Reality Doesn’t Care About Our Perception of It

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Yes. And … who cares, really?  Certainly not reality.

When a tree crashes down and no one is around to hear it, it still produces sound waves.  But, these sound waves don’t actually produce sound as we perceive it.  Sound is mechanically understood through our sense of hearing, which includes everything from our external ears, all the way to our brain, which processes and interprets the sound waves, delivering it to us as a crackling, rumbling crash.  Yep, a tree has fallen.  Did you hear it?

Two monks were arguing about the temple flag waving in the wind. One said, “The flag moves.” The other said, “The wind moves.” They argued back and forth, but continued to disagree. Another monk chimed in, “It is not the wind that moves; it is not the flag that moves; it is your mind that moves.

Perception.  Perception is the ability to become aware of something through our senses.  So, if we perceive the flag waving in the wind, it must be waving in the wind. Right?

Our perception is not necessarily reality, though.  Reality is absolute, while our perception of it is an interpretation, based on the information at hand.  As more and/or better information comes in, our perception can change, but reality continues to be what it is.

But, our perception of the reality at hand, as we currently understand it, must be accepted as “reality”.  If it wasn’t, navigating life in this realm would be impossible.  We need information, even if its not complete.

It’s the only thing we have to go on, which could be quite wrong, in some cases.  So, we need to balance acceptance with judgement.  Having the wrong information, the wrong interpretation, or the wrong perception of a situation can be exponentially more dangerous than knowing nothing at all.

Philosophically, if it is not perceived, it does not exist.  Scientifically, it does.  Four people on a beach and three of them saw a shark.  The fourth guy says, “I didn’t see a shark”.  But, not only didn’t he see the shark, he has bad information; “No sharks come this far up into the bay.”  And he wades out into the water with the shark.  He didn’t perceive the shark, so to him, it’s not there.  Not only that, he’s already operating on bad information.  He “knows” sharks aren’t in these waters.  Reality doesn’t care about his perception, what he thinks he knows, or that chunk missing from his leg.  Reality just is.

Sometimes, better information comes the hard way.

Now … if a tree falls in the vacuum of deep space and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?  No.  There are no molecules to transfer sound waves, so it is completely silent.

Besides, there are no trees in outer space.  Or … are there?  Our Space Force may know something we don’t?  Green camo uniforms.  For space.  Space!

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