Silence is strange because – what actually is it? Apparently, according to the dictionary it is:
A period without any sound; complete quiet.Cambridge Dictionary
That is all very well but in truth when does such a moment ever happen?
Consider this. You are sitting at home without the brainwashing machine – commonly known as the television – on. The radio and computer are switched off. A perfect time for some quiet reading perhaps. However, if you open your ears there are so many background noises. The fridge whirring. The noise of the traffic vroomming along the nearest street. A train in the distance blowing it’s whistle, choo, choo. (Does that ever actually happen now?) Anyway you get the idea. Silence is an illusion.
Even if you are outside in the middle of a field or wood there are noises all around, constantly breaking the silence. A variety of birds, chirping. Maybe the gurgling of a stream or the rush of a river as it flows. Dogs woofing as they play. All kinds of chaos is going on…
What if you put in ear plugs?
Well, when I do this I hear a noise similar to a low rumble, not unlike the sound from a large sea shell held to your ear. But that could just be me! I have to say there have been a couple of times in my life when I’ve been in deserted spots, deep in the middle of nowhere and at night I have experienced something very close to silence. Did I like it? Yes – I love silence and even the illusion of silence. Just shut up and let me do some deep thinking. Let me write. Create. Learn. I can not do any of this with continuous noise or chatter. I do understand it works for some people. Not for me.
If I had to pick one thing to have on in the background – if I had to – it would be a selection of Mozart playing.
I haven’t always been like this. When I was a teen I loved to have my favourite records playing and was almost scared of quietness. But with age I learned that I actually enjoy my own company and listening to my thoughts. I realised that silence was something I craved. Too much noise overstimulates me and I need to retreat for a while.
The Scottish philosopher and all round brain-box Thomas Carlyle (1796-1881) said this about silence…
Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together; that at length they may emerge, full-formed and majestic, into the daylight of Life, which they are thenceforth to rule.Thomas Carlyle
I tend to agree with him. Many people tend to babble on about what they are doing or thinking of doing but never actually do! Perhaps they should try to hush their voice and quietly ponder for a while… and perhaps they will find that silence is golden too.
Header image copyright – May More