A Serious Opinion

Justin Su

If a tree falls in a forest but nobody is around to hear it, does it still make a sound? Some

argue that it is a matter of perception;nobody is around to hear it, there is no sound. However, I think that it does make a sound even if nobody hears it.

According to the Oxford Pocket English Dictionary, sounds are vibrations that travel through the air or another medium, and can be heard when they reach a person’s or animal’s ear. While the falling tree may not make a sound to any specific person, it still does create the vibrations that travel through the air. Should there have been a person there they would have heard a sound, so a sound is made. After all, just because we are unable to perceive something does not mean it does not exist.

For example, humans are a part of an insect’s world. We coexist with them, yet their brain is unable to perceive our actions or intent. Does that mean our actions don’t exist or we act without intent? No. Another example would be animals that live so deep in the ocean that sunlight is unable to reach them. Does the sun not exist because they are unable to perceive sunlight? Of course not. There are almost definitely forces we coexist with that are too complex for the human brain to comprehend; while we would like to believe they don’t exist, they probably do, just like the sound made by the falling tree. Fact is not a matter of perception, so I think that the trees will make a sound whether or not people are there to hear it.