“IF a tree falls in a forest and there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?”
Irish-English idealist philosopher George Berkeley is best known for his “immaterialism” theory. That theory refutes the existence of material substances to contend, instead, that everyday objects such as cars and blenders are ideas in the minds of perceivers, and they cannot exist without being perceived.
His point is that reality is the product of our perception. If your mind cannot detect something, then it cannot exist. Unperceived existence is therefore impossible, hence the above question. Does the tree make a sound if no one is there to hear it fall? If it happens on an uninhabited island, does it still produce a sound?
People struggle painfully with this question. Some contend that, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, then it does not make a sound. Why? Because, they believe, since no one is there to bear witness to the fact, the tree ceases to exist altogether.
Now I am no scientist. But given the nature of physics, I must deduce that a heavy tree, pulled by the forces of gravity as it plummets to the waiting ground, will unequivocally produce some disturbance of the air even if the human ear is not there to detect it.
The problem is that we humans tend to make ourselves the final authority on things. The buck stops with us! So the truth of the sound cannot exist unless we are there to decide, or agree with, the event of the fallen tree, regardless of how many deer, squirrels or birds are disturbed or destroyed by it. Unfortunately, our attitude toward the fallen tree is tantamount to our treatment of truth.
We view truth as fluid and malleable, easily influenced by our knowledge and understanding or those of our peers. Our senses become truth fabricators, our prejudices truth sculptors, thereby making reality mere concoctions of our perceptions. We defy truth we don’t understand, deciding therefore that something must be wrong with the truth. We make ourselves the voice of authority in the universe, limiting truth to mere projections of our senses and nothing more.
But thank God, truth needs no one to stamp it true! Our theories and personal convictions have no bearing on what is actually true. Truth has no need to substantiate its claims. It needs no approval, no partisan, no sponsor. Our knowledge or acceptance of statements does not make them true or false—reality does that. Truth is true whether or not we agree, whether or not we acknowledge it, whether or not it fits our agenda.
One of the reasons why so many people deny truth is because, oftentimes, truth is too unapologetic, too insensitive. It can be downright brutal! Truth can literally shatter the realities of your world, sending life spiraling out of control. It can wreck the very structure of your life and sap the energy out of you, leaving you aghast, defeated, with no desire to go on. Nevertheless, notwithstanding its occasional brutality, truth is by nature a liberator.
A firm knowledge of truth introduces a freedom of expression that those who conjecture or surmise simply do not have. It sheds a shaft of light on the path of its possessor, inculcates into her power that connects her to the source of all truth. Henceforth her declarations and actions are based on facts, and her life conforms to truth’s requirements, benefiting daily from its guidance and enlightenment.
Truth further unwinds the helix of ignorance—one of the most dangerous elements of human society—and leads to a higher level of perspicacity. It brings insight, fosters civility, unleashes knowledge. Truth leads to humility, courage, faith, a passion for righteousness, and reveals in vivid beauty life’s greatest realities. Above all, truth incurs freedom from the bondage and thick darkness of mendacity! Indeed, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free!”
At Reality Check we vow to proclaim true truth. We pledge to disburse the truth as it truly is, independent of feelings or preferences. Of course, knowing that humans are creatures of emotions, we will do our best to be sensitive to people’s beliefs, opinions, and lifestyle choices. Nevertheless we will not allow hurt feelings to encumber the process of sharing truths that, if heeded, can save one’s life—not only these fleeting moments on earth but, especially, life beyond the cold, callous grasp of death. So regardless of how brutal it proves to be…we will tell the truth, provide clarity where there is ambiguity and correct misconceptions!
We are by no means the final authority on truth, for we, too, must contend with our own foibles. But we know the One who is: We know Truth Himself! With His help, we will attempt to fight on behalf of truth—present it in a way that is fresh, lively, upbeat, raw, and uncut. Our hope is that all who cross our paths will walk away having gotten A Reality Check!