If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
It’s a question I heard years ago with no real way to prove.
So let’s say you place recording equipment in to notify you of the sound of the tree falling as it falls.
Technically, you’re not around, right?
But whether you built or bought the device which records the sound, you’re immediately breaking the rule “No one is around to hear it”.
Indirectly, you’ve created a connection to you and that area by placing that device there.
Thus invalidating the rule “no one is around to hear it”
The device. A manifestation of a need to measure the outcome of the experiment. By it’s very existence in the woods taints the results.
Here’s a simple thought experiment.
In the first half of the 20th century, the radio wave was discovered and scientists learned they could leverage the radio wave to transmit sound, and later, those same waves could be used to transmit other information such as video, and then, digital information.
Now the ‘invention’ of radio came with it the discovery of naturally occuring radio signals.
Put specifically, scientists discovered that radio waves occurred naturally, all around the world, and astronomers learned they could harness these same natural readings to map the observable universe.
But this discovery begs the question.
Brace yourself. It’s a really odd question.
Were those radio waves in existence PRIOR to the discovery of them?
It’s a trick question, really, and one that any logical and rational scientist has to step through the logical process and ask this question:
Can you experiment with this statement?
The answer’s a resounding no. At least right now.
You see – time travel doesn’t exist, and even if it did, this would beg the question – is the act of observation itself tainting the results?
Put specifically. Like the tree that falls in the forest and measuring whether it makes a sound.
Once you’ve made the discovery of sound.
Any. and I do mean any attempts to observe it inserts your observationally based bias, automatically.
But let’s put a different spin on this.
What is sound?
It is MEASURED by digital and analog equipment to act and react in highly predictable ways with amplitude, modulation, and frequency which is both measurable and reproducible using similar equipment.
These reproductions, while sounding accurate and while also appearing accurate if measured with digital or analog equipment…
But to a music audiophile (a lover and aficionado of music).
While the equipment may say the reproduction of a sound may technically be accurate.
There’s something any good audiophile can tell you which is – the sounds produced by this equipment – while coming close to reproducing the original, if you’re there in the same room as the original as it’s being produced, there’s differences that make the original seem that much richer in ways that are impossible to fully explain.
So it’s important to understand that while that tree may create wave forms that are then interpreted by audio equipment as sound.
This sound may NOT be one and the same that’s heard by an individual with hearing.
This layer of abstraction is an interpretation.
And while we may have a great deal of accuracy with understanding this thing called the real world and the historical translation this has to not just our senses but also how our brain interprets it…