So, my friend (of Stupid Decisions Anonymous fame) asked me this age-old question.
If a tree falls in the forest, and hits a mime, does anyone care?
To which I replied, "The mime cares. But probably no one else does. Except maybe scavengers like vultures and stuff."
And he promptly returned with, "Do mimes have feelings?"
Now that was a good question.
So I thought. And I pondered. And I speculated. I even tried to get into the mind of a mime, to be a mime, so to speak. It was a cold barren place, devoid of life. I will not go there again.
After I recovered from my self-induced torture, I replied.
"They were originally human, so I imagine it's like becoming part of the Borg. Under the right stimuli they can remember what it was to feel. And if they're really lucky, they'll experience a flicker of feeling again. But then they return to their respective Borg/mime mindset as if nothing happened.
But that's all speculation. Most likely they're nothing more than an empty shell."
"Is being smashed with a tree the right stimuli?"
"I'm not sure. I was thinking more emotional stimuli, like being ordered to torture your former family or something. But a tree would be painful. I think a mime can still feel pain, because that's not an emotion," I said after a couple moments.
"True," answered my friend, "but could they care that they feel pain?"
I pondered some more.
"That I don't know. I would imagine that they want to stop the pain. And that would entail getting away from what's causing you pain. Which would be hard to do if there is a tree on top of you..."
At which point we abandoned the conversation and talked about other things and my other friends kept commandeering my computer and I had to beat them off with blunt instruments because it's my computer, dangit!
But I kept thinking about this hypothetical mime under this hypothetical tree in the back of my mind. And I realized that I was looking at this all wrong. The mime's (not) feelings didn't matter so much. The tree's did.
The tree would care.
The tree would care because it fell. And not only did it fall, it fell on a creepy former-human, which may or may not be able to feel pain. Who knows what mental and emotional trauma comes from falling on a mime? It would be deeply disturbed and distressed by this turn of events in it's life. How did come to fall in the first place? Was it a freak storm? A lumberjack? Was the said mime responsible or just an innocent in this affair? (as innocent as a mime can be) What was this mime doing in the middle of a forest anyway?
And there is a very severe lack in details about the tree that fell. Is it old? Is it deciduous? Was it healthy? Did creatures live in/on it?
There isn't enough to go on, to truly understand what happened.
I will never know what happened in that hypothetical forest, where a hypothetical tree fell on a hypothetical mime. But I will always wonder.