There is a very famous philosophical question that almost all of us have heard before:

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

My question is a little different:

What if that tree doesn't exit at all because no one is around it?

Is there a world behind you when you do not look at it?

What if scientists prove that what creates our surroundings is our physical presence? For a better understanding of the question, take a minute to watch this video.

Do you have any other evidence of this kind?

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    I’m familiar with this question although I’ve only heard pseudoscientific answers that take advantage of our lack of understanding in quantum mechanics. I’m not sure anyone will be able to provide a decent answer to this question but good luck nevertheless. Similarly to the video you’re brain would process whatever information it can but the data from everything we can’t see or touch is still there it’s just not being processed.
    – user37181
    Mar 29, 2019 at 6:24
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    Think of it like this; if no one is looking at you do you cease to exist? Then you’d have to assess the epistemology of everyone’s consciousness but that’s a problem. :)
    – user37181
    Mar 29, 2019 at 6:28
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    It is not "proven"; it is harwired. Baby (and also some animals) "learn" quite early in their development to search for am object that has been hidden from their sight. Mar 29, 2019 at 7:02
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    It would improve your question if you could give an outline of the linked video.
    – Joachim
    Mar 29, 2019 at 8:47
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    It's possible that SE will close down your question. This is a minor circumstance especially given the question!! However I'd encourage you not to too easily let go the question. Descartes meditated likewise and formulated «cogito ergo sum» Berkeley «esse est percepi» Many many others... eg Chuang Tzu on dreaming of being a butterfly. So my advice: Don't let this question go (assuming it means something to you)
    – Rushi
    Mar 29, 2019 at 15:35

1 Answer 1


Today, this can have a significantly different answer than a few years ago.

Let me explain why. Logically, an event would happen and you the observer would be irrelevant. Meaning, that tree would generate its sound and shockwave when falling no matter if you are there or not. This is physically valid and was practically demonstrated on numerous occasions.


Now-days there's a new theory around. The theory says the whole world is a computer simulation. We could be the creation of a post-human civilization with vast computing power that choose to run simulations of their ancestors in the universe or the creation of way more advanced aliens with us being just entertainment characters inside their simulations. If you wonder how is this related to the topic, well, here's how: in any computer game, for content to be loaded (map, landscape, characters, running interactions) the player must be in that zone looking at it. Nothing is loaded into other areas because it would make no sense to use many times more resources for nothing (as in load everything else). So the presence of the player is needed for things to happen. Parallel to that, one may say that the same is possible in our world: if nothing observes something, there is no point in that something doing anything or even existing (loaded in the simulation and active). This is supported by some physical experiments. For example, In a study reported in the February 26 issue of Nature (Vol. 391, pp. 871-874), researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have conducted an experiment demonstrating how a beam of electrons is affected by the act of being observed. Electrons at the submicron level, i.e., at distances measuring less than one micron when under observation, are being "forced" to behave like particles and not like waves and when not observed they can simultaneously pass through several openings in a barrier and then meet again at the other side of the barrier (called interference), as in they don't do what they suppose to. What that could mean is that the simulation theory is correct and things do something they were programmed to do only when observed, meaning "the map is being loaded for the player" This could be the evidence you mentioned in the question. There are further things supporting it, like the sudden disappearance of civilizations which also can be associated with a game map going too chaotic and being cleaned (as in let only the outer textures and rebuild everything else because the script is too damaged to be repaired). Of course, it can also be an error in determination/measurement/experiment (or the observation does somehow physically interfere with the experiment's particles).

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    Can you provide more information on the sudden disappearences?? I've never heard this and it sounds quite interesting. Mar 29, 2019 at 16:56
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    Some examples can be given starting with large civilizations like The Maya (fell into decline before the arrival of European settlers to the region, and no one is certain why), through others like Nabta Playa (that even practiced astronomy but were gone suddenly), Thonis (now at bottom of Medt. sea) to smaller things like Derinkuyu, Cahokia, Anasazi, Roanoke (the lost colony).
    – Overmind
    Apr 8, 2019 at 8:24

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