THE MADNESS OF PHINEAS GALEN (Act I Sc 2)
(Setting: Court of Trials. There are seven Adjudicators; each dressed in what might be described as ceremonial lab coats. They sit on a high bench as a judge might. There is a central podium flanked by two others, although each are some distance away from one another. These are for The Inquirer and The Advocate. The room is quite white and brightly lit. Officer brings proceedings to order.)
Officer: This Twelfth Session of the Court of Trials subcategory Educational Circuit subcategory Instructional Statutes, thirty-second assembly for the investigation of Phineas Galen and violation of said Statutes. Chief Academic of Justice Alder, Academic of Philosophy Baldwin, Academic of Theology Carson, Academic of Sociology Davis, Academic of Education Edwin, Academic of Psychology Ferris, Academic of Physiology Graham presiding. All acknowledge the authority of this body to conduct these proceedings by standing.
Justice: As you were.
Inquirer: The Inquirer addresses the Subject, and asks to approve of the proof to his identity before he is put to examination. He is reminded the Directive of Truth still weighs upon all he says.
Phineas: My name is Phineas Galen, I am satisfied with the previous thirty-one proofs that have been offered as to the specificity of my person before inquiry, as I am for this one.
Inquirer: Please keep your responses succinct, Mr. Galen, and answer what is directed to you. It is for this very reason of lack of brevity that we have had to endure thirty-one previous interviews in this proceeding.
Advocate: Let the record show that the Inquirer has expressed his opinion that this delicate matter need only take the attention of an afternoon’s arguments to conclude—
Justice: We’re not going to get into this nit-picky bickering this early in today’s inquiry, are we, Advocate?
Advocate: The Inquirer is the one who opened up the subject of the length of the proceedings, and is attempting to prejudice impartiality by demonizing the Subject without proofs.
Justice: And you are attempting to demonize the Inquirer using the same tactics. Keep in your corner, Advocate.
Advocate: As you say, sir.
Justice: Mr. Galen. It is true that this court has not been able to obtain all its data necessary to come to an arguable conclusion greatly in part by your evasiveness, ambiguity, and sometimes blatant disregard for the Inquirer of Truth. We have therefore widened his powers of interrogation, and we will formally charge you with crimes under Justice Statutes if you continue in this manner. Have I been understood, Subject?
Phineas: Clearly, sir.
Education: And remember: succinct answers, Subject
Phineas: Yes, sir.
Justice: Inquirer, you may begin your investigation.
Inquirer: Thank you. I present to the Subject the signed Warrants of Observation by all members of his class on the day in question, affirming that he began to offer descriptions of events that are clearly outside of the accepted models for instruction, as defined in declarations that have been ratified by the High Academia General Session; violations in the fields of Theology, Philosophy, Psychology, Physiology not to mention Education, all at once. Do you dispute these Observations, Mr. Galen?
Phineas: I do not.
Inquirer: Let the record show that the Subject is in agreement with the Warrrants of Observation—
Phineas: I did not state that I agreed with them, Inquirer.
Inquirer: I beg your pardon?
Phineas: I said, I never stated that I agreed with them. Your conclusion is in error on that account.
Justice: Mr. Galen, we all plainly heard you say that you did not dispute the Warrants.
Phineas: That is correct, sir.
Inquirer: Then, if you do not dispute them, you must therefore agree with them.
Phineas: That does not necessarily follow.
Advocate: I think what the Subject is attempting to clarify, is that the Warrants contain eyewitness accounts of other people’s versions and interpretations of events. He does not dispute that they believe what they saw and heard, but cannot necessarily agree upon their interpretations.
Phineas: Actually, it is simpler than that, Advocate. I could possibly not dispute them because I am aware of a conspiracy of my students to discredit me, which you all know it is a serious offense to attack the reputation of a member of the Cadre. If I disputed the Warrants, you would be obliged to suspend their education pending investigation, which would set them back and ruin their futures. I might wish to avoid this.
I might wish to decline my right to dispute the warrants to keep the students from being obliged to make court appearances, further setting their education behind. I might recognize that twelve voices against my singular denial is futile and pick other winnable battles to fight in court so I appear a more sound Subject. I might wish to decline disputing the warrants just so these proceedings can move along faster, in fact Inquirer, I may not dispute these warrants for the sheer pleasure of annoying you, none of these scenarios guarantee or imply that I have any agreement to their contents whatsoever. Your conclusion is in error, Inquirer.
Philosophy: He’s right. The premises of the first part of Inquirer’s arguments do not necessarily lead to the conclusion. Inquirer was about to present data reached in error. Errant data which could unravel other argumentation built upon it later on and make a strong case in appeal disputations.
Justice: Inquirer. While we are eager for complete data to reach our arguable conclusion, we will not tolerate shortcuts and errant assumptions. Earn your case, sir.
Inquirer: My apologies to the Academia Collective. I will be more meticulous.
Advocate: Chief Justice, since it is apparent that our Inquirer is going to take the better part of the morning to gain his first point, much less close his case, might I ask for a brief intermission before we embark upon the next interview?
Justice: We just got started, Advocate.
Advocate: I assure you that it is in the Court’s best interest.
Justice: You have five minutes while the Inquirer prepares his next line of investigation.
Advocate: Five minutes is all that is required.
Justice: Be punctual, Advocate. We are determined not to waste any more time on this investigation.
Advocate: You have my word.
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