Please enjoy my attempt at a silly musical...you don't really need to know a whole lot of philosophy to read this! Thanks!
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Scene: Dinner. Descartes looks very interested in the wall and fiddles with something in his pocket.
DESCART: My dear, I’m pretty certain…that is, I want to get things right this time.
HELENA: [expectantly] Oh?
DESCART: Indeed! I’ve been mulling over what to do about this situation for quite some time now.
HELENA: [leans in] And?
DESCART: I think the time has come…not a complete disaster like the last time!
DESCART: Well *pulls notepad out of pocket and flips to a page* I’ve come to the conclusion that the square root of three [increasing excitement]…is indeed equal to the square root of three!
HELENA stares blankly, in shock. Descartes assumes that she is just in awe and continues.
DESCART: And, you know, I think that it is doubtful that the Evil Genius would interfere with a truth like this.
HELENA: What?! [stands up] That’s it! It’s over!
DESCART: Helena, don’t go! Have I angered you?
HELENA: What about us? Our future? Our…[looks down at tummy, then stops short]. This isn’t any different than the last time when you declared that an octagon has eight sides!
DESCART: [in earnest] Dear, it’s completely different! [discretely] I have a hunch that the Evil Genius was in on that one.
HELENA: You just don’t understand! I’ve have enough of your meditating, and x-y coordinates, polygons, and especially of that Evil Genius philosophy you keep going on about! We’re through; I’m sorry Rene.
DESCART: But, darling! Doesn’t mathematics mean anything to you?
HELENA: [Hmfph.] No! Mathematics, philosophy, science, you are far too obsessed! ! It’s all too irrelevant for our lives now! But if it means so much to you, you can be the Father of Mathematics rather than the father of my children! [stands up.] Good day, M’sieur Descartes.
DESCART: Helena! Don’t go…
Helena exits. Descartes looks dejected. He clears off the table and then sits down to meditate. A few moments later…he speaks.
DESCART: [look up exact quotes here] Is there anything in this world I cannot doubt? I’ve put so much stake in reason and scientific thought! For all we know…for all SHE knows, this could all be a dream and the evil genius could be playing an elaborate joke on us! I suppose that the only thing I cannot doubt is the fact that I think, and because I think, I must be…I think, therefore, I am….Cogito ergo sum!
Lights off Descartes, who is seen writing vigorously in his notebook. Socrates and Sappho enter; the focus is on them now.
SAPPHO: Absolutely pathetic!
SOCRATES: This is a nightmare! When I started my noble quest for truth, and urged others to follow, I never thought that they’d come to doubt the things that would help them to complete this quest! These modern men seek to tear down everything that has been built!
SAPPHO: [more concerned with the Descartes scene] What a loser! No wonder he can’t keep a girl.
SOCRATES: Well, honestly, who could stand all of his nonsensical yacking. It’s no surprise I’m one of the few great thinkers to be married.
SAPPHO: Wait a sec there, Socrates! As I recall people had considerable issues with your “yacking” as well. [to herself] Including myself…
SOCRATES: Yes, but you must remember that a man who can admit that he doesn’t know everything is very appealing to the ladies.
SAPPHO: Yea, sure…
SOCRATES: It follows that a man who can admit that he doesn’t know anything is…well, irresistible!
SAPPHO: But this man…is currently doubting everything
SOCRATES: No Sappho, you misunderstand, there’s a distinction!
SAPPHO: Oh all you crazy guys and your distinctions.
Light on Descartes
DESCART: I think therefore I am…yes, that is clear. But what of everything else that I’ve studied? Well, I believe its clear that all of those ideas are clear, just as the fact that I exist is clear…so clearly, any idea which is as clear as the fact that I exist must be true.
SAPPHO: [to Socrates] And that was utterly unclear…
SOCRATES: Oh, what is he babbling on about now?
DESCART: …and the mind must be separate from the body! The mind deals with the spiritual and the body deals with the material! [Pauses a moment to calculate all that he has written.] In fact, based on all my meditations, it would appear that God exists, and NOT an Evil Genius! Oh rapture! I must contact Helena and tell her that we don’t have to let the Evil Genius concern us anymore!
SAPPHO: [laughs mischievously].
SOCRATES: Oh no, what are up to?
SAPPHO: Nothing, I just think I’ll have a bit of fun with our delusional friend.
SOCRATES: SAPPHO! I don’t think that it would be wise to interfere…he might think somewhat differently than us but at least he is searching for the truth, which is honestly all I ask.
SAPPHO: Who said anything about truth? I’m just looking for some entertainment!
Socrates shakes his head as Sappho walks off. Her voice is heard offstage.
SAPPHO: Descartes! Descartes!
DESCART: [Shaken.] What? Whose there? Helena?
SAPPHO: Descartes I am displeased with you.
SAPPHO: No you insolent fool!
DESCART: [guessing at this point]…Evil Genius?
SAPPHO: Yes! It is I!
DESCART: But I uh…I…I just got finished proving that you don’t exist.
Sappho walks onto stage. She has changed out of her toga and is wearing an elaborate and evil outfit.
SAPPHO: Well, I just got finished proving that your reason has failed you.
DESCART: It has? How do I know that you’re really the Evil Genius and not just a random lady in a fancy disguise, or that my senses aren’t fooling me? I’d imagined the Evil Genius would be…rather larger.
Sappho raises her arms, thunder sounds and lights flicker. Descartes cowers.
SAPPHO: You don’t have to believe me…but I think that doing so would be the smart thing to do.
DESCART: [trying to appease] Yes, yes…you’re right. What…er...what is it that brings you here on this lovely evening, Evil Genius? You’re looking quite evil tonight.
SAPPHO: Oh, Rene, darling, don’t suck up! I’d expect that from Machiavelli, but honestly, it doesn’t become you! You know why I’m here, Rene.
DESCART: [flirting] Perhaps you’ve heard of my breakup with Helena and come to capture my heart?
SAPPHO: Oh please! I don’t swing that way.
Descartes looks disappointed for a split second but quickly recovers to cowardice.
SAPPHO: The real reason I’m here is that you intend to tell the world that I don’t exist in that little book of yours, but obviously I do exist, as far as you’re concerned.
DESCART: Please forgive me Evil Genius. Can I get you some tea? A grilled cheese sandwich?
SAPPHO: No! Silence! You must pay.
SAPPHO allows Descartes to process this information, before going on.
SAPPHO: So I hear you have a new theory.
DESCART: [gets excited again]. Yes, Evil Genius. I believe that it’s pretty much the answer to everything: I think therefore I am.
SAPPHO: Oh really?
DESCART: Yes, and, well, now that you’re here, I believe it’s reasonable to doubt everything else…
THAT IS, I’VE LOST EVERYTHING ELSE.
MY LIFE, MY LOVE, MY SOUL.
BUT STILL, I’M SURE I’M HERE
BECAUSE I THINK…
I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ELSE
I THINK, THEREFORE I AM.
AND I THINK YOU’RE HERE TO SHOW ME, GENIUS,
THIS WORLD’S NOTHING BUT A SCAM.
As Descartes sings this pseudo-serious song, he becomes absorbed in his own thoughts and doesn’t notice that SAPPHO has exited and rejoins Socrates. Descartes slips into a reverie.
SOCRATES: SAPPHO, I could kill you for that!
SAPPHO: Oh, I’m not done yet, old man! If you want to see a fool, I’ll show you a fool!
SAPPHO points a finger at Descartes, thunder sounds. Descartes jumps. SAPPHO exits.
DESCART: [searchingly] Evil Genius?
SAPPHO reenters with Descartes.
SAPPHO: I’m here, Rene. But, I think your philosophy needs some…pizzazz.
DESCART: [indignant] But, madam, it’s not about “pizzazz.”
SAPPHO: Oh, isn’t it? Perhaps I need to hear about it again.
Music gets louder.
I THINK THEREFORE I…SING
Descartes looks extremely confused at first, but quickly becomes happily possessed by his new theory. Sappho is amused; Socrates looks on disapprovingly.
WHAT IS THIS NEW IDEA TAKING WING?
IT’S UPSIDE DOWN AND INSIDE OUT!
[proclaiming] THERE’S NOTHING IN THIS WORLD I DOUBT!
IT SEEMS I’VE FINALLY FOUND ETERNAL SPRING
As he sings, Descartes tosses his notebook, calculator, pencils, etc. around the stage as though he is through with them. He then picks up other things, like flowers, boxes of chocolate and stuffed animals, and puts those objects which fit into his pocket.
I THINK, THEREFORE I SING!
COGITO ERGO SUM WAS JUST A FLING!
THE MIND AND BODY PROBLEM’S
NOT MY PROBLEM ANYMORE
I’D BE A FOOL TO WASTE TIME ON THOSE THINGS
I’LL SWAY, AND FLASH A SMILE,
THERE’LL BE NO MORE MEDITATIONS FOR A WHILE
I’VE THOUGHT, SO NOW I’LL DANCE!
THE EVIL GENIUS HAS ME IN ITS TRANCE!
I’VE THOUGHT, SO NOW I’LL DANCE!
THE EVIL GENIUS HAS ME IN ITS TRANCE!
I AM SKIPPING, FROLICKING, AND PRANCING
I AM A ZIPPING MELONCHALICALLY AND DANCING!
I THOUGHT THAT ONLY MATH WAS WORTH ADVANCING
BUT NOW MY MIND HAS TAKEN TO ROMANCING!
I LONGED TO BE THE SMARTEST GUY IN FRANCE AND
A HUGE NAME WHICH NONE WOULD BE SURPASSING
LA GEOMETRIA WAS WORTH FINANCING
BUT I WAS NEVER ONE TO BET A CHANCE HAND
YOU SEE, MY FRIEND IN FLORENCE GOT ARRESTED
ADDRESSED AS GALILEO GALILIE
EXCOMMUNICATED FOR WHAT HE SUGGESTED
AND SPEAKING TRUTH THAT NO ONE ELSE DIGESTED!
IT’S NOT A FATE I THOUGHT I SHOULD HAVE TESTED
QUITE HONESTLY, I’M GLAD I’VE NOT INVESTED
FOR IT SEEMS MY OLD IDEA HAS BEEN BESTED,
I’VE THOUGHT OF SOMETHING BETTER TO CONTEST IT!
FOR NOW I…
THINK, THEREFORE I SING
X-Y-b AND SLOPES ARE NOT MY THING.
WHO CARES IF SQUARE’S DIAG’NALS
ARE COMMENSR’BLE OR NOT?
WHO CARES IF THIS LINE CURVES
WHILE THAT ONE’S STRAIGHT FROM DOT TO DOT?
AND DOES IT TRULY MATTER
WHETHER I AM HERE OR NOT?
I THINK THEREFORE I SING!
I THINK IT’S TIME TO DANCE!
I THINK YOU ALL SHOULD KNOW