“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” is a question that I have been asked more then a few times during my school years as an essay.
I always thought it was a stupid question: off course it does! How selfish of humans to think that human perception is the center of the world (the argument of George Berkley, the original inquisitor of such a question, whom philosophized about reality being only human perception). I got straight A’s arguing that the forest is “some ONE”, the animals, even the other trees “hearing”. I even argued the physics of sound, and that the sound waves existed regardless of a receiving agent…
And for some reason every now and then, when I see a forest, that question keeps coming to my mind, and I keep dismissing it, as I already had “the answer” for it.
This morning going through the forest, the same question popped again and I was just about to dismiss it that it dawned on me: I could not be so wrong!
I was so focused on the “effect” of the tree on the world around it that I never stopped and thought about the TREE! It is only when you acknowledge the “presence” of the tree and what it is going through that you begin to grasp how important the “acknowledgement” of the fall is, the awareness and the perception of it makes a whole lot of a difference. And most importantly not for the trees sake but for OUR sake…
I just realize now that back then when I was answering the question I was falling in the many fallacies that would make me feel totally un-responsible for that tree’s fall.
Trees after all, do fall in forests! right ? And yet I never asked the question why…
There are only two motivators that rule human behavior since the stone age: seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. What the ruling class has discovered very long times ago is that both motivators can be very easily programmed. And what we have been programmed to believe is that there is so much pain out there, so much to fear that the only way to avoid it is to be complacent.
We have thought ourselves so many ways to run away from pain that most of the times even when we are seeking pleasure, it is in some form, avoiding pain.
We are programmed not to hear that tree! And we are “programmed” to even think that our “not hearing” makes the tree go away!!
And trees are falling all around us all the time, and we do live in that forest. And there is no forest anymore, and its not about not hearing anymore but also not seeing. We are living a crippled life, and trees keep falling.
So at the end, my first instinctive reaction to the question was right, the trees do make a sound when they fall regardless of us hearing them, but does it really matter ?
Hunger, animal slaughter, global warming, poverty, oppression, sickness, violence… so many trees falling and there is no one to hear.
I sometimes look up to the universe and think that if the earth implodes and there is no one out there to notice, did we really exist ?
“In truth, without deceit, certain and most veritable”