Heisenberg und Heimatlos


Werner Heisenberg

Yeah, and sometimes reality salad sucks. Yesterday the landlord stopped by to tell us our time here is up. It’s been almost eight years, but the family needs the cabin back, the next generation asserting its priority. Time for the gypsies to move on along. That’s life for a renter, and I have never been anything but. The biggest thing I have ever owned was a pickup truck. I don’t get to use words like equity or liquidity. It’s cleaning deposit and last-month’s rent.

I have no idea where we will go. We can’t afford much locally. Again we are faced with the imminent uncertainty of being homeless. This was more entertaining forty years ago, when uncertainty still held some sense of adventure. And at our age—freshman septuagenarians—there is a certain moral stain attached to not having our fiscal and domicile acts together, surrounded as we are by peers safely cushioned by their savings and entitlements and homes.

Werner Heisenberg is, of course, best known for his uncertainty principle, first introduced in 1927, which in its simplest version states that the more precisely the position of some particle is determined, the less precisely its momentum can be predicted. The metaphoric existential applications beyond quantum mechanics are enlightening and reassuring. Uncertainty is a given. You can’t predict where you will be from where you are now. For all living entities the sole certainty is death. If you are a renter don’t go feeling secure. Shit happens.

Olson’s line: The only thing that does not change / is the will to change.