We synthesize the world in our brain
If a tree falls in the forest with no one around to hear it, does it still make a sound?
“Our perceptions differ qualitatively from the physical properties of stimuli because the nervous system only extracts certain information from a stimulus and then interprets this information in the context of its earlier experience. We experience electromagnetic waves of different frequencies not as waves but as actual colors that we see: red, blue, or green. We experience objects vibrating at different frequencies as tones that we hear. We experience chemical compounds dissolved in air or water as specific smells or tastes. Colors, tones, smells, and tastes are mental reconstructions created by the brain out of sensory experience. They do not exist, as such, outside of the brain….Does a sound exist when a tree falls in the forest, if no one is near enough to hear it? We now believe that the fall causes vibration in the air but not sound. Sound only occurs when pressure waves from the falling tree reach and are perceived by a living being.“
Principles of Neural Science, 3rd edition., eds.. Kandel, Schwartz, & Jessell, p. 330
So I’d just like to say that both Eric Kandel & Thomas Jessell have given guest lectures in my class and were fucking AWESOME. Also, my professor is writing a chapter in the next edition of Principles of Neural Science that’s coming out at the end of this year. I fucking love my school.
Kandel spoke today and left the mic on his shirt as he went into the bathroom…
But seriously. He is so cool. He has mad groupies too, dude.