If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, does it make a sound? The famous words of philosopher Charles Mann hold special relevance for Kyle Bartman following his belligerent 21st birthday party this past Saturday night. All attendees have lost their memory of the party and, as a result, the very occurrence of the party has been questioned on a philosophical level.
“Nobody remembers what happened, so did the party even happen?” they have been asking.
To verify the story, The Morning Stack contacted everyone who clicked “Going” or “Maybe” on the Facebook invitation for the party, but was also unable to find anyone with any memory of the party.
One lead arose when reporters contacted Jared Lechler, who awoke on Sunday morning in Santa Barbara County Jail after being arrested for urinating in public. Though Lechler didn’t recall anything, the arresting officer Charles McLaughlin was asked by reporters if he noticed the party on the 6600 block of Sabado Tarde that night.
“Saturday night … Well, that’s bingo night at my mother’s retirement home,” McLaughlin said. “So I was definitely too shitfaced to remember anything after my shift started.”
Though Bartman insists on continuing the search for someone who did not black out at his party, he is still perplexed by the philosophical quandary.
“The physical evidence of the party is all here — beer cans, broken heels … somebody left an upper-decker in my toilet, the floors were sticky … but you can’t just assume something happened if nobody remembers it,” Bartman said. “But, wait a minute. Even if I did remember it, could I then say it happened? Just because I perceive something doesn’t mean it happened. For all I know I could be living in a totally different reality but my brain is just perceiving it a certain way. This whole thing is tripping me out.”
To answer Bartman’s questions, we talked to Dr. Rick Mercer, one of the most respected faculty members in the UCSB Philosophy Dept.
“What we’re dealing with here is the basic question of metaphysics,” Mercer said. “What is the true nature of existence? Aristotle raised this question and we philosophers have been debating it ever since. For example, my wife slept with our gardener, but she claims she doesn’t remember, and I never witnessed it, so between the two of us it never happened. Or did it? Basically what Aristotle wanted us to ask was, ‘Is my wife a whore?’ This is the fundamental question of existence and, really, it could be argued either way.”
Daily Nexus satire columnist Matt Renner’s raises some questions: If one factors out the time they can’t remember, are most of our weeks are four-days long and strictly scholastic?