Answering “If a tree falls in the forest…”

Rewon Shimray, Staff Writer

If a tree falls in the forest, and there’s nobody around to hear, does it make a sound?

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Rewon Shimray

My answer to this controversial question: yes, yes it does.

Acclaimed scholars have argued the contrary.

Philosophers claim the six senses (sound, color, taste, smell and touch) are secondary qualities. It’s fair to say that it is by these secondary qualities alone that one is able to observe the mere existence of anything at all. Those who answer no, the tree does not make a sound, have a premise founded upon the belief that the absence of human observation correlates with the absence of “existence,” because human experience is required for anything (whether it be a sound, color, taste, smell, or feeling) to be qualified as reality. In simpler words, reality only exists in the human mind.

Today’s quantum physics describes particles existing everywhere and nowhere simultaneously, only fully materializing as it is measured. This would support philosopher’s idea of things having no solid properties until observed.

I am no ancient Greek philosopher or modern day physicist, but, this is the way I see it:

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Rewon Shimray

To suggest that a noise outside of human earshot is silent, a happening independent of human witnesses is void, a world outside the consciousness of the human brain does not exist, is both ignorant and arrogant.

Let’s take the world we live on. Only 29% is land and of that fraction, humans only inhabit 45% of it. Homosapiens, therefore, can only account for less than 14% of Earth.

And what about beyond our planet?

There are at least ten trillion other planetary systems in the universe. There are galaxies of colors we haven’t named, air pressures that would make our vessels implode, minds explode with infinite unknowns.

How dare we say a star older than our measure of time itself is invalid, because one race has yet to discover it? The human race’s awareness of something– be it a planetary body, a sensation of the universe, or otherwise– is not what legitimizes its existence.

The earth sat on its axis and orbited the sun before the Copernican theory in 1543 was developed. Gravity tied our planets together, holding us down to our feet before Newton begun to scribe laws in an effort to define the phenomena. There are innumerable forces beyond human knowledge, yet they continue to exist.

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Rewon Shimray

Some people fear what they don’t know–the identity of their soulmate, how they will die, what will happen after they die.

But I, I embrace it. I embrace the smallness of my hometown on a plastic globe. I embrace the vastness of a universe I will never be able to fully apprehend. I embrace the gazillions of moments I will not be present for. I embrace the grounds I will never walk upon.

I embrace the tree that falls with a thundering crack as microscopic fibers of brown-grey bark snap and the initiation of frantic tousling of leaves as gravity brings it all falling down with an inevitable boom, dirt packed down tighter underneath, intuitive birds taking flight overhead–

even though I never have and never will witness the magnitude of it all.