Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The Higgs

Long ago, back in 1994, I wrote a piece starring the Higgs Boson. I still hold by its assertions, despite today's announcements. It forms part of my long text 'The Ghost Machine' (and, yes, I had that title back in 1994 too) and can be found entire at  Here's the Higgs:



(A quiet glade in the Outer Realms. Hilarius Hilaricon floats peacefully over the stream of nothingness, meditating on abstruse tangles of being. Something sparkles on the nothing-stream.)

H.H. - Hello there, who are you?
H.B. - One who is tormented with existence, harried like a hare by the dogs of knowledge. My name is Boson, Higgs Boson.
H.H. - My friend, what is your problem?
H.B. - Until but a few years ago - how long it all seems now — I was happy, at peace and non-existent - I had no problems then - but then the Higgs appeared and forced me into name and the scar I bear to this very day.
H.H. - Are you telling me it was your father?
H.B. - Father, creator, inventor, discoverer - it’s all alike to me. It prised me from the contentedness of nothingness, weighed me with gravity, squeezed mass from my cries, discontented me into content.
H.H. - But that’s being born. We all must endure it.
H.B. - Not if you do not exist. And I don’t. Yet I am forced to be. I am but a simple particle, my friend, my needs are few, my resources little, yet the Higgs and its kind would entangle me with everything, from the birth of the Universe to the surface of sandwiches. I am not made for this. I haven’t the strength to bear it.
H.H.- So the Higgs turned you from a simple Boson to a particle in great demand?
H.B.- Even the Boson came with the Higgs.
H.H.- But why? Why are you persecuted so?
H.B.- For explanations.
H.H.- Ah, I see.
H.B.- They have plans for me, you know. I feel so - so - hunted. I can sense them at every turn, they’re looking everywhere for me, they’re out to get me.
H.H. -Please, please, take a hold of yourself.
H.B. - I can’t, I don’t exist.
H.H. -You’re beginning to sound paranoid.

                                    A SIMPLE FRIENDSHIP

H.B. - I know they’re after me, I’ve seen them. I am not, but am becoming.
H.H. - So why do you not go to the Higgs and its kind, speak to them, try to come to an agreement, to make a pact on your emptiness.
H.B. - Because I do not exist.
H.H. - But the Higgs and its allies plot to make you material?
H.B. - Yes, yes, I never was and they will make me be. I was thinner than the rarest air, less than the shadow of a molecule, slighter than the skimpiest verse, more negligible than the dressings of economists. I can’t, I can’t take the weight of it all. The Higgs and its creatures want to hurl things at me underground, where others cannot see their crimes, to prove their equations, to make me count - I, who have no knowledge of mathematics - shooting their numbers ever faster towards infinity and me, until I am forced out of nothing by the bombardment.
H.H. - That sounds very painful but ....
H.B. - Have you ever been hit with a hadron?
H.H. - No, but I think the only thing you can do is wait until you exist and then talk to them. Surely they want to understand?
H.B.- Talk? I shall do more than talk. I shall change into a wave. I shall drown them with in-existence, I shall submerge them in apparitions.
(Hilarius Hilaricon brightens at the last word and floats higher in the air. Interest animates his voice.)
H.H.- Apparitions?
H.B.- Yes, my friend.
H.H.- Call me Hilarius. You mentioned apparitions?
H.B.- Yes, Hilarius, my friend, I too am a ghost. You are the ghost of the living, I am the ghost of an idea. You are the haunted, I, the hunted.
H.H.- We shall talk further on these matters.

(As the darkness falls on the page, they merge into the thickening nothing, entering its non-existent folds, like shepherds plodding homeward, into the brotherhood of a void bucolic.)

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