Philosopher George Berkeley, in his work A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge proposed the idea in 1710, followed by William Fossett twenty years later in a consideration of the emergence of meaning: “To say something is meaningful is to say that that is how we arrange it so; how we comprehend it to be, and what is comprehended by you or I may not be by a cat, for example. If a tree falls in a park and there is no-one to hand, it is silent and invisible and nameless. And if we were to vanish, there would be no tree at all; any meaning would vanish along with us.” http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_a_tree_falls_in_a_forest
In 2011 Marshall Curry made a documentary investigating the darker side of the fight for our environment, chronicling the actions of the Earth Liberation Front, which led to prison charges for Eco-terrorist Daniel McGowan. If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front. http://www.ifatreefallsfilm.com
The full phrase is ‘If a tree falls in the forest but nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?’ According to Urban Dictionary, it symbolizes the ineffectiveness of unheard opinions/thoughts.
I started this post contemplating recent reports that in New Zealand deforestation is occurring faster than reforestation, and our national rail company that is contemplating divesting itself of its electric units to be replaced with cheap Chinese diesel powered engines.
But there is more to be concerned about than literal trees being destroyed, and the stupidity of continuing to support fossil fuel based transportation options, vitally important though that is.
I’m also concerned about the metaphorical trees falling, and the unheard voices crying out in the wilderness.
With the declaration of Hilary Clinton to run for president, we have seen and heard the commentators raising the issue of whether feminism is still necessary, and that playing the gender card is so last century.
Yet the last 24 hours have shown why we need to keep feminism active with the revealed behaviour of our prime minister repeatedly and unwelcomely handling the hair of a young waitress over several months. A belated and modified apology, not accepted but lied about by perpetrator and reported by tame media has resulted in a global story, international opprobrium and national humiliation. http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2015/04/22/exclusive-the-prime-minister-and-the-waitress/
A cursory look on the Internet for images of hair pulling shows that it is anything but playful.
When an action is not right it needs to brought out into the light and the suffering of the victim not hidden away in a forest of spin.
Whether it is environmental destruction or sexual harassment, at its core is rape and pillage.
Don’t let another tree fall, with no one hearing. Get involved, speak out, lest your opinion becomes ineffective.