DW's Blog

If A Tree Falls In The Forest

by DW Green — October 17, 2018

Picture of DW Green.

You hear with your brain.

Sound is vibration. The strum of a guitar string. The crack of the bat. The wave pounding the breach. The sonic boom in the sky.

Sound waves enter your ear and go through your ear canal to the eardrum. The waves make your ear drum vibrate and the vibrations are sent to three tiny bones. These bones are named the malleus, incus and stapes. The bones amplify the sound and send vibrations to the cochlea, which looks like a snail. It is filled with fluid. The vibrations cause the fluid to ripple. This causes hair cells in the cochlea to move. Chemicals then rush into the cells, creating an electric signal. The signal is sent by the auditory nerve to the brain and the brain turns the signal into the sounds you hear. The entire process is electrical and chemical. You “hear” with your brain. Almost everyone has heard the question, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it does it make a sound?” From what you just learned the answer should be obvious. Do you know what it is? The answer is… NO! If a tree falls in the forest it produces sound waves but if there is no ear and brain to receive and interpret the waves there can be no sound. We can say if there is nothing conscious around, there can be no sound. (We may also be able to say if there is no consciousness around, there is no tree, but we will save that for later.)

Read More – Painfully Memorable

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