tree no one around

the old question, if a tree falls in a wood can you hear it?

I don’t see why not, that is unless you are deaf or really hard of hearing. However, I think that you meant to ask the question, “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Well, of course, it does. Sounds are not dependent upon hearing. Sounds are rhythmic vibrations that pass through supportive mediums like air, among others.

Even if you feel there needs to be a sound recipient in order for it to be truly considered a “sound”, you have to remember that the woods are heavily populated with ear posessing animals.

What a classic example of semantic ambiguity though. This is one of the biggest problems with philosophy today. There is just too much time wasted on interpetations and subjective conceptions. Terminology and liguistics challenge our ability to communicate effectively and get our intended message across with clarity and precision.

For instance, one person might say, “If a tree falls in the woods and no one was around to hear it then, obviously, there was no sound.”

Another would reply (as I would), “Of course there is a sound. Sound is not dependent on a hearing recipient.”

It then turns in to an argument over definition. Big waste of time as far as I’m concerned. That’s what dictionarys are for. :wink:

(Thiere is already another thread containing this exact topic.)

The thing is, ‘sound’ is dependant on an ear being there.
If there is no one around (or any creature with an ear, which i think is implied in the question), than there is no sound. Rather, there is only a transmission of energy via waves in air. (only when it reaches an ear does it become ‘sound’.)So i would say no, it doesn’t make a sound.

hey… if you take it a step further you can argue that there is no tree if no one is around. Philosophers such as Berkeley would hold this view. ( you know, the whole is-there-a-room-when-you-leave-it thing). So if no one is there, there is no tree; and if there is no tree, it cant fall over.

What, you mean the 30 years of Logical Positivism was all a waist of time? Hehe :laughing: The last refute of a defeated debater, semantics.

These are all forms of Buddhist questions designed to help expand the mind and make it look at the world in a different way, part of the enlightenment process. The fact the questions don’t initially make any sense is the point. They’re there to show that what the individual experiences, is just part of the greater whole. It’s about realising that the world we live in is more then what ‘I the individual’ experience. i.e. More then just ‘I’ exist, and that more then just me is real, even if I don’t directly experience it, akin to the sound of the tree falling.

Anyway, western philosophy doesn’t get much of the eastern, as you need to look at the questions it asks in a different light. Western questions are analytical, while the eastern are more like paradoxical riddles and should be taken as such. (i.e. the question isn’t a question in the western sense, it’s a puzzle for enjoyment, education, or as they would say enlightenment).

I want to attack the source on this one:

  1. I walked out in the forrest and found a good solid tree that stood tall and upwards.

  2. During the next night I woke up and noticed that there was a great storm.

  3. In the morning I walked out to the forrest again and found that the beautiful tree was laying on the ground. I guessed the storm brought it down.

Did the tree fall even though no one observed it falling? Did it ever had a position between standing upwards and laying on the ground, as I found it the second day?

To answer this question we must first decide if there exist a reality “out there” that have a logic development even when I’m not around.

Regarding the question of this topic I agree that there is no hearing of the sound if no one is around to hear it. Sound as we know it requires both soundwaves and ears.


Good to have you back Johan!

Great! Now, I get to prove my point. If you had looked up the definition of ‘sound’ in the dictionary, you would agree with me. This isn’t really a philosophical question at all if you really think about it. It’s a redundant question dependent on the definition of sound.

Sound (n.) Vibrations transmitted through an elastic solid or a liquid or gas, with frequencies in the approximate range of 20 to 20,000 hertz, capable of being detected by human organs of hearing. Transmitted vibrations of any frequency.

Notice that it says capable of being detected by human organs, not dependent on them.

Now this takes it a step further. I propose an experiment to prove that reality is not dependent on my own experience and subjective perspective. Why don’t we put up a video camera in the woods? We’ll let it record for a few hours while we go and have a few beers. If the tape has anything on it from the time we left to the time we came back then I would hypothesize that reality continues to progress even when we are not there to percieve it. If the tape has a big blank gap, then not only will I be really confused, I will be forced to admit that reality is based upon my perception of it (or should I say conception?).

Do you really believe that reality “out there” doesn’t exist unless you are there to see it? Could it all be in your mind? Could I just be a manifestation of your mind? :smiley:


I have been hanging around at some Swedish forums where I could use my language. But the quality is better here.

I agree with both myself and you: It all depends on what we include in the term sound. If we only include that soundwaves exist they will exist even if “no one” is around to hear them. As long as something actually vibrates and there exist a medium that transport the waves. But that part is easy. What is more interesting is the metaphysical substance of our existence.

My metaphysical substance right now is: Nothing exist if it is not experienced. Life is an experience; a projection in a medium that is experiencing.

No; when you reed this it’s a manifestation of YOUR mind. :slight_smile:

A model:

The experiencing medium creates a projection of holographic brain (the universe) that are experiencing “multiple personality disorder”. This is why we think we are talking to each other when we actually are sending signals to another part of our system. At a higher level of integration we would not be separated as two I.

In this model “things” happens that we are not aware of because we are not communicating with those areas, but some other parts of our system are experiencing those “things”. If not they do not exist. So there exist an objective reality, but the core of this reality is my own experience that I don’t have full experience of. The key is that we do not exist in little points here and there: You do not exist in one point; but you are the whole substance that lays within the reach of your communication. Separation in the communication creates islands of individual existance.


If you say it three times then it must be true!

“If a tree falls in a forest and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?”

or “If I walk straight into a transparent glass door will my nose bleed”

Physics says…
theoretically - yes.
Experimentally - I am on my way to the forest now. I will place myself in a sound proof booth, remotely detonate a small charge at the base of the tree, and measure the amplitude and frequency of the pressure waves emanating from the tree. If they fall within the bounds of human hearing then yes, it does make a sound.

Philosophy says…
Well that depends on your definition of forest actually. I mean the definition of sound. What is sound, is it not the actually perception of a sound. In which case there is no sound, because nobody perceived it. However, if by sound you mean that which is associated with the experience of a tree falling in a forest then our experience will tell us ,yes, it does make a sound.

Well said Johan and D.

Excellent explanation of your existence theory. That is the first time that I think that I have fully understood your perspective. The problem. It sounds wonderful and I don’t even know that I could think of a way to disprove it, but what leads you to believe such a theory? Have you ever connected with another person via the mind? Could you (if you tried hard enough) read my mind, right now? If we both closed our eyes and meditated in unison could we connect on some non-worldly level? The answer is no. Until that answer is yes, you and I have no reason to believe such a theory. Right? We can only believe something based on evidence.

My consciousness is tied to my body. How do I know? If you hit me hard enough with a baseball bat, I will cease to have any consciousness. After my body has time to regain it’s composure, my consciousness returns. Where was it while I was out? Was it hanging out with your island of consciousness? Did I just imagine that my consciouness disappeared? It seems very clear to me that my consciousness is strictly tied to my body. If it were not, then I should be able to do Matrix type stuff, right?

Teach me how! If I have the potential to dodge bullets, learn Jujitsu in 30 seconds, and fly, please teach me. You can understand why I am a bit skeptical. :slight_smile:

D, thanks for the support.

You just can’t get around this simple argument. Johan, if you want to prove to me that reality is subjective then I want to see you walk through a glass door. (That is, without breaking it or your nose :wink: )



I have experienced “Satori” (or call it something else) a few times, but it was a long time ago now. I plan to be working with this again now. In that state I would not have any problem to integrate with any process including your mind. I would not experience myself sitting behind my eyes, and if you hit yourself I would experience the pain as well. Your experience would be that you exist in any part of the process that you experience. In addition to this you will realize that you actually do not exist, but is rather a mental rational construction. This is possible because of the holistic field all substance exist in. Our experience in this substance is the same; it’s spread throughout the whole medium, but it’s limitation in the communication limit interactivity with different parts of the substance. You will find some support for what i say if you read books about the holographic universe ETC. But I understand if it will sound just like fiction.

If I hit you with a baseball bat you would not stop to experience. I would think that you stopped to experience, and when you wake up you would not have any memory of the time you were unconscious. It’s similar to what happens when you sleep or other processes that you forget. Even when your body dies you would not stop to experience, but you will not have the same functions so your personality will die with your body. I have no experience of physical death, but I’ve got another perspective that very effective made me realize that I had some imaginations about life and death that were not a part of the reality. Our normal state of consiousness is very limited, and it’s very rational and sort out everything that does not fit in to the current model a person have. This is to protect us from neurosis/conflicts.

“Satori” is not well documented because it’s a very rare happening that requires a total focus. It’s not you that creates satori, it’s satori that transform you. You can only let it happen. I don’t know if I will be able to set up an experiment and read your mind, but I’ll let you know. :slight_smile: The problem is that when I have the will to prove anything I’m not experiencing Satori, and the intuitive communication in the field. I’m then having a basic missuderstanding of the reality.

“When you go through Satori, and have this experience, you will no longer see the world in the same way. You will have a different perception of life; everything will be united into one non-dual whole. The final experience opens your mind to a new way of thinking and to a new being.”

Not as long as my glass door is as solid as your door :slight_smile: I’m an objectivist by the way.

And also do not let my limited experience of Satori become your imagination of Satori. I’m not there when I write this right now, and what I write now is abstract, and I would not pay any attention to it in the experience. It’s really a transformation beyond words.

Some popular propaganda:

The idées of the holographic universe are quite interessting, but if you also have experienced a different state of mind like Satori you will be quite convinced. Do you think I’m totally lost, and need teraphy :laughing:


forgive me for interupting, But A tree falls, no one is around to hear it. The tree vibrates sending sound waves, Arnt the sound waves energy? which transfers into some other form of energy? And what caused the tree to fall? I bet their was a transfer of energy required.

Damn Energy transfers causing tree’s to fall down. Somebody really needs to put an end to that.

About the tree that falls and no one is around.

Well, suppose you set up a tape recorder. Will there be a big thump recorded. I suppose you will say, yes. Well, what is wrong with this as a test of whether there was a sound when no one is around? I don’t think this really has anything much to do with the definition of “sound.” Rather I think this has to do with the question of whether we are willing to allow that the sound recorder test is a good indicator that there was a sound. I think that those who diehardedly would deny that we know from the tape recorder that there was a sound even though there was no one around, want to hold that (a) the fact that we hear the sound on the recorder does not meet the specifications of the problem, because we are (in a way) there. But this seems to me implausible. We weren’t there. The tabe recorder was. (b) That the tape recorder test is indirect. That is, although no one is there who can directly hear a thump, we infer that there was a sound from hearing the tape recorder. But, so the argument might go, inferences are not to be allowed. Only directly hearing the sound, when in order directly to hear the sound someone has to be there would count.
But, aside from the fact that such a requirement would simply out-define the possibility of determining a thump occurred, and so, beg the question, what would be the reason for imposing such a requirement that only direct testing is allowed? After all, in most other circumstances, we allow from indirect or inferential evidence. That there is, for instance, a letter in the mailbox is evidence that the postman was there, even if we did not actually see the postman deliver the mail. The fact that there is snow on the ground in the morning is accepted as evidence that it snowed during the night, even if we did not actually witness the snow falling during the night. So, why should not the thump on the tape be evidence that the tree made a thump when it fell, even if no one heard it?

No reason at all.

Have you read my mind yet? I’ve been feeling much like John Malkovich, lately. (<–Reference to a movie about getting inside other people’s heads.)

Yes! :laughing: Just kidding. I completely understand where you are comng from and think you would actually have a decent argument if you could produce any evidence. I apologize for catoregizing you as a subjectivist, and I actually remember now from previous discussions that you are an objectivist. In fact, because you take a monistic perspective, you must be an objectivist; it’s your only option.

Although, I find your perspective interesting, it still has many holes. Where did this big experiencing “Satori” come from? What gave it the idea to imagine ‘this world’? What happens when you die? Do you retain any memories? If not, what’s the point of experiencing a sense of self? How come we can’t all read each others minds? Where is the rule book and who made up the rules? Couldn’t your theory just be a desperate psychological attempt to avoid the thought of an eternal death? an eternal lack of consciousness? Maybe you are just afraid of death. :astonished:

One more question: Why do you have such a problem with the scientific explanation? the mind/consciousness is tied to the brain or the physical world? Doesn’t it make more sense?



Evidence is not something that can be applied to the reality. The only thing that is rational is that you observe what actually happens. You are not able to provide any evidence either of the metaphysical ground that you think is the reality. BUT science today are working with terms like superstring theories, holistic fields, and holographic models. So I have more support from science of my model than a traditional Newton- materialist have. The superstring theory observes the implicit and explicit order that David Bohm explains in his holographic models. The implicit order is the medium or the holistic field, and what we observes as reality is the explicit order. Experiences (memories) are not stored in one part of your brain, they are stored as a hologram; in every part of your brain. In a holographic universe every experience is stored the same way, and every part of the universe have access to all information through the holistic field. Superstring theories can not be “proved”, it’s just a theoretical model that mathematically explains separated observation to a solid model. It’s ties those separated parts together that existed in quantum mechanics and does it well. Science are getting close to what I’m explaining, but the day they solve the mystery is the day they get a big zero on their blackboard. I’m a fan of science when scientists use their knowledge in the process of development and not to maintain a status quo to secure their professional status. This is very common. I can see the conflict between what we have created in our culture and the processes of life. Society is a mirror of our broken communication, and even the most beautiful things in our culture are substitutes. It’s not psychological likely that people will actually work in a direction where their own life get demolished, even though it takes us to a higher level of awareness. In a early stage it will be a neurotic like state where the conflicts between what we have created and what is the reality will attack each other. In most cases we will suppress all threats to our reality no matter what our reality is. Only in deep crises are we ready to reconsider our reality. Scientists will also fase this psycological process in their work and tend to look for evidence that strengthen their theories of reality. Not many scientists are actually involved in a creative process of developement.

Satori is just the awareness of the implicit order that is the holistic premiere medium of our existence. It’s a shifting of the focus. The effect is that from this perspective you identify with the implicit order and experience all structures as a part of your experience. You can compare this with a dreamscene where the character in your dream suddenly become aware of that every part of the substance exist in the same experience.

Reality is not built with small solid objects that are glued to each other with strange forces. The substance is not separated at all; everything exist in a dynamic field where objects are dynamic projections in this field. Superstrings that science imagine as small objects that in it’s turn forms particles “by playing” is this holistic medium. So the universe can exist with no objects at all, and that is what happens in a black hole.

Everything that happens is our experience, or to get to the point: My experience that is divided in to explicit projections. There is only one field that experience, and by opening up channels to this united experience you are able to identify with objects that exist outside your physical body. Your physical body is now acting as one experience even though it’s made up by a huge amount of separated individuals (cells). You do not exist at all; you are the communication of all those individuals. Awareness of this is a very strong revolution in a persons life: I suddenly do not exist! All that exist is experience between communicating individuals. Individuals that exist as dynamic movements in the field.

This is so dramatically different from what we have thought in history. Experiences that did not fit in to the “separated solid body atom model”, were explained as mystical or religious/spiritual. This is not mystical at all; it’s how the substance is. The God that people talk about is just the holistic field that people have experienced. We do not exist inside someone’s head; because we do not need a head to experience. Experience is the premiere function and the brain and the world is what is experienced.

And if you think about it it’s logic: Look at yourself and then say that your experience come from solid objects that are hitting each other… It’s scientific (don’t like this word because it means nothing), it’s logical, and I have experienced it.

It did not come from anywhere. If you know how to change your focus you will experience it. There is a difference between experiencing and what is experienced from one point of view, but when you realize that what you are experiencing is the experience you will have a shifting focus. I’m not just talking about thinking about it, but actually experiencing it. This can first become a very hard experience, because you will actually die. It will basically not be a strange experience; it will feel like you are coming home to something eternal. You will also suddenly exist in a timeless now, and the insight will remove the illusion that you actually are the person that you worked so hard to collect the pieces for. You will no longer exist in a small point behind your eyes where we normally have a focus, but your awareness will exist in all objects that you relate to; and you will experience that you exist in every point of your experience.

It? The world exist as it is because we are where we are, this model is in no way different on that point if you compare it with the old Newtonuniverse. What you experience is the existence, but how you calculate your experience remove the intuitive experience, and create a confused mind. I think “this world” is very practical when it comes to creativity. But we must also realize that we do not exist as separated units that should defeat each other; but start to be creative in the holistic model. Creativity is communication between units.

You never existed, so you can not die :smiley:. Some theories: What happens is that your body start to change and the many units that formed your body engage in other relations. There is however a dynamic field that worked as the former of the structure of your body, and your personality will still be intact and connected to this dynamic structure. This structure is very hard to see with physical eyes but it exist, and most people can see it if the look carefully (and know where to look). If you sit near a person that is dying and observes what happens when he/she dies you should be able to see this. I have talked to several people that have done this, and I have done it myself. This is just a temporary state (for most units) because at this point most individuals will no longer identify with the physical body and will now experience Satori, and become one with structures of the holistic field. What this complex of communication will experience and do after this is individual. It can divide itself, and it can expand, what limitations there are is beyond my imagination. Maybe another incarnation?

The current situation is the collection of all relations that brought the current situation. All memories are available in the intuitive experience. There is only a now, and this now have a structure that holds all memories. If I limit my communication I will remember less, if I expand I will remember more. If I relate to the part of the existence that is experiencing what we call a memory I’m also remembering. So if I die and do not relate to those parts I’m simply not remembering, but everything is available if I want and are not working against the process of remembering. The experience of your childhood is the same reality that exist now, but there have been several movements made in the room. The information is here, there exist no “memory”; everything is a projection of experience. If you connect to this information you can experience your childhood as if was a solid reality (hypnosis).

In my best moments I become what I am; I become my body - and my body’s relations inside and outside of my skin - and not myself. There exist however a focus on some parts of your reality that you identify with. In most cases because you are afraid that life should destroy you. So instead of interacting we separate us and call those limited relations to our memories ourselves. This defense is very practical if we should keep our body intact from changing/injury, but when those processes become the only thing that we are we simply become uncreative.

The lack of ability to communicate with those units, and the focus on processes within your body. This must be practiced as with anything in life. This is synchronized with the holistic processes, and therefore it does not work if you should demonstrate this; you then disconnect by your intention, because it’s not a real intention. A cliche that is true: “You can only use those powers to do good”. You can not use it to impress on girls to get laid if that is your intention. Those processes only open up to intuition and harmony. You can only tune in, and if you get distracted by processes outside the harmony the ability is gone. “Reading minds” is simply a connection in the field with processes outside your physical body, the same thing that happens inside your body. You are actually not “reading”, you become one with the process.

No one did, this is simply how things are. Isn’t it strange that we exist?

I was not afraid of death when I was younger and a classic materialist, I became afraid of death when I had my first experience, I fell on the floor and fighted to keep myself together, but I could not avoid to see that the person I had become was just a substitute, and a defense that stopped the processes of life to interact. The more I become what I am the less afraid I am of death. In the experience I become aware of that death is just something we have imagined, and that we actually do not exist in the first place. Changes happens all the time, but most people only see changes now and then when they can not keep together the old identity. If we die every second we are living every second. If we die now and then we are only living now and then, and the rest of the time we are working on our defense.

I’m in no way a preacher of mysticism. I don’t belive in supernatural things that exist on the outside of our reality. But I have become aware of the we are not observing what is actually happening. And we also have the possebilety to develop abilities and become creative as a holistic process.