Iron Man (thinking): Good speech. One of my best, if I do say so myself. Certainly helps to believe every word with all my heart and soul… especially about facing forward into the future. It works in theory at least.
Tony Stark: You’re probably all wondering why I’ve called you here today. Having recently lost… a dear friend… I just wanted- to say… I realize I haven’t always been the easiest man to work with. Or the most demonstrative of my admiration. But I want you all to know, I couldn’t ask for a finer group of people to be associated with.
Iron Man: I… I didn’t want it to end like this… not like this.
Iron Man: I’m sorry, Ted. You’ll never know how sorry. But I can’t --- let you go on --- like this. If there’s any shred of the real you left in there --- forgive me.
Ted: You’re not expected to understand, Anthony. It’s the mysterium tremendae--- the big mystery. Perhaps the one true unknowable.
Tony: No. That’s a… comfortable illusion. There’s no mystery, just a cessation of chemical processes. Candles blowing out in the wind entropy wins.
Ted: Not necessarily. Thermodynamics states that nothing is ever destroyed, only form changes.
Tony: That only applies to matter and energy. Mind is only a series of processes; when those stop, it’s gone.
Ted: Buckminster Fuller once said that “God is a verb.” Is a spoken word heard by many truly gone? Perhaps that verb is a word which takes the lifetime of the universe to pronounce, and each life, each event, constitutes a syllable.
Tony Stark: Ted… I know you mean well, but this once --- spare me the meta-physics. Please.
Ted: I’m sorry. I know this is hard on you--- no matter how much you want people to think you’re made of iron.
Tony Stark: I just wanted him… to be proud of me.
Ted: I didn’t know your father, but one thing I know about him is he wasn’t a stupid man--- and only a fool could fail to be proud of you. I know I am.
Tony Stark (thinking): I never told him how much that meant to me. As much --- maybe more—as it would from my father himself.
Ted: -- the uncertainty principle, which defines the inescapable central mystery of physics. We can’t know a particle’s position and its velocity simultaneously, we can only make educated guesses based on probabilities.
Ted: Is there a problem, Mr. Stark?
Tony: Yes. Like Einstein, I refuse to accept that God plays dice with the universe.
Ted: Perhaps he doesn’t, Mr. Stark--- but I’ve found he plays a mean hand of poker.
(Entire class laughs but for Tony)
Ted: Mr. Stark… a word, please? I’ll be honest with you. I’m not sure you’re particularly well-suited for this class.
Tony: My grade point average is-
Ted: Oh, your grades aren’t at issue: you’re easily one of the most brilliant students this institution has ever seen. Unfortunately, there’s one very important thing you seem to be missing.
Tony: That would be-?
Ted: An open mind. A good scientist examines his answers for flaws. A great scientist examines the questions themselves. You’re undeniably brilliant and superbly educated--- but you’re entirely too certain you already know that. Anthony… it’s good to have iron in your spine, but not in your head. It’s not flexible enough. Think about it, please.
Tony: I… will.
Tony (reflects): I did, and realized he was right. He’d seen through me… straight through to the rigid shadow of my father behind me. And then he’d handed me a mirror, so I could see it myself. My father taught me strength of character- but it was Red Slaght who showed me the power of reason.
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