Reality: If a tree falls in the forest


You’ve no doubt heard the question, If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

This question cuts right to the heart of a common misunderstanding about reality that many humans have.
The other day I was talking to someone about quantum physics, and Schrodinger’s Cat in particular. The main point I was making was that without a conscious observer, reality doesn’t even exist.

What we generally call “reality” is actually a creation of our consciousness, and when we’re not observing a certain thing it doesn’t even exist from our perspective. There’s no such thing as a single reality that everyone perceives. Rather, everyone is creating his/her own version of reality, and no one but you can ever see your own self-created reality.

Numerous scientific experiments have confirmed this, including the famed double-slit experiment. When unobserved, there’s just a wave of energy (waves of potentialities). Only when observed does the wave collapse into what we call physical matter.

The person I was conversing with then replied, so if a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? You’re saying the tree itself doesn’t even exist if you’re not there to observe it, right?

Yes, that’s right - from your perspective. If no human is there, then the tree doesn’t exist from any human’s perspective.

But everything that exists, not just humans, is ultimately the same One Consciousness appearing in one form or another. Everything is made of that One Consciousness - even what humans perceive as “inanimate objects”.

Takes on reality-the tree is, of course, made of this Consciousness. So are the other trees in the forest and everything else that is present when it falls. So from those perspectives the tree existed when it fell.

What makes the tree falling in the forest analogy a bit tricky is that it exposes some of our misconceptions about reality. Some humans don’t realize that we’re all creating our own reality all the time, and no one else perceives your reality except you. This is true even from a scientific point of view, because all your sensory perceptions are created by your own brain.

So the question “Does it make a sound?” implies that there is objectively either sound or there isn’t sound - when in fact it depends entirely on the individual and his/her perception. There may be sound waves “out there”, but sound occurs inside of us, not outside of us. The sense of hearing, like all our physical senses, is actually a vibrational translation of the energy around us.

So the question “Does it make a sound?” is meaningless, being based on a flawed assumption.

Reality “Every man’s world picture is and always remains a construct of his mind, and cannot be proved to have any other existence.” - Erwin Schrodinger

[This article If a Tree Falls in the Forest was previously published by the same author in]