I did it. I met Dan Dennett.
I picked him and his lovely wife up from the airport, sat next to him in the car and talked to him about his new book he had mentioned on TED. I shot his talk with two video cameras and also took photos. After the talk, I drank wine and had dinner with him. I listened him answer people’s questions which are already answered a million times in his books and papers and talks. Next morning I and Eser had breakfast with him at his hotel (he invited us!) and I got all my books signed. I gave him a few presents: a very old clock mechanism, albums of Kerem Görsev, a book on Islamic architecture, a paper on kin selection and a DVD containing my science-related visual work, everything related to Evodes (the evolutionary poster design project that I am developing with Eser Aygün) [which later developed into Gráphagos], the photos from the talk, and two movies (The Man From Earth and Wittgenstein). He said he might include my photo-manipulation (“Santa Clement”, below) in his presentation where he talks about his visual resemblence to Darwin. We went up to his room and showed him how Evodes works on his computer; he wanted us to let him know when we get interesting results so that he may arrange a TED talk for us.
Then we said goodbye.
I did all those things, and a lot of people helped me organize everything. Many thanks to Eser Aygün, Murat Özsaltık, Mine Yağlı, İbrahim Yağlı, Meltem Girişen, Can Önduygu, and Gökhan Ersan for helping me out during this very special week. Many thanks to Zehra Sayers, Defne Üçer Saylan, Ömer Hızıroğlu, and Gretchen Dobson for including me in this. And many thanks to Susan Dennett for being so kind and offering her chair to me so that I can hear her husband talking in the restaurant.
“Don’t meet your heroes” may be good advice on average, but apparently Dan Dennett is an outlier.
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