(Halloween Story) The Curious Case of Dr. Thomson and Dr. Jeeter
[October 28th, 2024]
DR. THOMSON: This far in the process, the conclusion that we’ve reached is that. . . well, chaos is well and alive! But what is chaos anyways, Mr. Freemen? My team of researchers and I—forgive me, I’ve completely forgotten to introduce myself to you and your crew. Greetings! My name is Dr. Gordon R. Thomson. About 15 years ago, I got my PhD in psychophysics, and about 5 years ago we started studying... And–and about a year ago, well, we discovered something peculiar about this one subatomic particle. Have you heard of—Mr. Freemen have you heard of “gravitational waves?”
MR. FREEMEN: No, I don’t believe I have.
DR. THOMSON: 7 years ago, a team of physicists detected these waves, gravitational waves, that propagated from far out somewhere in the universe. When two neutron stars orbit one another, they generate these spiral-shaped “waves.” Very very small waves, Mr. Freemen. Do you know how they measured these waves, Mr. Freemen?
MR. FREEMEN: No.
DR. THOMSON: Well, they made two devices. These devices–well they first suspended the entire things with very thin wire, so that earthquakes and noise wouldn’t interfere with the experiment. They put one in. . . God knows where Louisiana, and someplace in Washington. The devices used lasers to, to measure, so they set them up like, uh, this. Do you have a pen?
MR. FREEMEN: Here.
[MR. FREEMEN HANDS DR. THOMSON A PEN AND PAPER. DR. THOMSON DRAWS A T-SHAPED CONTRAPTION WITH MIRRORS AND A LASER]
DR. FREEMEN: Like this—and see? If a gravitational wave passes through—Voila!! And the genius thing is that you know it’s a gravitational wave because only a gravitational wave would pass through both devices at the same time from hundreds upon hundreds of miles apart from one another. The laser moved a hair’s width of a hair’s width of a hair’s width apart—ten to the negative twenty-sixth hertz! Isn’t that incredible?!
[MR. FREEMEN NODS]
DR. THOMSON: And so but anyways, I became very intrigued with this. Completely engrossed. Consumed by it. When I heard the news I, I-I stopped everything I was doing at the time. I was stroking my cat, looking at the TV, and I literally dropped my cat, Mr. Freemen. I dropped her onto the floor and broke her little neck, poor thing. But—But you see, this is extraordinary! Extraordinary, Mr. Freemen.
[MR. FREEMEN SHIFTS A BIT, NODS, AND OFFERS DR. THOMSON A CIGARETTE. DR. THOMSON ACCEPTS THE CIGARETTE AND PUTS IT IN HIS MOUTH. LIGHTING THE CIGARETTE IN DR. THOMSON’S MOUTH, MR. FREEMEN PUTS THE CIGARETTE BOX BACK INTO HIS POCKET AND SHAKES OUT THE MATCH.]
DR. THOMSON: A gentlemen, thank you.
MR. FREEMEN: Sure. As you were saying, about your research..
DR. THOMSON: The Research! Of course—well, for the past 5 years we’ve been studying a very niche category of metaphysical.. physics. A branch of psychophysics you may call: “consciousness.”
[DR. THOMSON LEANS BACK AND SUCKS IN HIS CIGARETTE BEFORE BLOWING IT OUT SLOWLY.]
DR. THOMSON: It was simple, the experiment. Since we know every molecule, every atom of our body is constantly in motion, we wanted to understand what happens when you stop that motion. Is there inertia? Does the atom cease to exist? Does it turn into energy? Of course, I had my theories, and so did Dr. Jeeter. But science, well // that’s where opin..
MR. FREEMEN: Wait—Wait “Dr. Jeeter?” // Who’s…
DR. THOMSON: Oh yes! My assistant, Dr. James Jeeter. “Co-lab partners” he’d argue. He offered to be the subject in this test, the subject, yes. So that he’d better understand what exactly was going on. . . After the mice-trials.. He couldn’t just sit there and be patient with the science, he had to just waltz right in there and put // on the headset.
MR. FREEMEN: I’m confused—you were saying? The experiment.
DR. THOMSON: Yes. So—as I was saying, all atoms are in motion, constantly. And sub-atomic particles, which make up atoms, which make up us, and this cigarette here, they’re also in motion. But their motion, their motion is different. See, imagine you could walk from one side of the room to the other without crossing the space between that wall and the one behind me. Instantaneously, as though space itself moved around you. This is the reality of photons. And you learned in school that “the speed of light is the fastest possible speed in the universe?” Complete hogwash. Rubbish. Bullshit. Have you heard of nonlocality, Mr. Freemen?
[MR. FREEMEN STARES EXPECTANTLY AT DR. THOMSON]
DR. THOMSON: Of course. So we set up an experiment where we isolated a person’s consciousness. Completely isolated it, Mr. Freemen. As though we photographed every memory, every complex electromagnetic connection within Jeeter’s mind. His childhood phobias, his fetishes, his fears, the entire essence of Dr. Jeeter right here, in this machine. And then, while he was still hooked up to the machine, we BOOM! jolted his brain with enough plasma to vaporize a small country 11 times over. Brain activity off the charts, Mr. Freemen. And he signed up for it, it’s right here. In the name of science, he said. Because we had completed the experiment with mice// and found similar..
MR. FREEMEN: You admit to electrifying your partner’s mind, Dr. Thomson!?
DR. THOMSON: His consciousness, Mr. Freemen. There’s a difference. And no, we didn’t electrify it. We replicated it, and then unscrambled it, in a way.
MR. FREEMEN: What do you mean, unscrambled. . .?
[DR. THOMSON LEANS BACK TOWARDS THE TABLE AND DRAWS A DIAGRAM ON THE PAPER RESEMBLING A CIRCUIT, OF SORTS]
DR. THOMSON: This is a simple circuit, no? It holds a piece of information. One or Zero. Yes or No. Life or Death. The human mind—no, the universe, is made up of this stuff. But in the form of sub-atomic particles, and time, and space, and energy and mass. Now, imagine if you had a machine that could process all these ones and zeros and come up with a formula. A formula for consciousness.
MR. FREEMEN: You’re insane, Doctor.
DR. THOMSON: No! We’ve done it! And I can prove it to you, if you’d be willing to strap on the headset and sacrifice your mentality. But of course, there are less savage ways of proving it. We’ve just. . . we’ve just got to figure it out is all.
MR. FREEMEN: So you don’t have a formula.
DR. THOMSON: Science is a process, Mr. Freemen.
MR. FREEMEN: So what did you find? If you don’t have a formula, what use was the experiment?
DR. THOMSON: Page 97 of the 8th Edition McGuffin Physics Encyclopedia: Godel showed, through formal logical reasoning, that a formal system of sufficient sophistication, sufficient complexity, Mr. Freemen. He showed that in this system will have true things that cannot be proved to be true, and false things that cannot be proved false. Our whole attempt to explain everything through mathematics—or, rather, physics—is futile. It cannot be complete, physically cannot be complete. But here, trapped within the Gordian Knot of the human brain, lay a secret to metaphysical mental connection. SpoOOOOky, hey?
[MR. FREEMEN RUBS HIS TEMPLES AND, GETTING UP FROM THE TABLE, WALKS AROUND AND PUTS BOTH HANDS ON THE COLD, METALLIC CHAIR]
MR. FREEMEN: So, . . . like the Collective Subconscious?? You’re saying you’ve observed something that Campbell and McCarthy and the rest of those Crackheads thought of?
DR. THOMSON: Yes, . . . Yes and No. Ha! Yes AND No. . . Let’s play a game! Yes!!! Yes—You ask yes or no questions, and I’ll answer them!
MR. FREEMEN: Are you // kidding me?
DR. THOMSON: INdulge me, Mr. Freemen.
[A SMILE CREEPS UP ON DR. THOMSON’S FACE, AND HE WHIPS HIS CIGARETTE UP TO HIS MOUTH AND SUCKS IN, TOO MUCH, AND COUGHS UP SMOKE IN A FIT OF LAUGHTER. MR. FREEMEN LOOKS AT HIS CAMERA TEAM, AND LOOKS BACK, RESIGNED.]
DR. THOMSON: [coughing] So?
MR. FREEMEN: What were. . . Were you able to prove the existence of a collective subconscious.
DR. THOMSON: Yes. [under his breath] . . . of sorts.
MR. FREEMEN: Is this collective subconscious // a type..
DR. THOMSON: Please, Mr. Freemen, it’s not a subconscious. It’s more of. . . more of a “trans-conscious” if anything. We refer to it as a. . .
[DR. THOMSON PAUSES]
DR. THOMSON: —— A trans-conscious phenomena.
MR. FREEMEN: Fine with me. Is this “trans-conscious phenomena” a type of field, or wave, or part of our brain?
DR. THOMSON: Yes yes YES! Mr. Freemen!
MR. FREEMEN: This is incredibly stupid, Dr. Thomson.
DR. THOMSON: Now, now, Mr. Freemen. Go ahead, ask your questions.
[MR. FREEMEN IS NOW VISIBLY FRUSTRATED]
MR. FREEMEN: I have one last question before we walk away from you and your insane mock-fiction experiments.
[DR. THOMSON’S EYES FIX ON MR. FREEMEN’S, AND DR. THOMSON’S SMILE FADES]
DR. THOMSON: Ask away, Mr. // Freemen.
MR. FREEMEN: Is Dr. Jeeter still alive?
[DR. THOMSON’S SMILE RETURNS TO HIS FACE]
DR. THOMSON: Yes. Very much so, in fact.
MR. FREEMEN: Can I speak with him?
DR. THOMSON: No.
MR. FREEMEN: Can I hear him?
DR. THOMSON: No.
MR. FREEMEN: Is he ALIVE, DR. THOMSON!
DR. THOMSON: YES! And No! But YES!! YES he is alive! More alive than you or me. More conscious, and alive, and // free.
MR. FREEMEN: Is he// here…
DR. THOMSON: WE CAN MEAsure him here, Mr. Freemen!! In this box—this tiny computer. We can measure him, isolated, as if suspended by tiny, invisible wires. All of us, but him, here. And he isn’t trapped, not anymore. He’s right here, alive, and conscious. He’s here, Mr. Freemen. Here—and I can measure him. And no, I cannot speak with him. I cannot tell him of our success. But I have opened him, unscrambled him. I have plugged him into the machine, and asked the most grand question in the universe: Yes or No. And he has replied to me: YES! Yes Dr. Thomson! I’m here! I’m alive! And so can you be, too!