A Physics Carol (Scene 3: The Future)

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A play written by: Leo van Nierop

Scene 3: The Future
(Mileva at the center, still euphoric. Spock enters, Vulcan greeting)

Spock    : Live long and prosper!
Mileva    : You have got to be kidding me!
Spock    : (insulted) Of course not! I'm here to guide you.
Mileva    : The ghost of physics future, I take. They could at least have sent me a real physicist!
Spock    : That's precisely the attitude that will keep you in the stone age forever. You're so bursting with assumptions that you'll never think of anything new!
Mileva    : And that is precisely the attitude that will keep you in fiction forever! You're so fixed on new ideas that you completely lose sight of reality! (short pause, ~ 550 ms)
Spock    : Well, if your definition of "reality" is "everything that I find convenient", then yes, you could call me fiction. However, normally one calls reality "that which we can experience".
Mileva    : Lalala I see no ghost lalala we found the Higgs, lalalala.
Spock    : A little late to be convincing.
Mileva    : Ok, mister "I know all about your future", tell me this: What is the theory of everything? How do we use it when we find it? Which stocks are going to rise?
Spock    : To your first question: There is none, so your second question is irrelevant. Concerning your third question: Barbaric species.
Mileva    : What!(Really, really shocked)
Spock    : Yes! Humans are a barbaric species.
Mileva    : (interrupts) No, I mean, no theory of everything?
Spock    : What do you expect! (Incredibly sarcastic)You're not thinking that you get close, are you? (mocking) We unraveled the quantum structures! We know all the marvels the LHC could possibly produce, and more! Finally, we understand nature! (normal) Don't tell me you believe that!
Mileva    : Well, the search is never over, of course. But we've come a long way.
Spock    : Really? So, explain to me, how far are you when LHC has run for 10 years, and turns up with nothing new whatsoever?
Mileva    : Still further than we are now. We will have learned that our understanding of nature contains flaws, since we must see the Higgs if the standard model is correct.
Spock    : But without any hints to what is wrong you won't find a better theory. You will only have realized that your best isn't good enough!
Two ex physicists, John and Mark enter the stage. They do not see Spock & Mileva. They look like homeless: raggs, crappy hair, El Cheapo can of beer. They sound drunk.
Mark    : "Study physics", they said. "It has a future" (John sighs), they said.
John    : "Find new particles", they said.
Mark    : Well it was not the detectors! They were great!
John    : But we didn't see the Higgs! Or, or ... SuSy! Or, or ...
Mark    : Monopoles!
John    : Yes, Monopoles... or midget black holes! It's impossible. It was sabotage!!!
Mark    : (mildly interested) No (Drops beer bottle) NO!
Mileva    : Sabotage?!
John    : Minds the size of a planet, and look at us now!
Mark    : But it was fun. John, no matter what, never forget the LHC!
John    : Those were the days Mark, those were the days.
Spock    : Meet John and Mark, physicists. Or, I should say, former physicists.
Mileva    : They are crazy!
Spock    : Yes, they are! They are completely mad with frustration. They can't believe they got it wrong!
    (Mirror exercise starts with four actors, to depict SuSy, Mileva does not notice)
Mileva    : Well, this is not going to happen. The Higgs is there, and we found it! And much more!
Spock    : You are kidding yourself. There is no reason to believe that.
Mileva    : Oh, and I assume that you know better?
Spock    : Well, as a matter of fact, I do. Do you see that?
Mileva    : What about it?
Spock    : Do you know what it is?
Mileva    : That must be supersymmetry.
Spock    : Yes, that is what you would call it. In our more advanced culture, however, we call it superSTITION.
    (Mirror game fails. SUSY partner drops. Particles shrug and walk off)
Mileva    : Big deal! Nothing a good bunch of extra dimensions can't solve!
Spock    : I take it you're talking about "strings".
Mileva    : (excited) Yes, six extra dimensions all curled up in one tiny little ball!
    (Movie/sheet of dancing strings)
Spock    : Puh! Purely mathematical constructs.
    (Circles on screen)
Mileva    : But mathematics is a scientist's language!
Spock    : Aha! But according to Gödel's theorem mathematics can't be complete and consistent at the same time!
Mileva    : Which means…?
Spock    : That a mathematical description is either incomplete…. Or wrong! (With a self-satisfied smile)
Mileva    : What! I thought you guys were addicted to logic!
Spock    : It is not an addiction. (pause, breath) Logic is just the logical consequence of thinking straight.
Mileva    : And boy you Vulcans are straight! So, logically, how do we describe nature now?
Spock    : It's obvious, isn't it? If any logical system is doomed, the logical solution is to abandon strict logic.
Mileva    : Aha, but this cannot work, as it is a logical step!
    (silence, Spock gets angry, hides it poorly)
Spock    : Of course it works! For instance, look at the perfect harmony of time, matter and forces united:
    A&S move to the side taking up watching positions. enter: Time (T), Space(S), Matter(M), and Forces (F) hand in hand in a circle)
TSMF    : We are one. We are the divided union of nature and perception.
Time    : Different manifestations of the eternal and the instant.
Space    : All you see comes from the logically illogical.
Matter    : We are the consistently inconsistent.
Forces    : We commence, we move, we cease. Time is irrelevant.
    (Time gets thrown out)
Spock    : A logical choice.
SMF    : The instant is now eternal.
Space    : Change is an illusion.
Matter    : We are where we are.
Forces    : Space, it's time to go.
Mileva    : But time didn't exist, right?
    (space gets kicked out)
Spock    : Inconsistent, as promised.
MF    : We are all together now. (stand closer together)
Forces    : Closer and closer.
Matter    : All gets compressed.
Forces    : Matter, there's no space left for you!
Mileva (desperate): What space? There is no space!
Spock    : Indeed.
Forces    : Nothing to push. Nothing to pull. No way in which I matter.
    (force drops to ground)
Spock    : As such, you see, all we see of nature logically is an illusion.
Mileva    : Which brings us...
Spock    : Absolutely nowhere!