To Be or Not To Be - No Other Option?

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To Be or Not to Be - No Other Option?
I am and I am not.  An insubstantial fluctuation in the fabric of space-time.  We flicker in and out of existence, living on borrowed energy.  A sort of half-being, like Angela Carter’s fairies, “to whom the verb ‘to be’, may not be properly applied, since in [your] sense, [we] are not”.  How might we answer Hamlet’s great question? 
Why should this concern us, I hear you ask?  We scarcely ‘live’ long enough to have suffered “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” that prompted Hamlet to pose his question.  The span of our existence - and I must call it that for want of a better term - is so brief.  The slice of the space-time continuum that each of us occupy so immeasurably tiny that we cannot be observed.  Nevertheless, this does not mean we can be overlooked.  For we are not nothing.
Wait!  You physicists may say.  We are nothing.  We are what the nothing is made of once you have stripped away all the mass and all the energy, all the real particles from a region of space-time.  The vacuum energy of empty space seethes with our brief existences.  We are the nothing, the non-zero ground energy state without which nothing else could exist.  Some claim we even got the whole thing started in the first place. 
Nothing - you macroscopics have been worrying about nothing from the moment you first thought to ask:  why am I here?  Why is there something rather than nothing?  Tying yourselves up in knots with your existential and ontological dilemmas for centuries.  The philosophers and physicists thrust and parry, with verbal swords at the ready, over how nothing should be defined.  The physicists scoff at the philosophers’ attempts to make sense of a nothing that can have no possible physical meaning.  The philosophers accuse the physicists of performing a disingenuous linguistic sleight of hand.  To which the physicists would advise the philosophers just to “shut up and calculate” - if only they could.  
And at the centre of all this brouhaha is us - the half-beings “to whom the verb ‘to be’ may not be properly applied.”  The “p v   ̃p,   ̃  ̃p,  p” of your formal logic is looking rather shaky.  If you allow the p to stand for the proposition ‘to be’.  To be or not to be, not, not to be, therefore to be.  Ay, there’s the rub.  For I both am and am not.  True, the universe is under no obligation to conform to your wishes.  Nor even your logic.  It is you who have set up a false dichotomy. 
We are the devil in the detail.  We mess with your heads and your equations.  Overlook us at your peril.  Because without taking us into account the real particles will not behave.  Or misbehave, depending on your point of view.  Not such a bad feat for we who are nothing, yet not quite nothing.  Why worry about nothing?  You bet you should.  Without us, no universe, no Shakespeare.  And no Hamlet to pose his famous question with its dubious assumption that there can be no intermediate state between being and non-being. 
The lifespan of our individual half-existences may not amount to much if anything at all.  Pity us if you will for the brevity of our half-being.  Less than a mere chronon of time?  Time?  Let’s not get started...  Yet collectively, we gleefully cause your calculations to run amok, piling infinities upon infinities.  With no past to regret, nor future to fear - in the words of those other bards, Egan and Kahn: “In the meantime, in between Time, ain’t we got fun.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

About the Author: 
I am an English and German secondary teacher. I enjoy reading books about physics written for a general audience

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