This is very much a “go with me” monologue choice. Its from the 1957 science fiction film The Incredible Shrinking Man. The 50’s SciFi genre isn’t isn’t particularly known for good writing or acting. But this piece is an exception.
Grant Williams plays Robert Carey, a man who is exposed to a mysterious radioactive mist that causes it him to continually shrink smaller and smaller. He manages to fight off the effects for a time but eventually begins to shrink again. He will eventually shrink to nothing. This monologue comes from the end of the film where we see Carey contemplate how the rest of his life will play out, his place in the world, the meaning of his existence.
It’s all done in voiceover, which makes sense because there is no one left for him to speak to.
I find this piece quite moving. It evokes a notion that I think we all halve from time to time. What is our place in the universe? Where do we fit? Where do we belong?
“I was continuing to shrink, to become… what? The infinitesimal? What was I? Still a human being? Or was I the man of the future? If there were other bursts of radiation, other clouds drifting across seas and continents, would other beings follow me into this vast new world? So close – the infinitesimal and the infinite. But suddenly, I knew they were really the two ends of the same concept. The unbelievably small and the unbelievably vast eventually meet – like the closing of a gigantic circle. I looked up, as if somehow I would grasp the heavens. The universe, worlds beyond number, God’s silver tapestry spread across the night.
And in that moment, I knew the answer to the riddle of the infinite. I had thought in terms of man’s own limited dimension. I had presumed upon nature. That existence begins and ends in man’s conception, not nature’s. And I felt my body dwindling, melting, becoming nothing. My fears melted away. And in their place came acceptance. All this vast majesty of creation, it had to mean something. And then I meant something, too. Yes, smaller than the smallest, I meant something, too.
To God, there is no zero. I still exist! “