If a Tree Falls …

In Meaning of Life on June 11, 2011 at 3:54 pm

George Berkley did not go far enough. He only asked the question, if a tree falls in the forest, but no one is around to hear it, did it really happen? Consider the following. If vision is severely limited to one narrow band of the electromagnetic spectrum, then it is at least possible that things exist which we do not see.

It is even possible that the same characteristics of those things which we do not see determine that we cannot touch them or feel their presence. Perhaps we pass through them with little or no resistance for if we do not see them, they may even appear as ghosts to the more developed eye.

Ghosts are seen to pass through objects, and the same phenomenon may help to explain ghostly sightings.

Copyright © 2011 by Tad Laury Graham

Original version written in 1974.

  1. Tad – I agree with what you are saying. There is no reason to believe that our senses are constructed in such a way that we can perceive everything that actually exists or experience any meaningful event that occurs. In fact, the evidence would strongly suggest that we can’t experience everything. Even some other living organisms can perceive things that we humans cannot perceive directly but can only infer.

    I wonder if you are going to explore the implications of this seemingly simple observation you have just made. It seems to me it means that, however much we learn, we will always live to some extent in mystery, with unanswered and unanswerable questions. And then one of the great tasks of our lives is to decide how to live with both integrity and uncertainty at the same time.

    I would be interested to hear your further thoughts on this subject. After all, you started it!

    Thank you.

    • I think about the implications, as you suggested, periodically. I also think it would be interesting to pursue. I’m not sure how far I will get, but there does seem to be a connection worth understanding (and perhaps another 200 such observations in my notes). However, I would agree that it’s another one of those mysteries that may never truly be understandable, owing to limitations in our sensory makeup … or perhaps we just don’t really know the extent of those limitations.

      • I think we’re agreed that we live in mystery. In fact, the older I get, the bigger, deeper, wider, and more mysterious the mystery gets. Your “200 observations” sounds like you are having a similar experience. As Waylon says “I knew so much more when I was 17.”

        Not quite sure why I find it so incredibly liberating though. Do you?

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