Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Tree Sound

So you've probably heard this one:

If a tree falls in the woods and there's nobody there to hear it, does it make a sound?

I first heard that when I was in 5th grade. It was a 5th grade teacher who asked me the question and she specifically asked me personally as though I should understand it and be able to intelligently answer it. My reaction was a bit different from that. I didn't say so but I thought this is some stupid teacher to ask a question this numb.

Later on in life I learned that at least some people seem to take this question seriously. It's not a science question. It masquerades as a philosophy question somehow or other the same way that assuming that there is no such thing as objective reality or for that matter God masquerades as philosophy. But in reality the tree question boils down to your personal definition of the word sound. Do you define sound as mechanical vibrations or do you define it as a perception in a person's mind?

I was just watching a video on YouTube about major transforming theories over the past hundred or so years in physics and there was a brief explanation of Schrodinger's cat which utilizes similar thinking.

It just dawned on me that if you think you have to be there and observe something in order for it to exist, you are some sort of a bad-ass twisted narcissist. For the rest of humanity, that tree is going to set up mechanical vibrations that we call sound. I guess for me, the hardest part of answering this question is understanding narcissism.