Q: If Brad falls in the woods, does he make a sound?

A: This question has vexed philosophers since Socrates wondered if when he drank wine whether his wife made too much noise?

Ontologically, Brad's fall creates vibrations of air molecule that ears detect and people interpret as "sound" or "noise." The eternal question has been, if there is no one around to detect the vibration molecules, is any noise created? In this case, Brad hears his own fall, and thus he makes noise. However, if Brad was pushed over by Evil Steve, then Brad's fall sounds more like a "thump."

There is also the question of whether Brad's fall makes not just noise but also music. As Metallica and Celine Dion have made very clear, what one person calls music another may call noise. Brad may be an avant garde mucisian using the instruments of leaves and pine cones in his "back-to-nature" unplugged special.

Finally, it may also be that Brad's fall isn't noise, but is in fact "art." Were Brad a tree-hugging environmentalist making an allegorical play that protests against clear cutting virgin rainfortest, his fall is forest-based performance art.

Posted by Webmaster at October 10, 2000 05:43 AM

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