Yesterday I saw a notice posted on the bulletin board at work announcing a lecture in Flynn Auditorium at Vanderbilt. It was to be about consciousness.
"The Problem of Consciousness in Philosophy, Religion and Science." A Templeton Lecture by Christof Koch
As I looked I mumbled, "I want to go to that; it's right up my alley." So I called my friend Rob to see if he could go with me. He was too tired but made me promise to report back to him what the guy said. All day long whenever I passed the bulletin board I looked at the little handbill tacked there and thought, "I'm goin."
As I drove home I realized I didn't remember the name of the auditorium. I did know it was six o'clock in the Law School building, just not the name of the auditorium.
Upon arriving home I called my director at work and asked him if he would kindly glance at the notice for me and let me know the place. A minute passed and he came back to the phone saying it was the Flynn Auditorium and also that Mary Beth says she is going too. So I wrote it down and thanked him. Hanging up the phone I called Steve to see if he wanted to go. Steve was kind of down in the dumps but thought it might do him good to get out so I said I would leave right away and pick him up.
By the time I got through our local mid-county bottleneck, we were late - but that was alright - we would surely catch most of the lecture. After locating parking and the building we were now faced with the task of finding the room. A very kind student directed us using the side door as reference. But when we found the side door locked, and went around to the front door we had lost our bearings. Finally we found an auditorium door with the handbill posted next to it. Going in we found a nicely-appointed but sparsely populated room with a video being projected on a screen. We shrugged and sat and watched and listened. It was apparently Professor Koch lecturing about consciousness as advertised, but we were a little bit taken aback that, instead of being there in the flesh, he was there on "Memorex" so to speak. Be that as it may, we made the best of things and listened as well as we could to the grainy and audibly faint movie.
Steve and I went on back and had a good visit. We talked some about consciousness and some about other things, as well as postulating as to why we would be presented with a movie of a lecture rather than a real lecture from a real flesh and blood man. I surmised that the good professor had got his flight cancelled or some such and they had to substitute a dvd of a previous performance.
So, on to next morning. I saw Mary Beth at work and mentioned the lecture and that I didn't see her there after all. Much to my surprise she said she certainly was there and she had seen Tom there too. (Tom's the guy who posted the notice on the board in the first place.) I said, really, did you leave early, before we came in? Didn't you like the video?
Mary Beth said she didn't see any video; she had seen Professor Koch give a lecture. I said last night, 6 PM?
She said yes, that's right. I said I wonder how that could be when Steve and I were in that very same auditorium between 6:20 and 7:00 PM and had only seen a video.
Mary Beth said she and her friends were there in the back of the room, standing against the wall because the room was packed out with people.
"Packed out?" I said. "We saw lees than a dozen people there. Is this the twilight zone or what?"
Mary Beth said she's not telling a fib and that I could ask Tom. I said I believe her: I'm just trying to figure out how two different scenarios could be true at the same time in the same room.
I said, as a matter of fact the video looked like it was made in the same room we were watching it in. Same ceiling lights, same rows of work-tables and chairs for the audience. I was starting to think there had been a vortex in the time-space continuum since we appeared to be watching a video of something that had taken place earlier in the same room - but it wasn't earlier - it was at the same time. I said to Mary Beth at least three times, "This is just like the twilight zone."
Then it hit me - Steve and I didn't actually find Flynn Auditorium, but it's twin. And we weren't watching a video recording but a live feed.
As soon as I figured that out I called Steve and said, "Steve, it was the overflow room."
How proverbial is that?
Here's the blurb about it. There's an mp3 recording of it there if you want to listen.
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