EuropeanJournal of Science and Theology, December 2005, Vol.1, No.4, 3-9




HEISENBERG and the levels ofReality


Basarab Nicolescu[*]


 UniversitéParis 6, Paris, France

LPNHE, 4 Place Jussieu, 75005 Paris

(Received23 August 2005)


We first analyze the transdisciplinary model of Reality andits key-concept of “Levels of Reality”. We then compare this model with the oneelaborated by Werner Heisenbergin 1942.



Keywords:levels of reality,levels of perception, object, subject, quantumphysics, realism, space-time, discontinuity, incompleteness, Gödel’s theorems, causality,unification of physical interactions, Werner Heisenberg, knowledge process, Deutsche Physik.


1.     Introduction


Theidea of ‘Levels of Reality’came to me during a post-doctoral visit at Lawrence BerkeleyLaboratory, in 1976.I did not understand fromwhere was coming from the resistance to theunification resistance between the relativity theory and the quantummechanics. This was the starting point of my reflection. At that time, I wasworking with Geoffrey Chew, the founder of bootstrap theory. The discussions wehad together and with other colleagues from Berkeley,have stimulated me a lot to formulate this idea. Is It is atBerkley, where that I have begun writing a book regardingthe epistemological and philosophical extensions of the quantum physics.

In1981, I was intrigued by the notion of ‘veiled realveiled Real’ by Bernard d’Espagnat [1], that did notseemed to me to be a satisfying solution to the problems I was dealing with andI decided to make public my notion of ‘Levels of Reality’.Therefore, I introduced this notion into an article published in 1982 [2]. Theform of this concept wasresumed in the first edition of my book ‘Us, the particle and the world’ [3].Afterwards, during the years, I developed this idea in several books, articlesand conferences.

In1992, I was invited as an expert to a the plenary session of the Pontifical Academy ofSciences dedicated to the study of complexity in sciences.I spoke on Nature considered from the quantum physics point of view and Ipresented my approach concerning the Levels of Reality[4]. The great Austrian physicist WalterThirring, present at the congress in Romeat Vatican, gave me alittle article, unpublished yet, where I have discovered his importantconsiderations on the nature of physical laws, in the case of different Levels of Realitylevelsor reality [5].

Butthe big surprise came in 1998,when I discovered the work of Werner Heisenberg, ‘Philosophy – Themanuscript from of 1942’[6]. This book text hasprovoked in me a veritable astonishment because I found the same idea of Llevelsof Reality, obviously under a different form., but very fecund.. Heisenberg’s book had an amazinghistory: it was written in 1942, but it was published in German only in 1984.It was translated in French in 1998. As far as I know, there is no Englishtranslation of this work.

Theopinion that I want to expressin this paper is in total agreement with those of the quantum mechanicsfounders: Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli and Niels Bohr, but due to spacereasons, I will treat in the present study only the philosophical ideas of Heisenberg. I shall start by exposing myown ideas, to continue by studying the correspondence that exists between themand those of Heisenberg.  


2.    ClassicClassical realism andquantum realism


Themodern science is founded on the idea of a total separation between the observing-subject and theReality, assumed to be completely independent fromthe first one. But, at the same time, in the modern science are given threefundamental postulates, which are extending at a supreme degree, on the reasons plan,  theresearch of laws and order:

·         The existence of universal laws, with mathematic character;

·         The discovery of these laws by the scientific experiment;

·         The perfect reproducibility of the experimental data.

Theextraordinary success of the classical physics,of fromGalileoe, Kepler and Newton until Einstein,have confirmed the justice validity of thesethree postulates. In At the same time, they have contributedto the instauration of a simplicity paradigm,which became dominant during the XIXthcentury.

Theclassical physics is founded onthe continuity idea of continuity,in agreement with the evidence supplied by the sensesorgans: we can’t pass from one point of thespace and of the time to another, without passing through all intermediarypoints.

Theidea of continuity isintimately linked by to a key concept of the classicalphysics: the local causality.Every physical phenomenon could be understood by a continuousechain of causes and effects: to every cause at a certain point corresponds an effect to an infinitely near point and to every effectat a certain point correspondsa cause to an infinitely near point. There is no need of any direct action atdistance.

Theconcept of determinismis central in the classical physics. The classical physics equations are those such thatif one knows the positions and the speeds velocities of thephysical objects at a certain moment, one can predict their positions and velocities speeds at any othermoment of time. The laws of classical physics are deterministic laws. The physical states being functions ofposition and speedvelocity, it resultsthat if the initial conditions are exactknowns(the physical state at a given momentof time) one can completelypredict the physical state at any other moment of time. 

Theobjectivityof the classical physics is fundamentally linked by to the knowledge of an object advancing in time on one dimension and in space on threedimensionsmoving in the 1-dimensional time andthe 3-dimensional space. The central role of the space-timein four dimensions was notaltered by the two relativity theories of Einstein, restricted andgeneral, that constitute the apogee of the classical physics.

Thequantum mechanics is in a totalbreak conceptual rupture withthe classical mechanics.

Accordingto Planck’s discovery, theenergy has a discontinuous,ed, discrete structure. The discontinuitymeans that between two points thereis nothing, no objects, no atoms, no molecules, no particles, just nothing.And even the word ‘nothing’ is too much.



Aphysical quantity has, in quantum mechanics, several possible values associatedwith given probabilities of occurrence. But in a physical measurement we getobviously just one single result. This abolition,via the measurement process, ofthe plurality of possiblevalues of an observable quantity had an obscure meaning but it already clearly indicated the existence of a newtype of causality.


Seven decades after the quantum mechanics was born, thenature of this new type of causality was clarified thanks to a rigorous theoretical result – the Bell’s theorem – andalso to high precision experiments. A newconcept made in this way its entrance in the physics:the non-separability.The quantum entities continuedto interact, never mind the distance betweenthem. Therefore, a new type of causality appearsed – a globalcausality that concerns the system of allphysical entities, in their ensemble. 

Thequantum entities – the ‘quantonsa’ – are in at the same time corpuscles and wavesor, more precisely, they areneither corpuscles nor waves.

Thefamous uncertainty relations ofHeisenberg show,without any ambiguity that is impossible to localise a quantonainto an exact point of the space and an exact point of time. With In otherwords, it is impossible toassign a well-determined trajectory to a quantum particle. The indeterminism, leading reigningat the quantumscale, is a constitutingstructural indeterminism,fundamental and,irreducible. It does not means neither hazard nor imprecision., which do not means neither hazard nor imprecision.. 

Theso-named called quantumparadoxes (as, for example, the famous paradoxof ‘Schrödingercat’) are false paradoxes, because they point out contradictions exclusively incorrelation with the natural, ordinary language,which is that of the classical realism; these end to be paradoxes when thelanguage appropriate to the quantum mechanics is used. Even if they areinstructive when one wants to show the incompatibility between the classicclassicaland quantum realism, theseparadoxes become useless in the context of the quantum ideas. 

Thetrue question is the incompatibility between the classicclassical realism andthe quantum one.

The classicclassical object islocalised in the space-timewhile the quantum object is notlocalised in the space-time.It advances movesinto an abstract mathematical space,ruled by the algebra of operators and not by the algebra of numbers. In the quantum physics, the abstraction isno longer a simple mean tool to describe thereality but a constitutive part of thereality itself.

The classicalobject is subjected to the local causality, while the quantum object is notsubmitted to this causality. It is impossible to predict an individual quantumevent. One can predict only the occurrenceprobabilities of the events. The key of understanding this seeminglyparadoxical and also irrational situation (from the point of view of classicalrealism) is the quantum superposition principle: the superposition of twoquantum states is also a quantumstate.

It is impossible to obtain theclassical mechanics as a particular case of the quantum mechanics while because theh constant characterising the quantum interactions – the famous Planckconstant – has a well-determined value. This value is different from zero. The limit h →0 has no rigorous meaning.

The radical break between the classicaland quantum realism explain why one hads not succeededuntil now to unify the theories of relativity and of the quantum mechanics intoan only single one, despite the fulminating evolution ofthe quantum field theory result of ing in thesuperstrings theory.  

It is even possible that such aunifying theory will never be found. Does tThis incompatibility means that we have reached a limit in thephysical description of the reality, or that a new characteristicof the reality is to be discovered?  It is this second possibility that Iwant to explore now.         


3.   TheLevels of Reality


Iinterpreted the incompatibility between the quantum mechanics and the classical mechanics as meaning thenecessity of enlarging the domain of reality field, by abandoningthe classical idea of existence into a n  of onlyone level of reality.

Let’sgive to the word ‘reality’ its pragmatic and ontological meaning.  

Iunderstand by Reality,everything that resiststo our experiences, representations, descriptions, images or mathematicalformalisms. In the quantumphysics, the mathematical formalism is inseparable from experiment. It resists,ionits manner, both by the care forthe internal autoconsistence selfconsistence and by theneed to integrate the experimental data without destroying this autoconsistenceselfconsistence.

Wealso have to give the an ontological dimension to the notionof Reality.

TheNature is an immense aninexhaustible source of the unknown that justifies the very existence ofscience. The Reality is not only a socialconstruction, the consensus of a community, an intersubjective agreement. It is has alsoa trans-subjectivedimension, to the extent wherea simple experimental fact could ruin the most beautiful scientific theory.

 Of course, I make the distinctionbetween Real andReality. The Realmeans what it is,while the Realityis connected to the resistancein our human experience. The real is, by definition,veiled forever, while the Reality is accessible to our knowledge. 

One has to understand byI define a Reality levelLevelof Reality asan ensemble of systems invariant to the action of a number of general laws: forexample, the quantum entitiessubmitted to the quantum laws, which are on radical break with the laws of themacrophysical world. This means that two levels of Reality are differentif, passing from one to another,there is a break of the laws and break of the fundamental concepts (as the causality,for example).  

Thediscontinuitymanifested presentin the quantum world is also manifested presentin the structure of the Levelsof Reality, by the coexistence of macrophysicalworld and the microphysical world.

TheLevels of Reality areradically different from the organisation levels, as they were defined in thesystemic approaches. The organisation levels do not suppose a rupture offundamental concepts: a certain number of organisation levels belong to onlyone and the same Llevel of Reality. There is no discontinuity between the organisationlevels belonging to a well-determined Reality level. The organisation levelscorrespond to different arrangements of the same fundamental laws, while the Levelsof Reality are generated by the coherent action of radically differentensembles of laws. 

TheLevels of Reality and the organisation levels offerthe possibility of a new taxonomy for the eight thousand academic disciplinesexisting at this Many disciplines could coexist at an only and the same Llevelof Rrealityeven if they correspond to different organisation levels. For example, theMarxist economy and the classicalphysics belong to the only and same level of reality, while quantum physics andpsychoanalysisebelong to another Llevelof Reality. 

Dueto the notion of Levels of Reality,the Reality acquires a multidimensional and multireferential structure. The Levelsof Reality also allow defining useful notionsas: language levels of language, representation levels of representation,materiality levels of materiality or complexity levels of complexity. 

TheReality comports, according to my modelapproach, a certain number of levels. Infact, the previous considerations concerning the twoLevels of Reality could be easily generalised to a larger number oflevels. The following analysise doesnot depend on the fact that this number is finite of infinite. For theterminological clarity of the lecture’s sake, I shallassume that this number is infinite. 

Obviously,there is a coherencecoherence between thedifferent llevelsof Reality, at least in the natural world. In fact, a vast selfconsistenceseems to rule the evolution of the Universe, from the infinitelysmall to thelarge infinitelylarge,y, from the infinitelyshort to the long infinitely longy.For example, a very small variation of the coupling constant of the stronginteractions between quantum particles would lead, at the infinitely large infinity levelscale– our Universe, either to the conversion of all hydrogen in helium, or to the inexistence ofcomplex atoms as the carbon. Or a very small variation of the gravitationalcoupling constant would lead either to ephemeral planets, either or tothe impossibility of their formation. Furthermore, according to the actual cosmological theories, theUniverse seems able to create itselfwithout any external intervention. An information flux is transmitted of in acoherent manner from a Reality levelLevel of Reality to another level of Reality level of our physical Universe. 

EveryLevel of Reality Realitylevel has its own associated space-time.Thus, the classical Level of RealityReality level isassociated to the four dimensionals space-time, while the quantum Level of RealityRealitylevel is associated with a more than four dimensions space-time.In the superstrings theory, the most sophisticated and the most promising theory underfor theunification plan of all physical interactions –the M theory (‘M’ from ‘membrane’), the space-time must to haveeleven dimensions: onetime-dimension and ten space- dimensions.

Thesuprestringssuperstringsmodify of in aninteresting manner our conception on the physical reality. The superstring,fundamental entity of the new theory, is an object situated spread in space. Consequently, it is logical impossible to define whereand when areinteracting the superstrings. This characteristic is in the spirit of quantummechanics. On the other hand, their finite dimension implies that there is a limitof our possibility to sound theexplore reality. Our anthropomorphicconvention of distance is no longer applicable. Neither the Universe nor any ofits objects have any meaning over this limit. Finally, the space dimensions areof two kinds: large, vast, visible (as the three dimensions of whateverwe consider as our ownspace) and small, wrappedon themselves, invisible. 

Anew Relativity Principleemerges from our model of Reality: no Level of RealityReality level constitutesa privileged place from where one could understand all the other Levels of Reality.A Level of RealityRealitylevel is what it is because all the otherlevels simultaneouslyexist. With In otherwords, our model is non-hierarchical. There is no fundamental level but theabsence of fundaments do not means an anarchicaldynamics anarchy. Thefundaments are replaced by the unified and coherent dynamics of all Levelsof Reality, which are already discovered orwill be discovered in the future.

EveryLevel of RealityRealitylevel is characterised by the its incompletenessincompleteness:the laws ruling this level are just a part of the ensemble of laws ruling allthe Levels of Reality. This property is in agreement withthe Gödel theorem, concerning the arithmetic and all mathematical theorycontaining the arithmetic. The Gödel theoremtells that a rich enough axioms system has either undeterminableundecidable orcontradictory results..     

Thedynamics of the Llevels of Realityis made clear in a pertinent manner by three thesis formulated by the physicistWalter Thirring [5]:

·         The laws of any inferior level arenot completely determined by the superior level laws. Thus,well-anchored notions in the classical thinking, as ‘fundamental’ and‘accidental’, must to be re-examined. What isconsidered fundamental at a certain level mayappear as accidental at a superior level and what is considered accidental orincomprehensible at a certain level could appear as fundamental at a superiorlevel.

·         The laws of an inferior level dependmore of their emergency circumstances than of the superior level laws.The laws of a certain level essentially depend of the local configuration thatthey are referred at. Therefore, there is a kind of local autonomy for therespective level of Reality. But certain internal ambiguities concerning theinferior level laws are solvedby the consideration of superior order laws. The selfconsistenceself consistence of theselaws reduces the laws ambiguity.

·         The laws hierarchy advanced in thesame time with the Universe itself. WithIn otherwords, we assist at the birthof laws as the Universe develops. These laws pre-existed at the ‘beginning’ ofthe Universe as possibilities. It is the evolution of the Universe thatactualises these laws and their hierarchy. 

              Thezone between different levels of Reality and the zone beyond all levels of Reality is in fact azone of non-resistance for ourexperiments, representations, descriptions, images or mathematicalformalisations. This transparency zone is due to our body and senses organs limitations, indifferent of the no matterwhat measurement instruments that are prolonging these senses organs. Therefore, we have to deducetthat the ‘distance’ (understood as topological distance) between the extremelevels of Reality is finite.But this finite distance doesnot meansmeana finite knowledge. Exactly,as a straight-line segment contains infinityinfinity of points,the finite topological distance could correspond to infinityinfinity of Levelsof Reality.

              TheObject is defined, in our model, by theensemble of Levels of Reality and its complementary non-resistancezone. 

Wesee therefore, the entireall the differencebetween my Reality approach of Reality and that ofBernard d’Espagnat. For d’Espagnat it is in fact only one level of reality– the empirical reality – surroundedby a diffuse zone of non-resistance, which corresponds to the veiled Real. Theveiled Real, by definition, do not resist. Consequently, it does not have thecharacteristics of a Reality level of Reality. 

Inspiredby the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl[7], I affirm assertthat the different Llevelsof Reality are accessible to the human knowledge due to the existence ofdifferent levels of perception,which are in biunivoque correspondence with the Levels ofReality. These perception levelslevels of perceptionallow a more general, unifying, inclusive vision of the Reality, withoutexhausting it ever.The coherence of the perception levelslevels of perceptionassumes, as in the case of Levels of Reality,a zone of non-resistanceto the perception.

Theensemble of perception levelslevelsof perception and hisits complementaryzone of non-resistance constitute, in our modelapproach, theSubject.

Thetwo zones of non-resistance, of the Object and of the Subject, must to be identicalin order to have an informationflux able to circulate in a coherent manner between the Object and the Subject.This zone of non-resistance corresponds to a third Interaction term between theSubject and the Object, which could not to bereduced neither to the Object nor to theSubject.

Ourternary partition {Subject, Object, Interaction} is, of course, different fromthe binary partition {Subject, Object} of the classical realism.


4.   Heisenberg’smodel


Now, I want to analyse the correspondence between my ideasand those of

WernerHeisenberg (1901-1976), expressed in his Manuscript fromManuscript of 1942.

As written in her the excellent introduction of the worktothis book [6, p. 17], the axe of thephilosophical thinking of Heisenberg is constituted by “two directory principles: the first one is that of thedivision in Llevelsof Reality, corresponding to different objectivationobjectivitymodes depending on the incidence of the knowledge process, and the second oneis that of the progressive erasure of the role played by the ordinary concepts of space andtime.” [6, p. 240]

For Heisenberg, the reality is “the continuous fluctuationof the experience as gathered by the conscience. In this capacityrespect,it is never wholly identifiable to an isolated system“ [6, p. 166]. The reality could not be reduced tosubstance. For us, the physicists from of today, this is evidenceevident:the matter is the complexussubstance -energy-space-time-information. 

As written by Catherine Chevalley “the semantic fieldof the word reality includedfor him everything given to us by the experience taken in its largest meaning,from the experience of the worldto that of the souls modifications or of the autonomous signification of thesymbols.” [6, p. 145]  

Heisenberg doesnot speak of in an explicit manner about the ‘resistance’ in relation with the reality, but its meaning is fullypresent: “the reality we can talk about – writesHeisenberg – is never the reality ‘in itself’, but only a reality aboutwhich we may have knowledge, in many casesa reality to which we have given form.” [6, p. 277] The reality being inconstant fluctuation, everything all we can do is to make cuttings understand partial aspects thanksto our thinking, extracting processes, phenomena, lawsand laws. In thiscontext, is clear that onecan’t have the completeness: “We never can to arrive at an exact and complete portrait of the reality” [6, p. 258] – wroteHeisenberg. The incompletenessincompleteness of the physics laws is hereby present atHeisenberg, even if he does notmake any reference to the Gödel’stheorems. For him, the reality is given as ‘textures of different kindconnections’, as ‘infinite abundance’, without any ultimate fundament.Heisenberg states ceaselessly, in agreement with Husserl, Heidegger and Cassirer(which whom heknew personally), that one has to suppress any rigid distinction betweenSubject and Object. He also states that one has to end with the privilegedreference on the outer material world and that the only approaching manner forthe sense of reality is toaccept its division in regions and levels.        

The resemblance with my own definition ofReality is striking.

Heisenberg distinguishes “regions of reality” (der Bereichder Wirklichkeit) from “levels of reality” (die Schichtder Wirklichkeit).

“We understand by “regions of reality” – writes Heisenberg[...] an ensemble of nomological connections. These regions are generated by groups of relations. Theyoverlap, adjust, cross, always respecting theprinciple of non-contradiction.

The regions of reality are, in fact, strictly equivalent to the levels oforganization of the systemic thinking.



              Heisenbergis conscious that the simple consideration of the existence regions of the reality is not satisfactory while this comeson puttingbecause they will puton the same plan the classical and the quantum mechanics. It is thetheessential reason that leads him to the regroupingof these reality regions in different Llevelsof Rreality.His motivation is therefore identical withmine.

              Heisenberg regroups the numerousregions of reality in three distinct levels.

              “Itis clear - write Heisenberg – that the ordering of the regions has tosubstitute the gross division of world into a subjective reality and anobjective one and to stretchitself between these poles of subject and object in such a manner that at itsinferior limit are the regions where we can completely objectify. Incontinuation, one has to jointthe regions where the states of thingscould not be completely separatedby from theknowledge process during which we are putting identifying them.Finally, on the top,have to be the Llevels of Realitywhere the states of things are created only in connexion with the knowledgeprocess.“ [6, p. 372] 

              Heisenberg’s approach is compatible with the RelativityPrinciple present in my approach. Catherine Chevalley underlines thatHeisenberg suppressesthe rigid distinction between “exact sciences of the objective real world andthe inexact sciences of the subjective world” and he refuses “any hierarchy founded on the privilege ofcertain nomological connexion forms, or on a region of the real considered moreobjective than the others” [6, p. 152]. The language philosophy at Heisenberg makes clear of a particularly pertinent manner this Relativity Principle.  

              The first Levelof Realityreality level, in theHeisenberg model, corresponds to the states of things, which is are objectifiedindependently by of the knowledge process. He situates atthis first level the quantum classical mechanics,the electromagnetism and the two relativity theories of Einstein, with in otherwords the classical physics.

Thesecond Level of Realitylevelof reality corresponds to the states of thingsinseparable by from the knowledge process. He situates here the quantum mechanics, thebiology and the conscience consciousness sciences. 

Finally,the third Level of Realitylevelof reality corresponds to the states of thingscreated in connexion with the knowledge process. He situatesdon this Level ofRealitylevel of realitythe philosophy, theart, thepolitics, the‘God’ metaphors, the religious experience and the inspiration experience.  

Ifthe first two Llevels of Rreality of Heisenberg entirelycorrespond to my own definition, his third level seems to me to mix levels and non-levels (i.e. non-resistancezones). In fact, the philosophy,the art and thepolitics represent academicdisciplines, which are conformingto the intrinsic resistance of a Level of Realityreality level. Even the‘God’ metaphors, on the measure that if they are integrated to a theology,could correspond to a Level of Realityreality level: the theology is, finallyafter all, a humanscience as the other ones. But the religious experience and the inspirationexperience are difficult toassimilate to a Level of Realityreality level. Theyrather correspond to the passage of between different Levels of Realitylevelsof Reality in the non-resistance zone.

Wehave to underline, in this context, that Heisenberg proves a high respect for the religion.In relation with the problem of God’s existence, he wrote: “This belief is notat all an illusion, but is only the conscious acceptance of a tension neverrealised in the reality, tension which is objectiveand which advances in an independentway of the humans, that we are, and which is yet at its turn nothing but thecontent of our soul, transformed by our soul.” [6, p. 235] For Heisenberg,world and God are indissoluble linked: “this opening to the world which is atthe same time the ‘world ofGod’, finally also remains the best highest happinessthat the world could offer us: the conscience of being atoneselfhome.”[6, p. 387] He remarks that the Middle Age chose for the made the choice of religionand the XVIIthcentury made the choice for of science, but today any value criteria forvalues vanished. 

Obviously,there is an important difference between the two definitions of the Level of RealityRealitylevel notion. The absence of resistanceand the absence of the discontinuity in the Heisenberg’sdefinition explain this difference.

“Theconcepts are thus for telling , so to say, theprivileged points or where the different Llevels of Rreality are interweaving” –wrote Heisenberg. He specifies on: “When one is questioning on thenomological connexions of the reality, these last ones are foundevery time inserted into a determined reality level; it could not at all be interpreteddifferently from the conceptof reality ‘level’ (it is not possibleto speak about the effect of a level ontoanother one but only by usingvery generally the ‘effect’ concept). On the other hand, the different levelsare connected in the associated ideas and the wordsand which, from the beginning, are in simultaneous relation with the numerousconnexions”. [6, p. 257] Thisis vague enough and necessarily introduces confusion between the organisationlevels and the levels of Reality.If the levels are ‘interweaving’, one can’t understand how is possible tointroduce a classification of the levels of Reality.The nomological connexionscharacterise as well the reality regions and the levels ofReality. Therefore, they are not sufficient inorder to distinguish ‘region’ by from ‘level’. 

Infact, Heisenberg does not explicitly impose the non-contradiction principle that could lead him to the discoveryof the Levels of Reality discontinuity. However, thediscontinuity is mentioned a few times in the ManuscriptfromManuscript of1942 but only in relation with the history: thehistory of representations, the history of the individual, the historyof humanity.  

Heisenbergalso insists on the intuition role: “Only the intuitive thinking – wroteHeisenberg – can pass over the abyss that exists between the conceptssystem already known and the new concepts system; the formal deduction is helpless on throwinga bridge over this abyss.” [6, p. 261] But Heisenberg doesn’t draw the logicalconclusion that is imposed starting fromby the helplessnessof the formal thinking: only the non-resistance of our experiences, representations, descriptions, images ormathematical formalisations could brfling a bridge over the abyss betweentwo zones of resistance. The non-resistance is the key of understanding thediscontinuity between two immediately neighbour levels of Reality.  

Butthis important differencebetween the two definitions of the Levels of Reality,that of Heisenberg and mine, do not erase the motivation of introducing theselevels, motivation which is identical in both cases.

Inorder to finish, I want to make a few briefconsiderations on the political and intellectual context in which was written Themanuscript fromManuscriptof 1942.During the Nazism, the anti-Semitism included the attacks against therelativity theory and the quantum mechanics, viewed as products of the Occident’s Western decadence.The promoters of Deutsche Physikpresupposed that thereis an onlyone level of rReality– a unique reality. It is strange to find as leaders ofDeutsche Physik tworemarkable physicists: Philipp Lenard (Nobel prize in 1905) and Johannes Stark (Nobel prize in1919). The anticonceptualism of the Deutsche Physikholders, at war against ‘the Jewish physics’, was virulent. The knowledge hadto discover the unique reality by a language near to the intuition. According to them, the experiment was in front of the theory. Their black sheepwas the abstract space of the quantum events, while, for them, the space-timecould only not be but that of ourordinary experience, with four dimensions.     

Itis otherwise strange interesting to find theattachment of totalitarian systems to the four dimensionals space-time. It There is an astonishing passage in Materialismand empiriocriticism (1909), where Lenin attacked thephysical theories implying a multidimensional space-time,proclaiming that one can’t make revolutions but only in four dimensions. We may also addhere that the notion of Llevels of Realityis also mining the fundaments of the dialectical materialism.   

However, CatherineChevalley was right to write: “the Manuscript fromManuscript of 1942appeared as an effort to make philosophically impossiblean ideological operation as that from of Deutsche Physik  [6, p. 94]. The manuscript hascirculated among the German physicists and students. To speak about Llevelsof Reality inthe context of the Deutsche Physik fightagainst ‘Jewish physics’ was equivalent with a veritabletrue actof resistance against the national-socialism.



[1]     B. d'Espagnat,A la Recherche du Réel,Gauthier-Villars, Paris, 1981, page. 79-102.

[2]     B. Nicolescu, 3eMillénaire, 1(1982) 68.

[3]     B.Nicolescu, Nous, la particule et le monde,Le Mail, Paris, 1985.

[4]     B. Nicolescu, Levelsof Complexity and Levels of Reality,in The Emergence of
Complexity in Mathematics,Physics, Chemistry and Biology
,B. Pullman (ed.), Princeton University Press, cityPrinceton, 1996,393.

[5]     W. Thirring, Dothe Laws of Nature Evolve?, in Whatis Life? - The Next Fifty
Years: Speculations on theFuture of Biology,
M.P. Murphyand L.A. O'Neil (eds.), Cambridge UniversityPress, Cambridge, 1995.

[6]     W. Heisenberg,Philosophie – La manuscrit de 1942,translated from German and
introduction by C. Chevalley,Seuil, Paris, 1998.

[7]     E. Husserl, Méditationscartésiennes, translated from German by G.Peiffer and E.
Levinas, Vrin, Paris, 1966.








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