The Dumbest Question Ever

For almost three centuries, students have been baffled by the dumbest question known to man. Philosophy professors waste valuable instructional time attempting to stump wannabe-Aristotles by asking the “unsolvable” question.

“Which question are you referring to?” I’ll tell you!

Obviously, I’m talking about, “if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it; does it make a sound?” I can’t believe entire periods, in some cases a week’s worth of class time, is wasted on such nonsense. (Seriously, college courses are freaking expensive!)

People over-think this question as if it is actually challenging. Some have gone as far as to question whether or not something can be considered a sound if no one hears it. Some have questioned whether sound exists, or if it is something that the mind creates after viewing an event. (The bullshit gets pretty deep; watch your step!)

The greatest philosophical minds seem to all arrive at the same conclusion; we may never know the answer to this great query. I completely disagree. These philosophers need to get their heads out of their asses. If you really want to know the answer to this thought-provoking question, ask anyone who has lived on this planet or longer than three years and the riddle will be solved. (It’s really that simple!)

I’m here to end the consternation. The answer is YES, the tree will make a fucking sound. Not only will the tree make a sound, it will be a loud and recognizable sound. There is a distinct noise that accompanies any tree-falling incident. You can actually throw a rock into a crowd and hit any random person, above the age of three, who will be able to pick the sound out of a sound police line-up. Even if the line-up consisted of a thousand sounds, the person will have no problem distinguishing the tree-falling sound from the others.

There are many ways to go about proving the distinctness of the tree-falling sound. I decided to go with the homeless test. “What the hell is the homeless test?” It’s exactly what it sounds like. I drove through Downtown Los Angeles, in the middle of the night, and selected a random homeless guy and asked him if he could identify a sound for me. Initially, he refused and told me to “go fuck yourself!” I was unrelenting in my pursuit of the truth so I pulled out some spare change and dropped it into his cup. Unfortunately, the cup was full of some soup that he had to wait in line at a local shelter to receive. Needless to say, I got the hell out of there before he had a chance to react! (To the homeless guy, I’m sorry for ruining your dinner!)

The incident was a setback, but I did not give up. I drove two more blocks, made a right turn and found another homeless guy. (If there is one thing that Downtown LA will never run out of, it’s homeless people!) After some tough negotiating, I paid the man our agreed upon wage of two dollars and thirty seven cents. (I think I could have bargained him down a few more pennies, but oh well; these things happen!) I pulled out my trustee boom box and placed the cassette tape, of nature sounds, inside. (I’m old school!) Immediately, the man jumped out of his cardboard hut and proclaimed, “that’s a motherfucking tree, falling in the mother fucking forest; that’s my final answer Regis!”

“Correct you are, kind sir! Thanks for your time!” I replied.

There you have it; the sound is unmistakable. After a few minutes of explaining that I was not Regis Philbin and this was not Slum Dog Millionaire LA, the man went back into his fortified home and I drove off. Riddle solved! Please be advised, if you decide to ask a three year old this question, he or she may call you a dumbass for your inability to arrive at the obvious conclusion. (I’m here to save you from having to witness a three year hold lose respect for you. Don’t be a dumbass!)

How much of a dumbass do you have to be to happen upon this and ask, “I wonder if this tree made a sound when it fell?”

     George Berkley has been credited with inspiring Charles Mann and George Twiss to create this “Great Philosophical Riddle,” so to those guys I say, the three of you were a trio of dumbasses! (I’m not certain, but I think George W. Bush was named after one of these Georges instead of after his dad!)

Actually, I’m probably wrong about this being the dumbest question ever since I adhere to the old adage, “there is no such thing as a dumb question, just dumb people who ask questions!”


Published by Peter Teixeira

First and foremost, I enjoy writing stories. I recently completed my first novel, and I successfully co-wrote a short film script, which won the grand prize in the words made easy competition.

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  1. You had me laughing from begining to end. Poor homeless man with the soup. You do know that the money in the cup did not phase the homeless guy from finishing up the soup. It is what it my friend.

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