. But as soon as we do we can’t know everything about them.
  • If you’re doing something you have to concentrate on you can’t also be thinking about doing it, and if you’re thinking about doing it then you can’t actually be doing it.
  • I’m a particle; I’m also a wave. We have one set of obligations to the world in general, and we have other sets, never to be reconciled.
  • Until this instant his thoughts have been everywhere and nowhere, like unobserved particles, through all the slits in the diffraction grating simultaneously. Now they have to be observed and specified.
Heisenberg  But on he goes, raising us, raising us. This insane confidence. Until our faith in mathematical probability begins to waver, and one by one we all throw in.
Bohr  I thought I had a straight! I misread the cards! I bluffed myself!

Bohr  At least I knew where I was. At the speed you were going you were up against the uncertainty relationship. If you knew where you were when you were down you didn’t know how fast you’d got there. If you knew how fast you’d been going you didn’t know you were down.
Heisenberg  I always knew you’d be picking your way step by step down the slope behind me, digging all the capsized meanings and implications out of the snow.

Heisenberg  The swerve itself was the decision.

Bohr  You always needed me there to slow you down a little. Your own walking lump of cadmium.

Heisenberg  Yes, and for three years we lived inside the atom. Bohr  With other electrons on the outer orbits around us all over Europe.

Bohr  Yes, and you’ve never been able to understand the suggestiveness of paradox and contradiction. That’s your problem. You live and breathe paradox and contradiction, but you can no more see the beauty of them than the fish can see the beauty of the water.

Margrethe  And even as the moment of collision begins it’s over.
Bohr  Already we’re hurrying back towards the house.
Margrethe  Already they’re both flying away from each other into the darkness again.

Bohr  Heisenberg, I have to say—if people are to be measured strictly in terms of observable quantities …
Heisenberg  Then we should need a strange new quantum ethics.

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